Olga Neuwirth, born in 1968 in Graz, is one of the most important living female composers. In 1986 she studied in San Francisco at the Conservatory of Music and painting and film at Art College. In Vienna she continued her studies at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts as well as at the Elektroakustisches Institut. In 1991, with her two mini-operas based on texts by Elfriede Jelinek, Olga Neuwirth became internationally known for the first time when she was only 22 years old. In 1999 “Bählamm´s Fest (An Animated Opera),“ also based on a text by Elfriede Jelinek and Neuwirth´s first full-length opera, celebrated its premiere at the Wiener Festwochen. Since then she has developed other music theater works, including “Lost Highway – (A Video Opera)“ (2002/2003); the music theater installation with video “THE OUTCAST – Homage to Herman Melville“ (2008-10); “American Lulu“ (2006-2011), based on Alban Berg´s “Lulu“; and “Kloing! and a songplay in 9 Fits (homage à Klaus Nomi)“ (2011). In addition, she has created numerous instrumental works that include several orchestral works and solo concerts, and, based on her interests in the sciences, architecture, literature, film, and visual art, numerous pieces in which Olga Neuwirth interweaves ensemble elements, electronics, and video into a cross-genre, visual and acoustic sensual experience. For this she is considered a pioneer in the so-called “new music“ scene. Out of this manifold interest emerged various sound installations, exhibitions, theater music, and film scores, which culminated in an invitation to documenta 12 in Kassel. Olga Neuwirth has received diverse national and international awards, such as the Grand Austrian State Prize in 2010, and she is a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin and the Academy of Arts in Munich. In 2015 she was the first female composer ever to receive a composition commission from the Vienna State Opera (“Orlando“, WP December 2019).
Her most recent work for orchestra, countertenor, and children’s chorus \”Keyframes for a Hippogriff – in memoriam Hester Diamond\” was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and world premiered at Musikfest Berlin by the Berlin Philharmonic.
Olga Neuwirth is professor for composition at the University of music and performing arts Vienna.