Aribert Reimann Collection

Aribert Reimann
German composer and pianist

born March 4, 1936, in Berlin, Germany
died March 13, 2024, in Berlin, Germany


Since the success of the highly acclaimed opera Lear (1976–78) at the latest, Aribert Reimann ranks among the best-known contemporary German composers. The son of singer Irmgard Rühle and church musician Wolfgang Reimann grew up in Berlin, where he began composing lieder at an early age. After leaving school, he worked as a répétiteur at the Städtische Oper Berlin. He studied composition with Boris Blacher and Ernst Pepping, as well as the piano with Otto Rausch at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK, formerly Hochschule der Künste Berlin). For many years, he pursued a dual career as a pianist and composer, focussing in particular as a performer on lied accompaniment. In 1974, he was appointed professor of contemporary lied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, before teaching this same discipline at the UdK from 1983 to 1998.

Aribert Reimann 1995, photo Matthias Zeininger
Aribert Reimann 1995, photo Matthias Zeininger

Vocal music occupies a central position in Aribert Reimann’s oeuvre: in addition to lieder with piano accompaniment and compositions for voice and orchestra, he was particularly interested in the musico-dramatic genre, to which he made significant contributions at major European opera houses, including Ein Traumspiel (1963) and Die Gespenstersonate (1982–83) after August Strindberg, Troades (1984–85) after Euripides’ play, Das Schloss (1989–91) after Franz Kafka, Bernarda Albas Haus (1998–2000) after Federico García Lorca, Medea (2007–09) after Franz Grillparzer or the “trilogie lyrique” L’Invisible (2011-17) after Maurice Maeterlinck. Numerous chamber music and orchestral works round off Reimann’s highly diverse œuvre. Drawing on his intensive exploration of the music of the Second Viennese School, the composer has opened up ever broader areas of expression without abandoning the ideal of strict constructive concentration.

Aribert Reimann, sketch for Lear (1976–78)
Aribert Reimann, sketch for Lear (1976–78)

Scope of holdings

  • Music manuscripts: sketches and drafts, ca. 1.300 pages (see inventory Music manuscripts)
  • Music manuscripts: fari copies, ca. 10.000 pages (see inventory Music manuscripts)
  • Librettos: drafts and fair copies, ca. 1.250 pages
  • Proofs with corrections, ca. 2.000 pages
  • Text manuscripts: 1 archival box
  • Correspondence: 4 archival boxes (see inventory Correspondence)
  • Programmes / Reviews: 2 archival boxes; especially material related to the opera Melusine (1969)
  • Photos: 8 portraits and over 100 photos of costumes and stage sets from performances of the opera Melusine at various theaters between 1971 and 1994
  • a very limited number of non-commercial sound recordings




  • 1993 Collection enters the PSS holdings

Documents relating to forty compositions from the years 1957 to 1989 were initially handed over to the Paul Sacher Foundation in November 1993. The Aribert Reimann Collection has since been regularly supplemented and currently contains material on more than 120 of the composer’s works as well as eight arrangements of works by other composers.


  • Aribert Reimann Collection: Music manuscripts (18. Dezember 2017) – PDF online
  • Aribert Reimann Collection: Correspondence (18. Dezember 2017) – PDF online
  • Internal lists can be consulted at the PSS

Publications of the Paul Sacher Foundation

  • Wolfgang Rathert, "Aribert Reimann Nahe Ferne (2002–03)," Ignition: Beethoven: Reception Documents from the Paul Sacher Foundation, ed. Felix Meyer and Simon Obert (Mainz etc: Schott Music 2020), pp. 123–26.
  • Matthias Kassel, "Aribert Reimann: Lear (1976–78)," Settling New Scores: Music Manuscripts from the Paul Sacher Foundation, ed. Felix Meyer (Mainz: Schott 1998), pp. 147–49.

Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung

  • no. 27, 2014: Ellen Freyberg, Neue Musik jenseits der Avantgarde. Aribert Reimanns Lyrik-Vertonungen

External links

Editor: Schott Music

Curator in charge

Florian Besthorn


8 March 2024