Dieter Mack

(b. 25 August 1954, Speyer, Rhineland-Palatinate).

German composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, and piano works that have been performed throughout Asia, Europe and North America; he is also active as a musicologist.

Prof. Mack studied composition with Brian Ferneyhough and Klaus Huber, music theory with Peter Förtig and piano with Rosa Sabater at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in Freiburg im Breisgau from 1975–80. He has undertaken various studies in Bali, southern India and Japan since 1978, including in Bali in 1981–82.

Among his honours are a scholarship to work at the Experimentalstudio des SWR in Freiburg im Breisgau (1980–81), a performance at the ISCM World Music Days (1988, Hong Kong) and a portrait concert at the Arts Summit-IV in Jakarta (2004). Portraits of his life and work were also featured in the magazine Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (2004) and the newspaper Die Zeit (2005) and he is the subject of the book Wenn A ist, ist A – Der Komponist Dieter Mack (2008, edited by Torsten Möller, PFAU-Verlag).

As a musicologist, he specialises in the music of Southeast Asia, most of all gamelan, about which he has written extensively, including the books Sejarah Musik jilid III – IV (1995, PML), Pendidikan Musik – Antara Harapan dan Realitas (1995, P4ST–UPI), Musik Kontemporer (1997, MSPI, art-line), Musik aus Bali und Westjava (2002, Lugert Verlag), Länderheft Bali (2003, Lugert Verlag), and Zeitgenössische Musik in Indonesien. Zwischen lokalen Traditionen, nationalen Verpflichtungen und internationalen Einflüssen (2004, Georg Olms Verlag). He founded a Balinese gamelan at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in 1982 and toured Southeast Asia in 1988, on a grant from the Goethe-Institut. He later served as co-leader of the CATUR YUGA Project in 1997–98, a cultural exchange between Bali, Basel and Freiburg im Breisgau.

He is also active in other positions. He worked as an assistant at the Experimentalstudio des SWR from 1977–81 and was a member of the vocal group ExVoCo (EXpanded VOice COmpany) in Stuttgart from 1980–early 2000s. He served as a member of the advisory board of the Goethe-Institut from 2008–16 and as chairman of its music committee from 2012–16.

He lectured on improvisation, music from Bali and music theory at music academies in Basel, Freiburg im Breisgau and Trossingen and at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg in Freiburg im Breisgau, all from 1980–86. He taught as a professor of ear training and music theory at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg from 1986–2003 and taught as Professor für Komposition at the Musikhochschule Lübeck from 2003–21, where he also served as vice-president from 2008–11 and as both vice-president and representative for international affairs from 2015–19. In addition, he gave lectures on composition, ethnomusicology and music education in Indonesia from 1989–91, in 1996–97 and from 1997–2001. He was also a guest lecturer at UPI in Bandung from 1992–95, on a scholarship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and has served as a consultant in a research project there since 1997, on a grant from the Ford Foundation. Moreover, he has taught as a guest professor in postgraduate composition at the Institut Seni Indonesia Surakarta – Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Surakarta since 1999. He later gave masterclasses in New Zealand in 2004, in the USA in 2006–07 and in China in 2007–08 and taught composition at the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt in 2006. He has also given classes, lectures and masterclasses in Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the USA, where he served the Howard Hanson Visiting Composer Residency at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY in 2017.

His primary publisher is the Verlag Neue Musik Berlin, though the Bärenreiter-Verlag publishes some of his early works and selected other works are with other publishers.


E-mail address:




Angin, small orchestra (13 winds, 10 brass, 3 percussion), 1988, revised 2003

Catur, 10 flutes from Bali, 14 percussion, gamelan, 1997

Crosscurrents, gamelan, 2001

Vuh, percussion, orchestra (17 winds, 11 brass, 3 percussion), 2002

Tunjuk, large orchestra (21 winds, 16 brass, harp, piano [+ celesta], timpani, 4 percussion, 68 strings), 2005–06

Pamungkah, 2006

Kammermusik V, small orchestra (27 players), 2007

Brassology, small orchestra (4 French horns, 4 B-flat trumpets, 3 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, 2 percussion), 2008

Terasi, large orchestra (15 winds, 11 brass, piano, timpani, 3 percussion, 49 strings), 2009

Karya IV, amateur string orchestra, 2010 (realisation of Karya)

Sunda Jive, big band, 2011

Wooden (concerto), percussion, large orchestra (14 winds, 11 brass, harp, piano, timpani, 3 percussion, strings), 2011–12

Karya V, amateur orchestra (winds, timpani, strings), 2011–12 (realisation of Karya)

