Detlef Heusinger, born in 1956 in Frankfurt am Main, is one of the most versatile composers of his generation. He studied composition, conducting, musicology, German literature and philosophy as well as guitar, lute and piano at the Music Academies in Bremen, Cologne and Freiburg, as well as at Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg. His most important teachers were Hans Werner Henze and Klaus Huber (composition), Francis Travis (conducting) and Hubert Käppel (guitar). Parallel to his studies, he occupied himself with live electronics in discourse with Luigi Nono and Hans-Peter Haller. He has received numerous prizes for his compositional activities including the Music Prize of the City of Stuttgart and stipends for the Villa Massimo (Rome), Cité des Arts (Paris), the Heinrich Strobel Foundation of the SWR (Freiburg) and the Baldreit Stipend (Baden-Baden). He taught at the Music Academy in Bremen from 1990 to 1996 and led a conducting class at the Mürztaler Musikwerkstatt. Central to his compositional activity are stage works, including Der Turm (The Tower, world premiere in 1989, Bremen Theatre, Radio Bremen), Babylon (world premiere in 1997 Schwetzingen Festival, SDR) and Schwarz Rot Gold (Black, Red Gold, world premiere in 1998 in Frankfurt, HR).
He was also active as a producer and, at times, the director of the Rossini Festival on the Island of Rügen from 1991 and 2005 and produced Handel’s Orlando, Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and L’Elisir d’Amore, Saint-Saens’s Samson and Dalila, Offenbach’s Les Brigands and Britten’s The Prodigal Son in Germany, France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. As composer, conductor or producer, he has participated at involved at festivals including Ars Electronica (Austria), Berlin Festival, Darmstadt Holiday Courses, Donaueschingen Music Days, Roma Europa Festival (Italy), the Salzburg Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. The interpreters of his compositions have included the Arditti Quartet, Auryn Quartet, Ensemble Modern, ensemble recherche, Israel Contemporary Players, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra, DSO Berlin and the SWR Symphony Orchestras. As a conductor he has worked with the Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Surplus, and the Collegium Novum Zürich and since 2009 has been the director of the Ensemble Experimental, with which he recorded Luigi Nono’s Risonanze erranti for the first time (awarded the German Music Critics’ Prize in 2011). Since 2006 Detlef Heusinger has been artistic director of the Experimentalstudio des SWR.