True originality

The composer Thomas Daniel Schlee celebrates his 60th birthday

Thomas Daniel Schlee’s work as a composer, organist, musicologist and culture manager makes him one of the most multifaceted personalities in musical life today. He celebrates his 60th birthday on 26 October.

Olivier Messiaen gave his former pupil a brilliant endorsement: “Thomas Daniel Schlee is an open spirit and a cultured man. He loves music passionately. He is an outstanding organist and an extremely gifted composer. His works reflect a high intellectual striving and a true originality with regard to their ‘écriture’ and sound colours.”

Thomas Daniel Schlee was born in Vienna in 1957. He studied organ, composition and musicology in Vienna and Paris with Michael Radulescu, Jean Langlais, Olivier Messiaen and Francis Burt. As an organist he has given concerts throughout Europe, played in radio broadcasts and on CDs, served as a jury member in international competitions and worked as an editor. From 1990 to 1998 he was Music Director of the Brucknerhaus Linz and Artistic Director of the International Bruckner Festival, and from 1999 to 2003 he was Deputy Director of the International Beethoven Festival Bonn. From 2004 to 2015 he was Artistic Director of the Carinthian Summer Music Festival. As a composer, Schlee has published many works for orchestra and for vocal and chamber music forces, as well as works for and with organ. In 2005 he was appointed Officier des Arts et Lettres, in 2010 he was awarded the Austrian Art Prize for Music, and in 2012 the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art.

His 60th birthday is marked by numerous performances of his compositions, including the Austrian premiere of “Spes unica” op. 72 by the RSO Vienna under Cornelius Meister on 19 October in the Konzerthaus Wien, the first performance of his Suite op. 82 on 24 October in the Musikverein Vienna and “Bis” by the Bamberg Symphony under Manfred Honeck on 18 and 19.11.2017. (Photo: Herbert Lehmann)

(Full interview with Thomas Daniel Schlee at