Dieter Lehnhoff

Dieter Lehnhoff conducting

Dieter Lehnhoff Temme (born 27 May 1955) is a Guatemalan composer, conductor, and musicologist.


Born in Guatemala City to German settlers, 1955, Dieter Lehnhoff Temme has been a pupil of Klaus Ager, Gerhard Wimberger, Josef Maria Horváth, and Dr. Friedrich C. Heller in Salzburg. His musique concréte work Requiem was premiered in 1975 at the Austrian Broadcasting (ORF). He earned his master's (M.A.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees with distinction at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he was a graduate student of Conrad Bernier and Helmut Braunlich (composition), Donald Thulean (conducting), Cyrilla Barr, Ruth Steiner, and Robert M. Stevenson (musicology).

Recent works

His original compositions have been performed in Europe and the Americas. His Misa de San Isidro (2001) for a cappella chorus was premiered in Tenerife, the Canary Islands, Spain, in 2002, and has been performed by different professional choirs at festivals in Medellín, Tokyo, and New York City. His Piano Concerto No. 1 (2005), dedicated to the Russian pianist and teacher, Alexandr Sklioutovski, was premiered in June, 2006 at the National Theatre in Guatemala City by José Pablo Quesada as soloist and the Millennium Orchestra, the composer conducting. In 2007, it was performed to critical acclaim and great enthusiasm at the National Theatre in San José, Costa Rica, again with pianist Quesada and the composer conducting the National University Symphony Orchestra. Quesada also performed it at the 15th Latin American Music Festival in Caracas, Venezuela in May, 2008, with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Venezuela. Lehnhoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 (2007) was very successfully premiered in August, 2008 in Guatemala City by concert pianist Sergio Sandí, with the combined Millennium Orchestra and Bachensemble Leipzig, the composer conducting. The concertos are written in a personal, highly original post-modern style in which contemporary art-music idioms and techniques, but also blues, tango, and jazz influences can be traced. His aphoristical twelve-tone Hai-kai for piano have attracted the attention of scholars such as the distinguished musicologist Dr. Tamara Sklioutovskaia, and have been performed by international pianists. His piano and chamber music has been performed at numerous festivals in Europe, North- and South America. His dyptich Escenas primigenias was published on CD and served as a model for cinematic development. His stage work in progress Satuyé, on an own multilingual libretto, is about the Afro-Caribbean Garinagu (or Garifuna) people and their arrival at Central American shores.

Revival of historical music

His research of the Music of Guatemala has revealed a previously unknown musical wealth, including the Maya, Renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, 20th century, and current trends. From the early 1980s on, Dieter Lehnhoff had become interested in searching for music composed in Central America and specifically Guatemala during the Spanish rule (1524–1821). His research initiatives brought to light a number of compositions by Renaissance masters Hernando Franco, Pedro Bermúdez, and Gaspar Fernández, as well as Guatemalan baroque composers Manuel José de Quirós, Rafael Antonio Castellanos, Pedro Antonio Rojas, and José Eulalio Samayoa. A first anthology was published in Antigua Guatemala in 1984. The music was revived in a number of concerts conducted by Lehnhoff, thus surprising the musical world with a new repertoire of high quality. The first series of digital recordings (1992–99), which spanned from the late Maya times to the end of the 20th century, was released as part of the monumental Historia General de Guatemala, an encyclopedic publication in six volumes written by over 150 specialists in every historical area. The series of seven CDs included premiere recordings of music from every historical period. The revival of the historic Music of Guatemala through Lehnhoff's concerts, writings, and recordings had a significant effect on the strengthening of the cultural identity of Guatemalans in times of civil confrontation and turmoil. The dissemination of his musical and historical findings at more than 40 international festivals, concerts, congresses, and meetings also helped to restore the cultural image and prestige of the country.

As a conductor, he has founded and directed various instrumental groups, orchestras, and choral groups. He has been invited to perform as a conductor, composer, lecturer, or leader of his Millennium Ensemble at over forty international festivals and concerts in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Spain, the United States, and Venezuela. He has produced a series of compact discs with premiere recordings of works by Guatemalan composers of all times.

Academic programmes

In the academic field he also pioneered by establishing and directing several institutions and programmes devoted to the strengthening of musical culture in Guatemala. Thus, he proposed and carried out the design and establishment of the Music Department at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, which offered, for the first time in the country, a Bachelor's degree and a teaching license in Music. He also established the Institute of Musicology at the Universidad Rafael Landívar , which is under his direction, and which is primarily devoted to musicological research. He has taught numerous courses in musicology, music theory, applied music, and composition. He has also been an invited professor at the doctoral programme of the National University of Costa Rica. For his extensive writings he was made a corresponding member of the Royal Spanish Academy, being also invited to join the Academies of History of Argentina, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

He is founder and president of the Guatemalan Music Council, affiliated to the International Music Council of Unesco.

Selected compositions









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