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Rolf Hempel

Rolf Hempel was born on 23 June 1932 in Reichenbach im Vogtland (Germany). Already as a pupil at the Gymnasium he attended university courses for piano, trumpet and composition at the Robert-Schumann-Konservatorium in Zwickau. Rolf Hempel then moved to West-Berlin and studied composition and music theory under Boris Blacher, Heinz-Friedrich Hartig, Josef Rufer and Ernst Pepping at the Berliner Hochschule für Musik from 1952 to 1957.

After his studies Rolf Hempel first became lecturer at the Hochschule für Kirchenmusik in Tübingen, then music director at the Württembergische Landesbühne. In 1971 he was appointed lecturer at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart, in 1980 he became professor and from 1990 to 1997 president of this insitution. Beside this work Rolf Hempel co-founded a music school and was its director from 1971 to 1976 and also co-founded the Esslinger Studiokonzerte für Neue Musik in 1985. He was the choir master for several ensembles in Esslingen and Stuttgart and was involved in the work of the Deutschen Tonkünstlerverband. In 2005 he became the honorary president of the German Composers Society.

Rolf Hempel died on 18 October 2016 in Esslingen (Germany).


Beside his work as a teacher Rolf Hempel also composed music for all instrumentations: works for orchestra, concertos like the Violin concerto "Duell", chamber music, choral music and songs. Rolf Hempel received several awards for his compositions, among them are the Johann-Wenzel-Stamitz-Preis in 1987, the first prize of the Mozartverein Darmstadt in 1985 or the Esslinger Kulturpreis in 2008.


In my possession is the autograph manuscript of the "Dialog" for flute and organ. The work was composed in 1966 and co-received the composition price of the city Stuttgart the same year (co-awarded were the Violin concerto by Theodore Antoniou and the Piano concerto by Aribert Reimann).

My manuscript belonged to the renowned flutist Gabriele Stegmüller-Zimmermann (1925-2011) and has a pencil marking "Herr Gerd Witte", which most likely refers to the renowned organist Gerd Witte (1927-2015). Both musicians lectured at the Musikhochschule Trossingen and it seems likely that these two performed the premiere of the work. But I have no evidence when and by whom the premiere was given.

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