MFive Olga

Severance Hall
September 26 – Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

September 28 – Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

About the Composer 

Olga Neuwirth

Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth has been fascinated by the arts since childhood.  And not just music, but painting, film, literature, and architecture — and how they interplay with one another in evoking emotions.  She has written widely in varying genres and mediums, and collaborated with a number of artists and writers in creating her operas, orchestral works, and other pieces.

She studied at the Vienna Academy of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  While in the United States, she also attended an art college, where she studied painting and film.  Her private teachers in composition included Adriana Hölszky, Tristan Murail, and Luigi Nono. 

She was first noticed on the international music scene in 1991 when, at the age of 22, two of her mini-operas were performed during the spring Vienna Festival.   In 1998, she was featured in two portrait concerts at the Salzburg Festival within the festival’s Next Generation series.  The following year, her musical theater work Bahlamms Fest, created with a libretto by Elfriede Jelinek, was premiered and won the Ernst Krenek prize.  A year later, she wrote Clinamen/Nodus for Pierre Boulez and the London Symphony Orchestra to perform on tour.  

In 2002, Ms. Neuwirth was appointed composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival.  In 2008, she was awarded the Heidelberg Artist Prize, and, in 2010, as the first woman ever in the category of music, received the Grand Austrian State Prize.

Her works have been performed by major ensembles and festivals throughout Europe and the United States.  In March 2017, she created a three-dimensional sound-installation in collaboration with IRCAM, which was inaugurated at Paris’s Pompidou Centre for the building’s 40th anniversary.

Across the past decade, Ms. Neuwirth has turned much of her attention to writing operas, including The Outcast, about Herman Melville, Lost Highway, based on the film by David Lynch, and American Lulu, a version of Alban Berg’s earlier work.  Her newest opera, Orlando, based on Virginia Woolf’s novel, is being premiered at the Vienna State Opera, in December 2019.