Hans Wüthrich

Wüthrich, Hans


Hans Wüthrich was born in 1937 in Aeschi in the Swiss canton Bern. From 1952–1956 he attended the Teachers’ Training College Muristalden in Bern, before he began studying piano with Sava Savoff and music theory with Sándor Veress at the Bern Conservatory. He received his piano diploma in 1962. From 1968–1972 he  studied composition with Klaus Huber, first at the Basel Music Academy and later in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. Wüthrich also studied German language and literature, philosophy, and musicology, graduating in 1973 with a dissertation on “The consonant system of the German standard language” at the University of Zurich.

From 1971–1985 he worked as a lecturer of linguistics at the universities of Zurich and Basel, and from 1985 he taught music theory at the conservatory of Winterthur.

As a composer Wüthrich was influenced by Klaus Huber and, when the ensemble “Mixt Media Basel” had been founded in 1974, by the composer Dieter Schnebel. Working with “Mixt Media Basel” Wüthrich comprehensively explored the ground between music and theater.

A central issue both for the composer and for the linguist is the emergence of communication and the discovery and creation of language, both in linguistics and in music. In this exploration Wüthrich both conjoins and traverses the limitations of either. The result is an experimental procedure apt to create installations, theatrical action, and purely musical works. In order not to trigger any repeatable experience for the listener, Wüthrich strives always to apply new compositional procedures in his works.

In 1974 and 1978 Wüthrich received prizes at the “International Composition Seminar Boswil,” and in 1984 he was awarded the Grand Prix Paul Gilson de la communauté radiophonique. In 1991 he received the culture prize of the canton Baselland. Hans Wüthrich died on 20.03.2019 in Arlesheim/Switzerland.