Dieter Mack

(b. 25 August 1954, Speyer, Rhineland-Palatinate).

German composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, and piano works that have been performed throughout Asia, Europe and North America; he is also active as a musicologist.

Prof. Mack studied composition with Brian Ferneyhough and Klaus Huber, music theory with Peter Förtig and piano with Rosa Sabater at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in Freiburg im Breisgau from 1975–80. He has undertaken various studies in Bali, southern India and Japan since 1978, including in Bali in 1981–82.

Among his honours are a scholarship to work at the Experimentalstudio des SWR in Freiburg im Breisgau (1980–81), a performance at the ISCM World Music Days (1988, Hong Kong) and a portrait concert at the Arts Summit-IV in Jakarta (2004). Portraits of his life and work were also featured in the magazine Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (2004) and the newspaper Die Zeit (2005) and he is the subject of the book Wenn A ist, ist ADer Komponist Dieter Mack (2008, edited by Torsten Möller, PFAU-Verlag).

As a musicologist, Prof. Mack specialises in the music of Southeast Asia, most of all gamelan, about which he has written extensively, including the books Sejarah Musik jilid IIIIV (1995, PML), Pendidikan MusikAntara Harapan dan Realitas (1995, P4ST–UPI), Musik Kontemporer (1997, MSPI, art-line), Musik aus Bali und Westjava (2002, Lugert Verlag), Länderheft Bali (2003, Lugert Verlag), and Zeitgenössische Musik in Indonesien. Zwischen lokalen Traditionen, nationalen Verpflichtungen und internationalen Einflüssen (2004, Georg Olms Verlag). He founded a Balinese gamelan at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in 1982 and toured Southeast Asia in 1988, on a grant from the Goethe-Institut. He later served as co-leader of the CATUR YUGA Project in 1997–98, a cultural exchange between Bali, Basel and Freiburg im Breisgau.

He is also active in other positions. He worked as an assistant at the Experimentalstudio des SWR from 1977–81 and has been a member of the vocal group ExVoCo (EXpanded VOice COmpany) in Stuttgart since 1980. He has served as a member of the advisory board of the Goethe-Institut since 2008.

He has lectured on improvisation, music from Bali and music theory at music academies in Basel, Freiburg im Breisgau and Trossingen since 1980 and at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg in Freiburg im Breisgau. He taught as a professor of ear training and music theory at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg from 1986–2003 and has taught as Professor für Komposition at the Musikhochschule Lübeck since 2003, where he has also served as vice-president since 2008. In addition, he gave lectures on composition, ethnomusicology and music education in Indonesia from 1989–91, in 1996–97 and from 1997–2001. He was also a guest lecturer at UPI in Bandung from 1992–95, on a scholarship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and has served as a consultant in a research project there since 1997, on a grant from the Ford Foundation. Moreover, he has taught as a guest professor in postgraduate composition at the Institut Seni Indonesia Surakarta – Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Surakarta since 1999. He later gave masterclasses in New Zealand in 2004, in the USA in 2006–07 and in China in 2007–08 and taught composition at the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt in 2006.

His primary publisher is the Bärenreiter-Verlag, though recent works are self-published.


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Angin, small orchestra (13 winds, 10 brass, 3 percussion), 1988, revised 2003

Catur, 10 flutes from Bali, 14 percussion, gamelan, 1997

Crosscurrents, gamelan, 2001

Vuh, percussion, orchestra (17 winds, 11 brass, 3 percussion), 2002

Tunjuk, large orchestra (21 winds, 16 brass, harp, piano [+ celesta], timpani, 4 percussion, 68 strings), 2005–06

Pamungkah, 2006

Kammermusik V, small orchestra (27 players), 2007

Brassology, small orchestra (4 French horns, 4 B-flat trumpets, 3 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, 2 percussion), 2008

Terasi, large orchestra (15 winds, 11 brass, piano, timpani, 3 percussion, 49 strings), 2009

Karya IV, amateur string orchestra, 2010 (realisation of Karya)

Sunda Jive, big band, 2011

Wooden (concerto), percussion, large orchestra (14 winds, 11 brass, harp, piano, timpani, 3 percussion, strings), 2011–12

