Bernd Alois Zimmermann

Classical Academy | Composers | 20th Century Music



German composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann cultivated a truly original style - his music defies categorization. Professor of both Composition as well as Film & Broadcast Music at Cologne Music University, he found fame with an opera of such scale and magnitude that the Cologne Opera described as ‘unspielbar’, which means ‘not performable’.
Unlike some 20th century composers, Zimmermann did not attempt a radical break with tradition. Instead he took the unique approach of ‘layering’ musical material drawn from the full spectrum of musical history – this included medieval, baroque, classical, jazz and even pop music. His ballet Musique pour les soupers du Roi Ubu is composed in this way, giving the effect of a timeless collage.
Discover the unique sounds and nuanced tonal colours of Zimmermann’s music with our special playlist An Introduction to Zimmermann, featuring Musique pour les soupers du Roi Ubu as well as some of his concerti that reflect his love of jazz.

If you enjoy Zimmermann's style, you might also enjoy this playlist of music by Philip Glass.