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Wilfried Hiller

Wilfried Hiller

Country of origin: Germany
Birthday: March 15, 1941

Upcoming Performances

Die Fabel von Filemon Faltenreich oder Die Fußballweltmeisterschaft der Fliegen
Conductor: Jörg Pitschmann
Orchestra: Philharmonisches Orchester Vorpommern
June 29, 2024 | Stralsund (Germany) , Zoo — First Night
Internationale Orgelwoche Nürnberg
July 2, 2024 | Nürnberg (Germany) , St. Sebald — World Premiere

About Wilfried Hiller

Music is a sensuous art form, perhaps the most sensuous of all, and in its creation must also move listeners and audiences. (Wilfried Hiller)

Wilfried Hiller was born in the Swabian town of Weißenhorn on 15 March 1941. Following his piano studies at the Augsburg Conservatory (Wilhelm Heckmann), he originally found employment as an organist and ballet accompanist before commencing studies in composition (Günther Bialas), opera direction (Heinz Arnold), percussion and timpani (Ludwig Porth, Hanns Hölzl) and music theory (Hermann Pfrogner) at the Musikhochschule in Munich in 1963. From 1967, Hiller was percussionist at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz and Bavarian State Opera. A year later, he founded the concert series "Musik unserer Zeit" which was later known as the “Münchner Musiknächte” (1981). The following years were influenced by Hiller’s cooperation with Carl Orff whom he had met in 1968 and with whom he remained in close contact for the remainder of Orff’s life. In 1971, Hiller was appointed as musical editor at Bavarian Radio; in the same year, the collaboration began with his subsequent wife, the actress Elisabet Woska. Additional artistic impulses were provided through music theatre projects in a creative partnership with Michael Ende from 1978 onwards. Hiller took up a teaching post at the Musikhochschule in Munich in 1991 and was appointed as teacher of composition at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in 1993. Hiller was the president of the Bavarian Music Council between 2005 and 2008. Since 2008, he has been the chairman of the Carl Orff Foundation and the artistic director of the International Organ Week in Nürnberg since 2009.

Wilfried Hiller and Michael Ende enjoyed a long spell of successful collaboration. Beginning with enigmatic fantasy figures such as Filemon Faltenreich or the cheeky Lindwurm, Hiller was able to develop a personal poetical and narrative musical language far removed from the compositional fashions of the avant-garde. Works such as Die zerstreute Brillenschlange (1979), Vier musikalische Fabeln (1980-82), Der Goggolori (1982/83), Das Traumfresserchen (1989/90) and Der Rattenfänger (1992/93) have become contemporary music theatre classics which have also succeeded in revolutionising children’s theatre through the past few decades with their blend of originality, parody, clarity and subtlety.

Following the death of Michael Ende (1995), Hiller initially collaborated with Herbert Asmodi (Die Geschichte vom kleinen blauen Bergsee und dem alten Adler) and since1997 has also worked together with Rudolf Herfurtner (Eduard auf dem Seil, 1998/99; Pinocchio, 2001). The composer has in addition utilised literary texts by Christian Morgenstern (Heidenröslein, 1996), Theodor Storm (Der Schimmelreiter, 1996/97) and Wilhelm Busch (Der Geigenseppel, a work commissioned by the cultural programme of the German Pavilion at the EXPO 2000). In 2004, the “life ballad” of the Minnesinger Wolkenstein (libretto by Felix Mitterer) received its first performance in Nürnberg. This was followed in 2005 by the “sacred operas” Augustinus, ein klingendes Mosaik in 2005 in Munich and Der Sohn des Zimmermanns in 2010 in Würzburg, both with texts by Winfried Böhm as well as Das Salzburger Spiel vom verlorenen Sohn (2015, Salzburg). Additional oratorios include Skulpturen der Liebe (2014, Munich) and Schöpfung (2017 Munich). In addition to his works for the stage, Hiller has composed a wealth of chamber music works, solo concertos and compositions for choir and orchestra.

In 1968, Hiller was awarded the Richard Strauss Prize, in 1971 the Encouragement Prize for Music in Munich, in 1977 the Prix Brno for the radio portrait “Carl Orff” and in 1977 the Recognition Prize of the City of Salzburg for Niobe. Hiller has also been the recipient of scholarships from the Villa Massimo (1978, 1981, 1983), the Schwabing Kunstpreis für Musik (1978) and the Raiffeisen Encouragement Prize (1988). Since 1989, he has been a member of the Bavarian Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1997, he was awarded the Egk Prize, in 2000 the Bavarian Poetentaler and in 2010 the Wilhelm Hausenstein Medal and the Bavarian Maximiliansorden for Arts and Sciences.



