Hans Werner Henze

Hans Werner Henze was a German composer. His prolific oeuvre of works is extremely varied in style, having been influenced by serialism, atonality, Stravinsky, Italian music, Arabic music and jazz, as well as traditional schools of German composition. In particular, his stage works reflect "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life".

Henze was also known for his political convictions. He left Germany for Italy in 1953 because of a perceived intolerance towards his leftist politics and homosexuality. Late in life he lived in the village of Marino in the central Italian region of Lazio, and in his final years still travelled extensively, in particular to Britain and Germany, as part of his work. An avowed Marxist and member of the Communist Party of Italy, Henze produced compositions honoring Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara. At the 1968 Hamburg premiere of his requiem for Che Guevara, titled Das Flo铆鸥 der Medusa (The Raft of Medusa), the placing of a red flag on the stage sparked a riot and the arrest of several people, including the librettist. Henze spent a year teaching in Cuba, though he later became disillusioned with Castro.

In 1995 Henze received the Westphalian Music Prize, which has carried his name since 2001.