Composer Hugo Wolf to take centre stage on cultural scene in 2020


Wolf, famous for composing lieder or songs, choral music, operas as well as incidental music, was born in 1860 in Slovenj Gradec in northern Slovenia.

He never finished his studies at Vienna Conservatory, instead focussing on composing songs or lieder as they were called in the world of German-speaking composers of classical music.

During his time at the prestigious conservatory, the aspiring composer met his musical idol, Richard Wagner, who spurred him on, suggesting he keep up composing and try himself in creating more monumental works.

In the 1890s, the late Romantic composer made a name for himself across Europe, with the Italian Serenade (1887) being his most famous instrumental piece, heralding his mature style.

His birth house used to be the local music school until 2010, when renovation was launched, to be concluded in 2011. Since then, it has housed the Hugo Wolf Museum and archives as well as a library, a small screening venue and a concert hall.

The museum aims to raise awareness about this composer of Slovenian origin and the importance of his work for ensuing musical trends. The 2020 related events are set to do the same.

The Culture Ministry will mark the anniversary along with a number of cultural organisations, such as the Slovenian Philharmonic, national broadcaster RTV Slovenija, Maribor SNG Opera and Ballet House, Koroška Regional Museum, which manages the birth house, and Ljubljana Festival.

The highlight will be a concert by the RTV Slovenija Symphony Orchestra interpreting Wolf's work which will take place in his home town in late May and will be broadcast on television as well, the ministry has told the STA.

This year will also see the publication of a monograph on Wolf and a web page informing the public of all anniversary events in Slovenia and abroad.

Moreover, at the end of the year, a commemorative coin with his likeness is expected to be released, while a special stamp honouring the composer will be launched already in late January.

Wolf, who died in Vienna in 1903 due to a mental collapse caused by syphilis, led an intriguing life filled with drama and turmoil, and was extremely productive, with his oeuvre including more than 300 songs, three operas as well as choral, orchestral, chamber and piano music.