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German composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann was born in Bliesheim, near Cologne, on 20 March 1918, into a rural Catholic community. He studied at the University for Music in Cologne and was then drafted into the German army in 1940, but released two years later due to a skin illness.
Zimmermann and his music were strongly affected by war and its trauma. His best known work is Die Soldaten, regarded as one of the twentieth century's most important operas.
Health problems - depressive tendencies and a worsening eye problem - led to his suicide on 10 August 1970.
CD Spotlight. A Strange Affair - Ulrich Heinen plays Bach and twentieth century composers, heard by the late Howard Smith. 'This snappy title with its hints of España and whimsical echoes of theatre is nailed to perfection by Heinen, as are all five modern works within the programme.'
Ensemble. The War is Always On - Zimmermann's 'Die Soldaten' in Milan, enthralls Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. World without God - At the Salzburg Summer Festival, Giuseppe Pennisi was enthralled by Bernd Alois Zimmermann's 'Die Soldaten'