Liebermann, Rolf

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LIEBERMANN, ROLF (1910–1999), composer and opera manager. Born in Zurich, a great-nephew of Max *Liebermann, Rolf Liebermann studied law at Zurich University before devoting himself to music. In 1937–38 he was private secretary and music assistant to his conducting teacher, Herman Scherchen, in Vienna. He returned to Switzerland as a music critic and studied composition with Vladimir *Vogel in Ascona. In 1950 he became music director of the Swiss radio and in 1959 general manager of the Hamburg State Opera, which he made one of the major music centers of the time by commissioning new operas from composers throughout the world, including Israel (J. *Tal's operas), and by the high quality and excellence of their production. In June 1971, Liebermann was appointed general administrator of the Théâtre de l'Opéra, Paris, with Georg *Solti as his musical advisor and in 1973 he was responsible for the lavish reopening of the Paris Opera House, where he was a manager until 1980. In his compositions Liebermann used 12-tone technique, with a predilection for bitonality and with tonal references. His own operas are distinguished by fresh dramatic ideas and strict musical organization. They include Leonore 40/45 (1952), Penelope (1954), and School for Wives (1955), based on Molière's play. He also wrote Concerto for Jazzband and Orchestra (1954), the Geigy Festival Concerto (1958), cantatas, and songs. He published with B. Sizaire and S. Wendt: Actes et entractes (1976) and Und jedermann erwartet sich ein Fest: Musiktheater (1981).


Grove online; I. Scharberth and H. Paris (eds.), Rolf Liebermann zum 60. Geburtstag (1970); C. Riess, Rolf Liebermann, Nennen Sie mich einfach Musiker (1977).

[Israela Stein (2nd ed.)]