Traveliner, big band, 2012

Bella Bella I, big band, 2013

Bella Bella II, 2 electronic keyboards, big band, 2013

Funky Padma Bossa, big band, 2013

Xaveriana, big band, 2013

Get to Wakenitz, big band, 2013

Far Away, 2 electronic keyboards, big band, 2013

Push, 2 electronic keyboards, big band, 2013

Outrageous, big band, 2014

The Second Dark Side, big band, 2014

Ngotek, big band, 2015

Try It, flute, bass clarinet, big band, 2019

The Time After – Reset, 15 percussion, gamelan (in mixed tunings), fixed media, 2019–20

And On That Rainy Day in May, flute, big band, 2020


Kebyar, flute, piano, 1980

Lalangan, piano, percussion, 1983

Preret, oboe, piano, 1983

Karya, any amateur ensemble, 1983–84 (also realisations as Karya 97; Karya 2000, 12 flutes [any 3 + piccolo], 8 percussion, 2000; Karya IV; Karya V)

Taro, flute (+ piccolo), bass clarinet, 2 pianos, percussion, 1987

Kammermusik I, 2 flutes (both + piccolo), 2 clarinets (both + bass clarinet), 2 tenor saxophones, 2 trombones, 2 percussion, 1988, revised 2006

Wantilan, alto flute, percussion, 1988 (also version for alto flute [+ piccolo, flute], percussion, 2008; version as Wantilan II, voice, gamelan)

Telu, percussion, 1989–90

Bulan, English horn, bass clarinet, 1990

Kammermusik II, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute), oboe (+ English horn), bass clarinet (+ clarinet), violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion, 1991

Rafting and Beyond, 2 pianos, 2 percussion, 1991

Trio Variations, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute), piano, percussion, 1991

Duett, flute (+ piccolo), organ, 1995

Segara Variationen, 4 percussion, 1998

Quartett No. 1, 2 flutes, piano, percussion, 1999

Ritsch-Ratsch-Rutsch, French horn, trombone, tuba, percussion, 1999

Temu, recorder (+ synthesizers), percussion, fixed media, 2001

Selisih, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, 2003

Kammermusik III, flute (+ piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), bass clarinet (+ clarinet), alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 2003–04

Trio II, heckelphone, piano, percussion, 2004

Quar-Quintett, oboe (+ English horn), double bass, piano 4 hands, percussion, fixed media (inside piano), 2004

Trio III, flute, alto saxophone, piano, 2004

Kammermusik IV (vocalise), high soprano, 2 flutes (both + piccolo, 2nd + alto flute, bass flute), 2 oboes (both + English horn), 2 bass clarinets (both + A-clarinet, 1st + E-flat clarinet), bassoon, French horn, harp, violin, viola, 2 cellos, double bass, piano (+ percussion), percussion, 2004–05 (also version for high soprano, 2 flutes [both + piccolo, 2nd + alto flute, bass flute], 2 oboes [both + English horn], 2 bass clarinets [both + A-clarinet, 1st + E-flat clarinet], bassoon, French horn, harp, violin, viola, 2 cellos, double bass, piano, 2 percussion, 2004–05)

Gado-Gado, oboe, bassoon, double bass, harpsichord, percussion, 2005

Trio IV, flute, piano, percussion, 2005–06

Trio V, flute, harp, cello, 2006

Ramai, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, harp, double bass, piano, percussion, 2007

Jonico, 2 percussion, 2008

Pulsar, organ, percussion, 2008

Snells Beach, percussion, 2009

Lagu, tenor recorder, 2009

Der Pfauenschrei, oboe, harp, viola, piano, percussion, 2009

Des Kaisers Stuhl, flute (+ piccolo), bass clarinet, piano, percussion, 2009

Voyage, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), baritone saxophone (+ alto saxophone), piano, percussion, 2009–10

Sprachtanz, clarinet, 2010

Yonsei, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), oboe (+ English horn), bass clarinet (+ clarinet), alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), French horn, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 2010

CLS, double bass, 4–6 double basses ad libitum, 2011

Hochtief-Tiefhoch, piccolo, 2011

Kokon, harp, guitar, 2011

Selamat H. G., flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), percussion, 2011

Stream, organ, percussion, 2011

Delta, flute, double bass, 2012

Kebyar Baru, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), piano, 2012

Luft, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), oboe, bass clarinet (+ clarinet), bassoon, French horn, B-flat trumpet, trombone, harp, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 2012

Ramai II (vocalise), mezzo-soprano, 2 flutes (both + piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), 2 bass clarinets (both + A-clarinet), alto saxophone, bassoon, harp, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, 2 percussion, 2012

Baar (vocalise), 2 sopranos, piano, percussion, 2013

Aal-Glatt, 4 saxophones, 2013

Quartett No. 2, flute (+ piccolo), alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), piano, percussion, 2013

