steirischer herbst mourns Peter Oswald


We are deeply saddened to announce that Peter Oswald passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday night. He was Director of steirischer herbst from 2000 to 2005 and headed musikprotokoll from 1988 to 1990.


Peter Oswald opened the doors to new worlds of sound for so many people – his passion for art and above all New Music is legendary, allowing him to transcend boundaries and leaving behind momentous events and traces.

Major music (theatre) productions were a central element of steirischer herbst under his directorship – Beat Furrer’s Begehren kicked off Graz’s year as Capital of Culture in 2003 and was later named “Opera of the Year” by the renowned Opernwelt magazine. Other important musical highlights of his era included White Foam by Wolfgang Mitterer in a production by La Fura dels Baus, Lost Highway by Olga Neuwirth or Bernhard Lang’s Theater der Wiederholungen. Peter Oswald was also responsible for exhibitions of broad public appeal at steirischer herbst – Latente Utopien by Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher, <hers> curated by Stella Rollig or Abbild by Peter Pakesch – and he also counted among the early and consistent patrons of Händl Klaus. His passion and pioneering work for New Music lives on in the numerous and unique recordings of contemporary music under the Kairos label that he founded.

Peter Oswald would have been a guest at our series of discussions ”Stories of a Festival that 'Explores the Times'” marking this year’s festival anniversary.

We send our sympathy to his wife Barbara Fränzen, his family, former colleagues, friends and everyone mourning Peter Oswald with us.

Veronica Kaup-Hasler and the steirischer herbst team