Detlef Heusinger, was born in 1956 in Frankfurt am Main, is one of the most versatile composers of his generation. He studied composition, conducting, music science, German and philosophy as well as guitar, lute and piano at the University for Music in Bremen, Cologne, Freiburg and the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg. The most important teachers for him were Hans Werner Henze and Klaus Huber (composition), Francis Travis (composing) and Hubert Käppel (guitar). He has been awarded numerous prizes for his compositional work, for example the Stuttgart City Music Prize and scholarships like the Villa Massimo (Rome), the Cité des Arts (Paris), the Heinrich Strobel Foundation of the SWF (Freiburg) and the Baldreit scholarship (Baden-Baden). He taught at the University for Music in Bremen from 1990 until 1996 and led a conducting class at the Music Workshop in Mürztal. He has worked as a guest lecturer at the University of Music in Vienna, at Harvard University, Goldsmith University and the Université de Montreal.
At the centre of his compositional work are pieces like ‘the Tower’ (1989), ‘Babylon’ (1997) and ‘Black Red Gold’ (1998), as well as the dance theatre pieces ‘Totem + Taboo’ (1992) and ‘Volx Muzak’ (1993). From 1983, Heusinger worked on live electronics with Luigi Nono, Hans Peter Haller and the team from the experimental studio. As a producer and director of the video opera ‘Pandora I&II’, he designed his first music video in 1993, followed by ‘Sintflut’ in 2001.
From 1991 to 2005, Heusinger worked as a director and occasionally led the Rossini Festival on the German island of Rügen, as well as directing operas by Handel, Rossini, Donizetti, Saint-Saëns, Offenbach and Britten in Germany, France, Austria, Poland and Switzerland.
Heusinger has been involved in various festivals as a composer, conducter and director, including Ars Electronica (Austria), the Berlin Festival, Borealis Festival (Norway), the Darmstadt Summer Courses, the Donaueschingen Music Days, musica nova (Helsinki), Roma Europa Festival (Italy), the Salzburg Festival and Warsaw Autumn. Groups that have interpreted his compositions include the Arditti Quartet, the Auryn Quartet, the Ensemble Modern, the ensemble recherche, the Israel Contemporary Players, the HR Orchestra, the ORF Orchestra, the DSO Berlin and the SWR Symphony Orchestra. His works have been performed in America, Asia and Europe. As an electric guitarist, he focussed primarily on solo playing with the HR symphony orchestra. He has also worked as a musical director with conductors like Kent Nagano.
As a conductor, Heusinger has worked with the Ensemble Modern, the Atlas Ensemble, the Collegium Novum Zurich, the New Music Orchestra (Poland) and the Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), among others. He has also led the ENSEMBLE EXPERIMENTAL since 2009, with which he recorded Luigi Nonos’ “Risonanze Erranti“ for the first time for the label NEOS, which was awarded the German Record Award in 2011. His own works have appeared under the labels Wergo, Telos, harmonia mundi and Dabringhaus und Grimm.
Detlef Heusinger has been the artistic director of the EXPERIMENTAL STUDIOS of the SWR since 2006. He has long term friendships with musicians such as the guitarist Jürgen Ruck and the flautist Roberto Fabbriciani. So far, Detlef Heusinger has published his works ‘Sintflut’ in 2001 (nomos) and ‘MATERIAL Zum Werk’ between 1978 and 1998 (Accad. Tedesca - Villa Massimo).