What About...? (vocalise), high soprano, flute (+ piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), clarinet, bass clarinet (+ clarinet), bassoon, piano, percussion, 2013–14

Trio Infernale, 3 clarinets, 2014

Ngumbang-Ngisep, trumpet, trombone, electric guitar, cello, piano (+ MIDI-piano tuned a quarter-tone lower), 2 percussion, 2014

Tiefland, euphonium, percussion, 2014

Barrique – Großes Gewächs, 7 amateur percussion, 2014

Ecstasy for Jack, 2 bass clarinets, 2015

Tiga Kata, flute, 2 saxophones, piano, percussion, 2015

Kebyar Baru II, violin, piano, 2015

Luft II, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), bass clarinet (+ clarinet), alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), 2 violins, viola, cello, piano (+ prepared piano), percussion, 2015

Saitenlinien, guitar, 2015

Just Like That As Well, 2 amateur percussion, 2015

Kalih, flute, oboe, 2016

Geschmacksakkorde, flute, bass clarinet, harp, cello, percussion, 2016

Klingende Fäden, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 2016

Trio VI, amateur clarinet, amateur harp, amateur cello, 2016

Mari Marie, alto saxophone, 2017

Double Reed Music, 3 oboes, oboe d'amore, English horn, bass oboe, 2017

Ueno Rain I, flute (+ piccolo), oboe, clarinet (+ bass clarinet), French horn, bassoon, 2017 (also more difficult version as Ueno Rain II, flute [+ piccolo], oboe, clarinet [+ bass clarinet], French horn, bassoon, 2017)

Trio VII, oboe, 13-string koto (zither from Japan), violin, 2017

Selisih Baru, baritone saxophone, cello, 2018

Suara-Suara, basset clarinet, 2 violins, viola, cello, 2018

Kebyar Baru III, clarinet, violin, piano, 2018

Basiliensis, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 bassoons (2nd + contrabassoon), 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, percussion, 2018

H & H, 2 oboes, 2019

Small Soundscapes & Conversations, flute, violin, 2019

Run, 4 saxophones, 2019

Dark, cello, accordion, 2019

What Would He Say?, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute), piano, percussion, 2019

FFFF – Fabulous Four for Freiburg, 4 trumpets, 2020

The Shining of Abyss and the Darkness of Light, flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano (+ objects), fixed media, 2020

Nico-Nico, 4 nicophones (tuned percussion instruments), 2020

Quartett No. 3, flute, viola, double bass, piano, 2020

Pitu, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), oboe (+ English horn), bass clarinet (+ clarinet), bassoon, cello, piano, percussion, 2020


Saba (vocalise), soprano, tenor, bass, fixed media, live electronics, 1979

Cina (vocalise), 3 mixed voices (+ metal tube, drum from the Koreas, woodblock), 1982

Segara (vocalise), 6 mixed voices, 4 percussion, 1986

Balungan (vocalise), 4 mixed voices, 1993

Rieselfeld (vocalise), mixed chorus (minimum 24 voices), 6 tom-toms, any 6 players ad libitum, 1996–97

Voice & Percussion (vocalise), female chorus (minimum 24 voices), 2 percussion ad libitum, 2000

Ical (vocalise), 32 mixed voices, large orchestra (18 winds, 11 brass, harp, piano [+ celesta], timpani, 3 percussion, 48 strings), 2014–15

Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich (oratorio, text by Martin Luther), 4 soloists, 4 choruses, 6 trumpets, 6 trombones, organ, large orchestra, 2016


Wantilan II (vocalise), voice, gamelan, 1989 (version of Wantilan)

Kreuzungen (vocalise), soprano, 8 percussion, 1991

Hannanissimo (vocalise), soprano, percussion, 2005

Dalang (vocalise), bass, percussion, 2011

Foreign Voices (vocalise), bass-baritone, piano, 2017

Trio VIII (vocalise), bass, electric guitar, percussion, fixed media, 2019


Studie II, 1981

Früchte, 2 pianos, 1983

Château, 1988

Surya, 1990

Basah, 1992

Anandanissimo – Klavierstück Nr. 4, 1996

Chedi – Klavierstück Nr. 5, 2000

Schwarzkittel – Klavierstück Nr. 6, 2010


Orgelzyklus, organ, fixed media, 1984–87 (its three sections may be performed separately: Mau; Pusat, organ, fixed media; M 3 B)

Nyepi, 1993, revised 1997


Karya 97, dance troupe, winds, brass, 10 percussion, fixed media, lights, 1996–97 (realisation of Karya)

DISCOGRAPHY (as composer)