Karya V, amateur orchestra (winds, timpani, strings), 2011–12 (realisation of Karya)

Traveliner, big band, 2012

Bella Bella I, big band, 2013

Bella Bella II, 2 electronic keyboards, big band, 2013

Funky Padma Bossa, big band, 2013

Xaveriana, big band, 2013

Get to Wakenitz, big band, 2013

Far Away, 2 electronic keyboards, big band, 2013

Push, 2 electronic keyboards, big band, 2013

Outrageous, big band, 2014

The Second Dark Side, big band, 2014


Kebyar, flute, piano, 1980

Lalangan, piano, percussion, 1983

Preret, oboe, piano, 1983

Karya, any amateur ensemble, 1983–84 (also realisations as Karya 97; Karya 2000, 12 flutes [any 3 + piccolo], 8 percussion, 2000; Karya IV; Karya V)

Taro, flute (+ piccolo), bass clarinet, 2 pianos, percussion, 1987

Kammermusik I, 2 flutes (both + piccolo), 2 clarinets (both + bass clarinet), 2 tenor saxophones, 2 trombones, 2 percussion, 1988, revised 2006

Wantilan I, alto flute, percussion, 1988 (also version for alto flute [+ piccolo, flute], percussion, 2008; version as Wantilan II, voice, gamelan)

Telu, percussion, 1989–90

Bulan, English horn, bass clarinet, 1990

Kammermusik II, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute), oboe (+ English horn), bass clarinet (+ clarinet), violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion, 1991

Rafting and Beyond, 2 pianos, 2 percussion, 1991

Trio Variations, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute), piano, percussion, 1991

Duett, flute (+ piccolo), organ, 1995

Segara Variationen, 4 percussion, 1998

Quartett No. 1, 2 flutes, piano, percussion, 1999

Ritsch-Ratsch-Rutsch, French horn, trombone, tuba, percussion, 1999

Temu, recorder (+ synthesizers), percussion, fixed media, 2001

Selisih, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, 2003

Kammermusik III, flute (+ piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), bass clarinet (+ clarinet), alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 2003–04

Trio II, heckelphone, piano, percussion, 2004

Quar-Quintett, oboe (+ English horn), double bass, piano 4 hands, percussion, fixed media (inside piano), 2004

Trio III, flute, alto saxophone, piano, 2004

Kammermusik IV (vocalise), high soprano, 2 flutes (both + piccolo, 2nd + alto flute, bass flute), 2 oboes (both + English horn), 2 bass clarinets (both + A-clarinet, 1st + E-flat clarinet), bassoon, French horn, harp, violin, viola, 2 cellos, double bass, piano (+ percussion), percussion, 2004–05 (also version for high soprano, 2 flutes [both + piccolo, 2nd + alto flute, bass flute], 2 oboes [both + English horn], 2 bass clarinets [both + A-clarinet, 1st + E-flat clarinet], bassoon, French horn, harp, violin, viola, 2 cellos, double bass, piano, 2 percussion, 2004–05)

Gado-Gado, oboe, bassoon, double bass, harpsichord, percussion, 2005

Trio IV, flute, piano, percussion, 2005–06

Trio V, flute, harp, cello, 2006

Ramai I, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, harp, double bass, piano, percussion, 2007

Jonico, 2 percussion, 2008

Pulsar, organ, percussion, 2008

Snells Beach, percussion, 2009

Lagu, tenor recorder, 2009

Der Pfauenschrei, oboe, harp, viola, piano, percussion, 2009

Des Kaisers Stuhl, flute (+ piccolo), bass clarinet, piano, percussion, 2009

Voyage, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), baritone saxophone (+ alto saxophone), piano, percussion, 2009–10

Sprachtanz, clarinet, 2010

Yonsei, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), oboe (+ English horn), bass clarinet (+ clarinet), alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), French horn, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 2010

CLS, double bass, 6–8 double basses ad libitum, 2011

Hochtief-Tiefhoch, piccolo, 2011

Kokon, harp, guitar, 2011

Selamat H. G., flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), percussion, 2011

