Manfred Stahnke

Manfred Stahnke, lover of music

he works and writes on topics like microtonal music, improvisation, Harry Partch, Pierre Boulez and György Ligeti.

A recent English/German publication: "1001 Mikrotöne - 1001 Microtones", editors Sarvenaz Safari & Manfred Stahnke 2015, von Bockel Verlag Neumünster

Sound example:

Partch Harp , microtonal harp and microtonal synthesizer, Gesine Dreyer and Manfred Stahnke

tuning of this piece

Other sound examples


- Some funny remarks on "Portrait"


- Score of the ensemblepiece "Frankfurt Musicbox" as an example

chaosma - ensemble für jetztmusik

Text Publications in English:

an Interview with Canzona: The official yearbook of the Composers' Association of New Zealand, 14(34). 1991. Author: Martin Lodge

Infinite Meloharmonies - Speculations about the Wind

Hybrid Thinking in Meloharmony . Proceedings of the International Conference "Composer au XXIe Siècle - Processus et Philosophies" Montréal (Québec) Canada, Université de Montréal 2007

"Diamond Splendor" . An Analysis of Microtonal Aspects in the Work "Diamantenpracht", for Solo Harp in Scordatura, by Manfred Stahnke. In: SONUS, Music Journal, New England Conservatory, Boston, Mass. USA. Ed. Pozzi Escot. Fall 2011. Author: Sarvenaz Safari



deutsche Version


Manfred Stahnke, born October 1951 in Kiel, Germany, studied composition with Wolfgang Fortner 1970-73, Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough 1973-74, György Ligeti 1974-79. Besides he studied piano with Robert-Alexander Bohnke and Edith Picht-Axenfeld, and also for long years, without much success though, violin with several teachers.

After his studies in composition he finished his dissertation in musicology on Pierre Boulez' Third Piano Sonata (1979, under Constantin Floros in Hamburg).

1979-80 he went to the USA to study with the microtonalist Ben Johnston in Urbana, Illinois, and with the computermusic scientist and composer John Chowning in Stanford, California.

In 2001, Stahnke wrote ORPHEUS KRISTALL, opera in two media (stage and internet), for Muenchener Biennale, premiered 3 May 2002 (for details see German page), and before that two microtonal operas, premiered in 1981 (DER UNTERGANG DES HAUSES USHER, after E.A.Poe) and 1987 (HEINRICH IV, after Pirandello). He wrote several orchestra pieces, like DER MANDELBROTBAUM, played by the Sinfonieorchester des Südwestfunks Baden-Baden 1992, TRACE DES SORCIERS, Festival Donaueschinger Musiktage 1997, or the "Violin Symphony" DANZBODNLOCK, Donaueschinger Musiktage 2006.

There is a long list of chamber music, played by outstanding ensembles like the Stockholm Woodwind Quintet, ensemble 13 Baden-Baden, ensemble avance Stuttgart, Clementi-Trio Köln, ensemble modern Frankfurt, Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam, Accanto Trio Stuttgart, ensemble chaosma Hamburg, Wolpe Trio Köln, ensemble Est!Est!!Est!!! Saarbrücken, ensemble Intégrales Hamburg etc.

Most of the musical works are privately published and available under the private address.

There are many publications of his, e.g. about general aesthetics, or Harry Partch, György Ligeti, Pierre Boulez, Gérard Grisey, also on his own work. Since some of the writings are difficult to find, they are privately published and available under the private address.

He is now professor for composition and music theory at the Hamburger Hochschule für Musik und Theater.

Prof. Dr. Manfred Stahnke
Kupferdamm 12
22159 Hamburg
Mail manfred.stahnke(ad)