Taro. Ann Harrow, flute, piccolo; Ramon Ricker, bass clarinet; Hansjörg Koch, piano; Matthias Trapp, piano; Yasuko Miyamoto, percussion (Albany Records: TROY 380)

Pulsar. Zsigmond Szathmáry, organ; Olaf Tzschoppe, percussion (Alien Art Sound: ASA 10002)

Crosscurrents. Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan (Artifact Music: ART-036)

Rafting and Beyond. Quartet Piano and Percussion (Audite: Aud 97.455)

Karya. Students of class no. 10 from the Wentzinger Gymnasium, Freiburg im Breisgau (BMG/RCA: 74321 73528 2)

Bella Bella II; Sunda Jive; Traveliner; Xaveriana; Funky Padma Bossa. MHL Bigband (CHAOS Records: CACD 8425)

Push; Outrageous; The Second Dark Side; Ngotek. Bernd Ruf/MHL Bigband (CHAOS Records: CACD 8507)

Lalangan; Preret; Studie II; Früchte. Peter Veale, oboe; James Avery, Hansjörg Koch, pianos; Steven Schick, percussion (Edition Pro Viva: ISPV 130)

Cina. ExVoCo (Edition Pro Viva: ISPV 146)

Taro; Kammermusik II; Kammermusik III. Ensemble SurPlus (Edition Zeitklang: EZ 13019)

Kebyar. Isabelle Schnöller, flute; Hansjörg Koch, piano (Edition Zeitklang: EZ 15013)

Stream. Duo Carillon (Edition Zeitklang: EZ 53051)

Preret. Peter Veale, oboe; James Avery, piano (Edition Zeitklang: EZ 60008)

Telu; Wantilan (second version). Nari Hong, piccolo, flute, alto flute; Johannes Fischer, percussion (Genuin: GEN 89135)

Trio Infernale. Trio ClariNoir (GP Arts: GP501)

Orgelzyklus. Heinrich Walther, organ (H. W.-Musik: 1250)

Luft; Snells Beach; Kebyar Baru II; Yonsei. Peter Veale/Studio musikFabrik (Kreuzberg Records: KR 10138)

Selisih. Henning Schröder, alto saxophone; Nathan Mandel, baritone saxophone (Mark-Records: 8657-MCD)

Saitenlinien. Maximilian Mangold, guitar (Musicaphon: M 55726)

Kokon. Mirjam Schröder, harp; Maximilian Mangold, guitar (Musicaphon: M 56965)

Double Reed Music. (Musikhochschule Lübeck)

Klingende Fäden; Kalih; Delta; CLS; Trio Infernale; Ueno Rain I; Ueno Rain II; Selisih Baru; What About...?; Orgelzyklus; Duett; Nyepi; Ical; Wooden. Viktoriia Vitrenko, high soprano; Nadine Kowol, piccolo, flute; Angela Firkins, flute; Diethelm Jonas, oboe; Mathis Krause, oboe; Nikolai Gast, clarinet; Ilja Ruf, clarinet; Ivo Ruf, clarinet; Antonia Jäger, clarinet, bass clarinet; Rico Gubler, baritone saxophone; Vasco Teixeira, bassoon; Sten Erik Prée, French horn; Imke Frank, cello; Jörg Linowitzki, double bass; Svenja Dose, spatial double bass; Kai Lindenstruth, spatial double bass; Niklas Müller, spatial double bass; Karina Tschirner, spatial double bass; Julia Vötig, spatial double bass; Olga Wegener, spatial double bass; Franz Danksagmüller, organ; Johannes Fischer, percussion; Frank Hube/ensemble; Brad Lubman/Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern; Johannes Knecht/MHL-Kammerchor, MHL-Sinfonieorchester (Musikhochschule Lübeck: P 211)

Kammermusik IV. Angelika Luz, high soprano; Brad Lubman/Ensemble Modern (NEOS: 10821)

Angin (original version). Lothar Zagrosek/SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg (Neue Musik 2000 [book with CD], edited by Klaus-Hinrich Stahmer)

Surya. Steffen Schleiermacher, piano (Neue Zeitschrift für Musik [magazine with CD])

Surya. Urs Liska, piano (Sound-Rel: DRE 90201)

Kammermusik V. musikFabrik (WERGO: WER 6866 2)

DISCOGRAPHY (as editor)

'Zeitgenössische Gamelanmusik auf Bali', Gamelan Gong Kebyar aus Pinda und Sawan in An Anthology of Southeast Asian Music. (Bärenreiter–Musicaphon: BM 30 SL 2575)

Topeng Cirebon – Tarawangsa, Sundanese Music from West Java. (WERGO: SM 1607 2)

Gamelan Semar Pagulingan from Besang-Ababi/Karangasem, Music from Bali. (WERGO: SM 1609 2)