On 24 May 2019, honorary membership in the mdw was conferred on Friedrich Cerha in acknowledgement of his unwavering commitment to contemporary music and its appreciation as well as in recognition of his internationally lauded output as a composer. At the induction ceremony, this alumnus and former teaching staff member expressed his great happiness: “I extend my thanks for this great honour, and this gratitude is all the more deeply felt because my studies at this institution laid the cornerstone for my entire musical development later on.”

Friedrich Cerha with Rector Ulrike Sych © Mathias Swoboda

The artist Friedrich Cerha, born in Vienna in 1926, can look back upon a long career as a composer and as an outstanding proponent of contemporary music. Cerha began teaching at the then-Academy in 1959, becoming a professor in 1976 and continuing to teach until his retirement in 1988. During these decades, he played a central role in shaping the mdw’s composition programme, seeing to the education of numerous composers including Karlheinz Essl, Georg Friedrich Haas, Christian Ofenbauer, Ulf-Diether Soyka, and Tomaž Svete. At the ceremony, Rector Ulrike Sych stated the following: “As an artist, as a teacher, and above all as a human being, Friedrich Cerha is a role model—one who has maintained a pro-democratic stance that is and must remain non-negotiable.”

You can watch the entire honorary membership induction ceremony via the ­mdwMediathek.

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