Peter Zwetkoff
Registered as:
Instrument: piano

Zwetkoff Peter


# Title Year of Originsort icon Duration Instrumentation Category
1 Umschlagplatz - für Klarinette, Tuba, Violine, Kontrabass und Schlagzeug 1993 7m 30s
2 Am Morgen wirst du sehen - Sieben Lieder nach Gedichten von Urs Widmer für Sopran, Klarinette, Trompete, Violine, Kontrabass und Schlagzeug 1993 12m 30s
3 Der Herr der Ringe - Musik zur Hörspielfassung von Peter Steinbach 1991 ~ 12m
4 Wie es war - für Streichquartett und Schlagzeug 1988 10m 22s
5 Cordoba oder Die Kunst des Badens - Musik zur Hörspielfassung von Otto Düben 1984 ~ 1h 5m
6 Die Tote im See - Musik zur Hörspielfassung von Hermann Naber 1983 ~ 1h
7 Violinmusik für zwei bis vier Geigen 1981 15m 50s
8 Stan und Ollie in Deutschland - Musik zum Hörspiel von Urs Widmer 1979 ~ 1h 30m
9 Der Müller von Sanssouci - Musik zur Hörspielfassung von Hermann Naber 1967 58m
10 Ungeduld des Herzens - Musik zur Hörspielfassung von Gert Westphal 1961 ~ 2h 1m
11 Der gute Gott von Manhattan - Musik zur Hörspielfassung von Gert Westphal 1958 ~ 1h 37m
12 Berta Garlan - Musik zur Hörspielfassung von Max Ophüls 1956 ~ 2h 30m
13 Brevier - Stücke für Klavier 1953 11m 50s
14 Kleine Klavierstücke 1952 6m 10s
15 Dialog für zwei Klaviere 1952 8m 41s
16 Duo concertante für Violine und Klavier 1951 12m 30s
17 Die untere Schenke 1951 14m 30s
18 Suite für Klavier 1950 4m 50s
19 Fünf Klavierstücke 1950 7m
20 An eine ferne Geliebte 1950 2m
21 Zur halben Nacht 1950 2m 30s
22 Hotelsolo für eine Männerstimme 1950 2m 30s
23 Fünf Tanzstücke 1949 8m 40s

General Information

Year of Birth:  1925
Date of Birth:  15. April 1925
Country of Birth: 
Year of Death:  2012
Date of Death:  17. May 2012


1951 - 1954

piano teacher and director of the Orff-school


composer for film and radio, music dramaturgical work with actors, musicians, directors and technicians

freelance composer

Commissions (Selection)

PeriodCommissionCompositionCommissioner (Organisation)Commissioner (Person)

Radio Basel (succeeded by Radio Energy Basel)


PeriodAwardCompositionAwarding Organisation

Karl Sczuka Prize


Karl Sczuka Prize


German Blind Veterans Federation: radio play award


Karl Sczuka Prize, together with Urs Widmer


German Blind Veterans Federation: radio play award


German Blind Veterans Federation: radio play award


Prix Italia: award winner

Description of Style

Peter Zwetkoff's compositions are linked to Béla Bartók, Carl Orff, Stravinsky and Eastern European folk music. His interest in music includes the vocal art of Gregorian chant, polyphony of Dutch composers as well as idioms of folk music and popular music, but always with a critical distance. His music is simple, but the structures - rhythm and harmony - are complex, just like the composer Webern. There is hardly any music that is so conscious about language like the music of Zwetkoff. His music is always very meaningful and sensible, but refuses to drift into sentimentality and rather touches the people in their deep truth, in life, love and death. Examples can be found in the song-cycle "Die untere Schenke" based on poems by Theodor Kramer and the late cycle "Am Morgen wirst du sehen" (1993) based on poems by Urs Widmer. His oeuvre is dominated by 260 radio plays. There are over 60 works for television dramas, just as many music pieces for the show "Kulturelles Wort" and a remarkable number of stage music compositions. His largest composition of 1991/1992 encompasses six hours of music with thirty radio play episodes based on John Ronald R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" that each last 25 minutes. Peter Zwetkoff's most concise work in absolute music showing the greatest concentration on his compositional intentions is the piece "Umschlagplatz" from 1993. The goal of his music: to create a consciousness, a sensibility against lukewarmness and indifference. His music is subject to the word and the truth and sharpens perception. It avoids everything that is too loud, and tracks down boundaries. The required virtuosity is extremely precise in its language and meaning. There are no redundant words and sounds, no flowery metaphors, no complacency of sound. Virtuosic surrogates are only used to detect false consciousness. The idea of ​​sound is precise and sensitive, it provokes a very elementary listening that fosters the ability to think. The sound generation includes noises and the whole variety of all possible playing styles. Peter Zwetkoff loves the direct access to the instrument. You can feel the breath, the player's hand, the mechanics of tonal tools, the striking object and the object that is struck. When recording, he uses all the possibilities of a modern studio, but refrains from electronic effects. Multi-track recording and the accuracy of musical and dramatic mixes are his means of creation. Peter Zwetkoff composes with the utmost consistency and seeks precise form. He combines ancient polyphony with the latest methods of composition (minimalism). Even the smallest units are precisely composed. He finds melodies that appeal to the musically educated as well as to amateurs. He has a clear, thoughtful language that even challenges professional instrumentalists musically, technically and mentally.

Othmar Costa, 1995