Zimmermann, Bernd Alois
- Andrew D. McCredie
- and Marion Rothärmel
(b Bliesheim, nr Cologne, March 20, 1918; d Grosskönigsdorf [now Pulheim], nr Cologne, Aug 10, 1970). German composer. Remaining independent from the various fashionable schools of the 1950s and 60s, he steadfastly developed and perfected an individual style in which quotations, carefully woven into a colourful atonal fabric, often played an important part. His single opera, Die Soldaten, is widely acknowledged as the most important in German since those of Berg.
Zimmermann studied philosophy, German literature and music education before embarking on professional training in music at the universities of Cologne and Bonn, and at Musikhochschulen in Cologne and Berlin. His studies were temporarily interrupted by military service; he was posted to the Russian front and to occupied France, where he became acquainted with scores of Stravinsky and Milhaud that greatly influenced his subsequent development. In 1942 he resumed his studies, which now included musicology, at the University of Cologne (...