SJ Hanke


Contact: Ute Rost, +43 676 670 2423
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»SJ Hanke knows how to fuse different compositional styles and concepts within his work in a fresh way. This approach allows him a musical language that is sensual in sound and often dramatic. By condensing and superimposing tonal and rhythmic structures, he also gives room to humor and irony in his works.«

Dr. Christian Kuhnt, Intendant of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival


Stefan Johannes Hanke, born 1984 in Regensburg, studied composition with Manfred Trojahn and Heinz Winbeck. He received scholarships from the Cité Internationale des Arts Paris and the German Academy Rome Villa Massimo.

In addition to numerous works for orchestra and chamber music ensembles, one of his focal points belongs to the stage. After two chamber operas and two children's operas, which are staged regularly at various theatres, including the Semperoper Dresden, the Staatstheater Darmstadt, the Theater Basel and the Oper Köln, his ballet "grotesque & arabesque" was commissioned by the Staatsoper Hannover in 2018/19, based on motifs by Edgar Allan Poe (choreography by Jörg Mannes).

In summer 2019, the Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra premiered the orchestral work "ropes and knots“, conducted by Benjamin Reiners. Other commissions and performers included the Deutscher Musikrat (German Music Council), the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra Haydn die Bolzano e Trento, the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO), the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Asasello Quartet, soprano Elsa Dreisig and the Ensemble Modern.

In 2020 SJ Hanke has been awarded the Hindemith Prize of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

In the summer of 2022, the Salzburg Festival scheduled his children's opera "Der Teufel mit den drei goldenen Haaren" (The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs) with ten performances.

In February 2023, his saxophone concerto CIRCLE AND TANGENT, conducted by Mariano Chiacchiarini, was premiered by Lutz Koppetsch and the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Cologne Philharmonie.

Works (selection)


  • a journey after midnight for orchestra (2015) – commissioned by: Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento
  • ropes and knots for orchestra (2019) – commissioned by: Theater Kiel
  • CIRCLE AND TANGENT for saxophone and orchestra (2022) – commissioned by: KölnMusik GmbH, WP 2023 Cologne Philharmonie, Lutz Koppetsch, Duisburger Philharmoniker, Mario Chiacchiarini
  • BIRDS GONE ASTRAY for organ and baroque orchestra (2023) – commissioned by: Orgelfrühling Steiermark, WP 2023 Graz, Gunther Rost, 4D Barock

Musical Theater

  • Der Teufel mit den drei goldenen Haaren (from 7 years) – WP 2012 Staatsoper Hannover, Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester, Benjamin Reiners
  • it will be rain tonight (chamber opera in one act) – WP 2013 Deutsche Oper Berlin, Ensemble Echo, Manuel Nawri
  • Oh, wie schön ist Panama (from 5 years) – WP 2015 Staatsoper Hannover, Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester, Benjamin Reiners
  • Der Muschelfischer (musical theater for children, actors, children's choir, orchestra) – WP 2016 Cologne Philharmonic Hall, Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, Andreas Fellner


  • grotesque & arabesque (for great orchestra, based on motifs of Edgar Allan Poe) – WP 2019 Staatsoper Hannover, Jörg Mannes (choreography), Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester, Valtteri Rauhalammi


  • about happy animals – WP 2013 Ensemble Modern, Erik Nielsen
  • guinea pig walking home – WP 2014 Deutsche Oper Berlin (orchestra academists)
  • Ada‘s Lullaby (for saxophone and ensemble) – WP 2017 Lutz Koppetsch & La piccola banda
  • ATTRACTED BY SHINY OBJECTS – 2020, 9 saxophones
  • STARFISH REBELLION II – 2022, baroque ensemble

Chamber Music

  • goldfinch blues – 2011, piano trio
  • Nachmittagsträume (Pavillon der alternden Zirkustiere) – 2012, violin and piano
  • giardino ornamentale (occupato da animali domestici) – 2013, string quartet
  • TWILIGHT TO GO – 2020, double bass quartet and jazz piano
  • STARFISH REBELLION – 2020, piano trio
  • COMING UP FOR AIR – 2021, clarinet quintet
  • FEVER SKETCHES – 2021, string quartet


  • zerreißende Fläche (for eight-part mixed choir and string quartet) – WPA 2014 Hungarian Radio Choir
  • Lux Aeterna (for eight-part mixed choir) – WP 2015 Kunstsommerchor Kloster Irsee, Philipp Amelung

Voice Solo

  • Augenblicke: Signaturen, for Baritone (or Bass) and piano (2013)
  • about silence and seduction, for mezzo soprano and piano (2014) – WP Hamburg City Hall (Elsa Dreisig, Lucie Sansen)

Solo Instrument

  • EPILOG MIT LÖWE, piano – commissioned by: Schumannfest Bonn, WP 2023 (Aaron Pilsan)