Hans Thomalla

Hans Thomalla
Professor of Composition

Hans Thomalla is a German American composer living in Chicago and Berlin. A particular focus of his work lies in music for the stage. He has written four operas, Fremd, Kaspar Hauser, Dark Spring, and Dark Fall.

Thomalla has been Professor of Music Composition at Northwestern University where he co-founded the Institute for New Music. He studied at the Frankfurt Musikhochschule and received his doctoral degree in composition from Stanford University. From 1999-2002 he was Assistant Dramaturge and Musical Advisor at the Stuttgart Opera. He has been associated with the Darmstädter Ferienkurse for a long time, where he has served for many years on the composition faculty.

He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis, the Composer Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, the Christoph Delz Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. During the academic year 2014/15 he was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and in 2024/25 he will be a Villa Massimo Fellow in Rome. He has written music for numerous ensembles and soloists, including the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Münchener Philharmoniker, SWR- and SR-Radiosinfonieorchester, The Crossing, Talea, ICE, Ensemble Modern, Musikfabrik, Ensemble Recherche, Arditti Quartet, Spektral Quartet, Nicolas Hodges, Irvine Arditti, Sarah Sun, and many others. His operas have been commissioned by the Stuttgart Opera, Freiburg Opera, Augsburg Opera, and the Nationaltheater Mannheim.

Hans Thomalla is the co-founder of the Chicago based record label Sideband Records. He appears as a character in Alexander Kluge’s story collection "Anyone Who Utters a Consoling Word Is a Traitor: 48 Stories for Fritz Bauer."