Robert Wilson, born in Waco, Texas was recognized in the 1960s as one of the leading figures of Manhattan’s avant-garde. In collaboration with the collective he founded, the Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds, he developed ground-breaking works such as Deafman Glance (1970), The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin (1973), and A Letter for Queen Victoria (1974-1975). In 1976, his Einstein on the Beach, set to a score by Philip Glass, would turn conventional perceptions of opera upside down. Robert Wilson produces both original and traditional repertoire works all over the world. His stage productions incorporate a wide variety of artistic media (including dance, movement, lights, sculpture, music, and texts). He has collaborated with numerous high-profile writers and musicians including Heiner Müller, Tom Waits, Susan Sontag, Laurie Anderson, William Burroughs, Lou Reed and Jessye Norman. He has also left his mark on repertoire classics such as Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape (Spoleto, 2009; Holland Festival, 2015), Madame Butterfly (Paris Opera, 1993), Pelléas et Mélisande (Salzburg Festival, 1997), Brecht and Weill’s Threepenny Opera (Berliner Ensemble, 2007; Théâtre de la Ville, 2009), Jean de la Fontaine’s Fables (Comédie-Française 2004), Homer’s Odyssey (Athens, 2009), Goethe’s Faust (Berliner Ensemble, 2015), La Traviata (Landestheater Linz, 2015), and L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Milan’s La Scala, 2015). More recently, he directed Il Trovatore at the Teatro Regio in Parma, Turandot at the Teatro Real in Madrid, and Otello at the Baden-Baden Festival. The work of Robert Wilson is also firmly anchored in the fine arts. His sketches, paintings and sculptures have been exhibited all over the world. He is the founder and the artistic director of the Watermill Center, a multidisciplinary experimental art laboratory dedicated to collective creation which brings together New York’s leading professionals and young artists. His work has been honoured with an array of prestigious awards including a Pulitzer Prize, a Premio Ubu, an Olivier Award, and a Golden Lion from the Venice Biennale. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the German Academy of the Arts. France bestowed him with the title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2003) and Officer of the Legion of Honour (2014). He was also awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Back to top