Wolfgang Rihm (born 1952) is a prolific German composer of several operas and over a hundred string quartets. Among those who have commissioned works by him is the New York Philharmonic. A new opera of his, the Nietzsche-inspired Dionysos, will open this year’s Salzburg Festival.
Rihm was asked whether the audience will understand it.
“You don’t have to explain anything,” he replied. “I don’t want to explain anything. As soon as you start explaining things, it becomes so school-teachery, with all that pointing and knowing better. I make art, I don’t know any better. And this not-knowing is what I do best. This not-knowing is not a cross I have to bear, this ability not to know is a gift.”