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screening > Hans Werner Henze. Music, Friendship, Game. (2017) directed by Nina di Majo


The documentary Hans Werner Henze: Music, Friendship, Game directed by Nina di Majo is a journey into the life of German composer Hans Werner Henze (1926-2012), one of the most influential musicians of the late 20th century, acclaimed for his many operas, symphonies, ballets and his commitment to political art.

As a young man in Germany, World War II left an indelible mark on his creative psyche and a lifelong hatred for Nazism. His father was killed on the Eastern Front, Hans was drafted into the army in 1944 and finished the war in a British prison camp. Henze’s anguish about his country was heightened by a sense of shame about the Holocaust. He felt ostracized and abhorred as a homosexual in an intolerant society. After the mass emigration of German artists and intellectuals who decided to start a new life elsewhere, Henze left Germany in 1953 and moved to the Italian island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples. He remained in Italy for the rest of his life.
With interviews, historical repertoire, letters and music, the documentary reconstructs Henze’s artistic journey and chronicles his desire for freedom and joy through his liberating creative process that was intertwined with his personal suffering. Henze’s music incorporated neo-classicism, jazz, twelve-tone technique, serialism and a bit of rock or popular music.

Living in Italy , Henze’s music became considerably more Neapolitan in style.

Director Nina di Majo met him in her youth at her family’s home in Naples. She highlights his long friendship and fruitful collaboration with Austrian poet and author Ingeborg Bachmann through their correspondence. The film also includes interviews with Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, (musicologist), Sir Simon Rattle (conductor), Alessio Vlad (composer), Francesco Antonioni (composer), Mario Martone (theater and movie director), among others.



April 15, 2024  | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
📍Crescent Theatre
100 N Crescent Drive
Beverly Hills , 90210
6pm reception
6:30pm screening
Followed by Q&A with Nina Di Majo and musicologist Alexandra Monchick
led by UCLA Prof. Thomas Harrison
RSVP is mandatory. Limited seating


  • Organized by: Azzurra with Istituto Luce Cinecittà
  • In collaboration with: Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Los Angeles e VATMH Los Angeles