Clytus Gottwald


Born: November 20, 1925
Although he is best known as a specialist in avant-garde choral music and composition, Clytus Gottwald was actually a man of wide musicological interests. At the universities of Tübingen and Frankfurt, he studied singing, choir directing, and musicology, but his minor subjects included folklore, sociology, and Protestant theology. Frankfurt awarded him a doctorate in 1961; his dissertation demonstrated through stylistic analysis that Renaissancecomposers Johannes Ghiselin and Jean Verbonnet were actually the same person. Gottwald went on to edit the complete works of that composer.

Gottwald served as cantor at St. Paul's in Stuttgart from 1958 to 1970. In 1960, he founded the Stuttgart Schola Cantorum, which evolved into an avant-garde ensemble and which he led until it disbanded in 1990. During the 1960s, Gottwald became known for his knowledge of contemporary music rather than Renaissance works; he served as adviser for new music for South German Radio in Stuttgart from 1969 to 1988. In 1972, Pierre Boulez asked him to help plan the new music institute IRCAM at the Centre Georges Pompidou (Beaubourg) in Paris. During this period he made recordings of music by the likes of Schnebel, Kagel, and Bussotti, which are highly regarded by aficionados of the avant-garde. Most of his own compositions are for chorus or solo voice, sometimes with tape.