Stream, organ, percussion, 2011

Delta, flute, double bass, 2012

Kebyar Baru, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), piano, 2012

Luft, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), oboe, bass clarinet (+ clarinet), bassoon, French horn, B-flat trumpet, trombone, harp, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 2012

Ramai II, mezzo-soprano, 2 flutes (both + piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), 2 bass clarinets (both + A-clarinet), alto saxophone, bassoon, harp, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, 2 percussion, 2012

Baar, 2 sopranos, piano, percussion, 2013

Aal-Glatt, 4 saxophones, 2013

Quartett No. 2, flute (+ piccolo), alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), piano, percussion, 2013

Trio Infernale, 3 clarinets, 2013

What About...?, flute (+ piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), clarinet, bass clarinet (+ clarinet), bassoon, piano, percussion, 2013

Ngumbang-Ngisep, trumpet, trombone, electric guitar, cello, piano, 2 percussion, 2014

Tiefland, euphonium, percussion, 2014

Barrique-Großes Gewächs, 7 amateur percussion, 2014


Saba, soprano, tenor, bass, fixed media, live electronics, 1979

Cina, 3 mixed voices (+ metal tube, drum from the Koreas, woodblock), 1982

Segara, 6 mixed voices, 4 percussion, 1986

Balungan, 4 mixed voices, 1993

Rieselfeld, mixed chorus (minimum 24 voices), 6 tom-toms, any 6 players ad libitum, 1996–97

Voice & Percussion, female chorus (minimum 24 voices), 2 percussion ad libitum, 2000


Wantilan II, voice, gamelan, 1989 (version of Wantilan I)

Kreuzungen, soprano, 8 percussion, 1991

Hannanissimo, soprano, percussion, 2005

Dalang, bass, percussion, 2011


Studie II, 1981

Früchte, 2 pianos, 1983

Château, 1988

Surya, 1990

Basah, 1992

AnandanissimoKlavierstück Nr. 4, 1996

ChediKlavierstück Nr. 5, 2000

SchwarzkittelKlavierstück Nr. 6, 2010


Orgelzyklus, organ, fixed media, 1984–87 (its three sections may be performed separately: Mau; Pusat, organ, fixed media; M 3 B)

Nyepi, 1993


Karya 97, dance troupe, winds, brass, 10 percussion, fixed media, lights, 1996–97 (realisation of Karya)

DISCOGRAPHY (as composer)

Taro. (Albany Records: TROY 380)

Crosscurrents. Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan (Artifact Music: ART-036)

Rafting and Beyond. Quartet Piano and Percussion (Audite: Aud 97.455)

Lalangan; Preret; Studie II; Früchte. Peter Veale, oboe; James Avery, Hansjörg Koch, pianos; Steven Schick, percussion (Edition Pro Viva: ISPV 130)

Cina. ExVoCo (Edition Pro Viva: ISPV 146)

Taro; Kammermusik II; Kammermusik III. Ensemble SurPlus (Edition Zeitklang: EZ 13019)

Kebyar. Isabelle Schnöller, flute; Hansjörg Koch, piano (Edition Zeitklang: EZ 15013)

Preret. Peter Veale, oboe; James Avery, piano (Edition Zeitklang: EZ 60008)

Orgelzyklus. Heinrich Walther, organ (H. W.-Musik: 1250)

Kammermusik IV. Angelika Luz, high soprano; Brad Lubman/Ensemble Modern (NEOS: 10821)

Tunjuk. Erik Nielsen/Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR (NEOS)

Surya. Urs Liska, piano (Sound-rel: DRE 90201)

DISCOGRAPHY (as editor)

Zeitgenössische Gamelanmusik auf Bali, Gamelan Gong Kebyar aus Pinda und Sawan in An Anthology of Southeast Asian Music. (Bärenreiter–Musicaphon: BM 30 SL 2575)

Topeng CirebonTarawangsa, Sundanese Music from West Java. (WERGO: SM 1607 2)

Gamelan Semar Pagulingan from Besang-Ababi/Karangasem, Music from Bali. (WERGO: SM 1609 2)