Born in Weissenhorn (Swabia) on 15 March
St. Stephan Gymnasium in Augsburg (a secondary school emphasizing classical languages)
Studied piano with Wilhelm Heckmann at the Augsburg Leopold Mozart Conservatoire
Organist at the parish churches of St. Stephan and St. Ulrich in Augsburg
Piano compositions and chamber music
decisive contact with the music of Bartók through a piano recital of his teacher Wilhelm Heckmann; Studied and analyzed the complete solo piano works of Bartók; Public performances with compositions of Bartók and Messiaen
Worked as a ballet répétiteur
Darmstadt summer courses; student of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez and Bruno Maderna
Made the acquaintance of Peter Hanser-Strecker, his future publisher
Studied at the Munich Musikhochschule: composition with Günter Bialas, opera direction with Heinz Arnold, percussion and kettledrum with Ludwig Porth and Hanns Hölzl, music theory with Hermann Pfrogner
Made the acquaintance of Karl Amadeus Hartmann in Darmstadt
Percussionist in various orchestras. Member of the theatre orchestras of the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz and of the Bayerische Staatsoper
Made the acquaintance of the graphic Artist and translator Alastair; Music of Alastair's film "Der Mann in der Flasche" (directed by Herbert Seggelke)
Richard Strauss Award of the City of Munich
Founded the concert series "musik unserer zeit" in Munich, together with the Music Publisher R. Gartenmaier
State arts examination in the subjects kettledrum and Percussion
Made the acquaintance of Carl Orff
Married to Isabella Schwarz
Co-founder of the group "Interaktion"
Starting collaboration with Schott Music (Katalog für Schlagzeug III)
Music Award for further studies of the City of Munich
Contacts with Indian and Arabian Music at the Ossiach Music Festival; Started to work with the actress Elisabet Woska; various joint Musical theatre projects
Music editor with the Bayerischer Rundfunk
First contacts with the Nô-Theater
Made the acquaintance of Carl Zuckmayer; joint plan of a "Rattenfänger" (pied piper) opera
TV production by ZDF of "An diesem heutigen Tage"
Several study trips to Greece
Married Elisabet Woska
Birth of his son Carl Raphael Amadeus Hanael Magnus
Recognition Award of the City of Salzburg for "Niobe"
Prix Brno for the Radio Portrait "Carl Orff"
Schwabing Arts Award for Music
Villa Massimo Prize; first stay in Rome
Began to work with Michael Ende
Second stay in Rome
Artistic and organization director of the "Münchner Musiknächte" [Munich Music Nights]: Wagner Night, Messiaen Night, Liszt Night, Bartók Night, Stravinsky Night, Janácek Night, among others. "tz-Rosenstrauß des Jahres" Award for the organisation of the "Münchner Musiknächte"
ZDF production "Du bist schön, meine Freundin" (Excerpts from "Schulamit")
"tz-Rosenstrauß des Jahres" for "Der Goggolori"
"Trödelmarkt der Träume", toured Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy
TV production of "Der Goggolori" by the BR/ORF
1986 -
Chairman of the Kulturkreis Gasteig, Munich
Opening of the theatre of Cluny with "Ijob"
Raiffeisen Cultural Award
Member of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste
Lecture concerts at the Davos Festival "Young artists in concert"
Lecturer at the Munich Musikhochschule for the realisation of large-scale music performances
Began to work with the Klezmer Giora Feidman on the "Rattenfänger" Project and on the "Chagall-Zyklus"
TV production of "Ijob" 100th Performance of "Der Goggolori" at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz Teacher of compisition at the Richard-Strauss-Konservatorium in Munich
Artistic director of an Orff-Method production for Celestial Harmonies
Death of Michael Ende (28.08.); since then collaboration with various librettists like Herbert Asmodi ("Die Geschichte von dem kleinen blauen Bergsee und dem alten Adler"), Rudolf Herfurtner ("Die Waldkinder", "Pinocchio", "Eduard auf dem Seil"), Andreas K.W. Meyer ("Der Schimmelreiter") Felix Mitterer ("Wolkenstein") and Winfried Böhm ("Augustinus")
Composition course at the Bayreuth Youth Festival (Bayreuther Jugendfestspieltreffen)
Werner Egk Award of the City of Donauwörth
Münchner Poetentaler der Turmschreiber
TV production by Bayerischer Rundfunk of "Wolkenstein"
Elected President of the Bavarian Music Council
2006 -
President of the German Jean Sibelius Society
Bavarian Order of Merit
Artistic director of Nuremberg's International Organ Week
Bayerischer Maximiliansorden für Wissenschaft und Kunst
Wilhelm Hausenstein Medal
Gerda und Günter Bialas Award
Sieben-Schwaben-Medaille of the Bavarian Swabia
Leopold Award for the audio-book "Der Josa mit der Zauberfiedel - Tänze auf dem Weg zum Mond"
his wife Elisabet Hiller-Woska dies on March 27
Cultural Award of the District of Upper Bavaria
Startet to work with the German painter and sculptor Antje Tesche-Mentzen
Wilfried Hiller lives in Munich



Set Descending Direction
  • Die Fabel von Filemon Faltenreich oder Die Fußballweltmeisterschaft der Fliegen
    Conductor: Jörg Pitschmann
    Orchestra: Philharmonisches Orchester Vorpommern
    June 29, 2024 | Stralsund (Germany) , Zoo — First Night
  • Apocalypse
    Internationale Orgelwoche Nürnberg
    July 2, 2024 | Nürnberg (Germany) , St. Sebald — World Premiere
  • Set Descending Direction