Helmut Lachenmann (born November 27, 1935 in Stuttgart) studied piano, theory and counterpoint at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart from 1955 to 1958 and from 1958 to 1960 composition with Luigi Nono in Venice. The first public performances of his works took place at the Biennale in Venice in 1962 and at the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt. Upon completion of his teaching at the University of Ludwigsburg Lachenmann became professor for composition at the music conservatories of Hannover (1976–81) and Stuttgart (1981–99). Furthermore he gave many seminars, workshops and master classes in Germany and abroad, for example several times at the Summer Courses in Darmstadt between 1978 and 2006. In 2008 Lachenmann was Fromm Foundation Visiting Professor at the Department of Music of the Harvard University. 2010 he became fellow of the Royal College of Music in London.
Helmut Lachenmann received numerous awards for his compositional work, for example the Ernst von Siemens Musikpreis in 1997, the Royal Philharmonic Society Award London in 2004, the Berliner Kunstpreis as well as the Leone d’Oro of the Venice Biennale in 2008 as well as the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Contemporary Music.
Lachenmann is Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, honorary doctor of the music conservatories of Hannover, Dresden and Cologne as well as member of the Academies of Arts in Berlin, Brussels, Hamburg, Leipzig, Mannheim and Munich. His works are performed at many festivals and concert series in Germany and abroad.