Heiner Müller

Born in 1929 in Eppendorf, Saxony, passed away in 1995 in Berlin, Müller was a German playwright, writer, poet, editor, and director. In 1951, Müller’s parents fled to West Berlin, while he moved to East Berlin.

He wrote his first drama in 1948 and in 1950 he was employed by the literary and artistic journal Sonntag and began working as a critic. In 1953, he started working for Neue Deutsche Literatur, in 1957 he became the editor of the magazine Junge Kunst. In 1954, he joined the Union of German Writers.

In 1956, Müller and his wife, Ingeborg Schwenkner, created the play Der Lohndrücker, the content of which was condemned as not meeting the requirements of socialist realism, which consequently led to a ban on staging the work. The Akademie der Künste awarded the Heinrich Mann Preis to both authors for this work only in 1959.

Heiner Müller’s directorial debut took place in 1958 at the Volksbühne in Berlin. From 1958 to 1959, Müller collaborated as an author with the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, where the premieres of his plays Der Lohndrücker and Die Korrektur took place. Another play – Die Umsiedlerin – after being staged in 1961, was criticized as a counterrevolutionary attack on the state and removed from the repertoire. The writer had to self-criticize and was expelled from the Union of Writers. From then on, he wrote under the pseudonym Max Messer.

In 1970, he was involved in the Berliner Ensemble, then in 1975 he went to the United States, where he lectured at the University of Texas (Austin). After returning, in the same year he became the literary director of the Volksbühne. After the unification of Germany, he mainly dealt with directing. In 1993, he made his debut as an opera director – he presented Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in Bayreuth in his own staging. In 1995, he became the artistic director of the Berliner Ensemble.

Phot. Hubert Link
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