Gehlhaar, Rolf

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Rolf Gehlhaar


Born: December 30, 1943

Country: Breslau, Germany (emigrate U.S.A. 1953)

Studies: Yale University (1965), University of California (1967)

Teachers: K. Stockhausen, Jean-Claude Eloy


Rolf Gehlhaar (born 30 December, 1943) in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), is an American composer.

Gehlhaar is the son of a German rocket scientist, who emigrated to the United States in 1953 to work at a rocket-development research centre in New Mexico (Montague 2001; Schürmann 1976, 20). Although he took an interest in music from the age of eight or younger, in the post-war years the family could not afford for him to learn an instrument, and so Rolf only began to play the piano at the age of fifteen, and at about the same time began to compose for fun (Schürmann 1976, 20). He took American citizenship in 1958 and studied at Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley (Montague 2001). Initially, he had studied medicine, but soon changed his major to philosophy and the philosophy of science; then at Yale he attended a course in composition, which was an arousing experience (Schürmann 1976, 20). He moved to Cologne, Germany in 1967 to become assistant to Karlheinz Stockhausen, and became a member of his performing ensemble (Montague 2001). In 1969, together with Johannes Fritsch and David C. Johnson, he founded the Feedback Studio, Cologne, a new-music performance center and publishing house. He later moved to England, where he became in 1979 a founding member of the Electro-Acoustic Music Association of Great Britain.

His works are for both acoustic and electro-acoustic media, though he is best-known for his work with computer-controlled composition, and for his sound installations using a system which he calls Sound=Space.[1]

Works for Percussion

Beckenstück - Multiple Percussion; Electronics
Linear A - Marimba
Marèe - Percussion Sextet; Electronics


  1. Rolf Gehlhaar Retrieved 5/25/2012