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Thomas Jahn was born in December 29,1940 as the only son of a journalist and writer and a singer in Berlin. His interest in literature and music began early in his life.

After his father was released from a Soviet parison camp in 1949, the family moved to Hamburg in 1950. After a one year stay in a tubercolosis sanatorium he took lessons in trombone in 1953. In school he began to be interested in jazzmusic and founded a school band together with other pupils. With increasing interest he followed American jazz scene.

In 1962, he started to study composition with Prof. Heinz Friedrich Hartig, strict counterpoint studies with Prof. Ernst Pepping, instrumentation with Prof. Frank Michael Beyer and twelve tone analysis with Prof Josef Rufer at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. He sang in the church choir of the Jesus Christus Kirche in Berlin-Dahlem and there he met his futur wife. With fellow students like Gerald Humel, Karl-Heinz Wahren, Wilhelm Dieter Siebert and others he founded the „Gruppe Neue Musik Berlin“.

In 1964, he started to study trombone at the Städtisches Konservatorium which he continued at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Hamburg. In 1968 he finished his studies and obtained a diploma as private music teacher. In 1967 he married the schoolteacher Rosemarie Born. In the same year he became assistant of his trombone teacher Prof. Horst Raasch. He played with several orchestras and in studios. From 1971 - 1978 he was a teacher for trombone and music practise in schools. At the same time from 1969 - 1972 he studied conducting with Prof. Alfred Bittner.

In 1968 he founded the musicgroup „Gruppe Hinz und Kunzt“ together with Wolfgang Florey, Jens Peter Ostendorf, Beate Gabriela Schmitt and others devoted to free improvisation. In this year his first son Andreas was born.

In 1969 he worked and studied with the singer, composer and arranger Anita Kerr in Los Angeles (USA) to get to learn the know - how of arranging pop music.

From 1970 onwards, the renamed group „Ensemble Hinz&Kunst“ devoted more and more time and interest to the possibilities of team working composing. They wanted to overcome the traditional division of music production and reproduction and to unite these activities. Over the years, several compositions were created for the theatre. In 1979 for their musical fairy tale „Mongomo in Lapislazuli“ the group obtained the „prize of the jury of the international seminar for composers“ in Boswil (Switzerland). In the same time the ensemble supported the political engaged songwriter scene.

From 1973 - 1974 he was the musical director of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg and worked for several productions. In 1973 he performed together with „Ensemble Hinz&Kunst“ under the artistic direction of Hans Werner Henze the scenic cantata „Streik bei Mannesmann“ at the „X. World Festival for youth and students“ in East Berlin (GDR). For the record production of the cantata the ensemble obtained the prize „Künstler des Jahres“ („artist of the year“) of the German Phono Academy in 1976. Close contacts developed with Hans Werner Henze and the co-operation lasted for several years. Henze supported Thomas Jahn actively.
In 1974 his second son Nikolaus was born.

In 1975 Henze commissioned him to compose an opera for the first festival of the „Cantiere Internazionale d‘arte“ in Montepulciano (Italy). One year later „Il Palazzo Zoologico“ („The zoological palace“) was performed with the „Ensemble Hinz&Kunst“ under the direction of Volker Schloendorff and Matthieu Carriere. In the following years he received more commissions. One of them was the ballet „Peccato che sia una sgualdrina“ („‘Tis pity she‘s a whore“) conceived by the Choreographer William Forsythe and the composer. In the following years the composer devoted more and more to dance theater.

From 1978 - 1980 Jahn studied music theory with Prof.Werner Krützfeld at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Hamburg, In 1979 he received the „Förderpreis des Bachpreises der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg.“

In 1979 he became an editor at the Peer Musikverlag Hamburg. On his initiative the publishing house aquired works by Udo Zimmermann, Mathias Spahlinger, Joachim Krebs and other composers.

Members of „Ensemble Hinz&Kunst“ founded the group „L’art pour l’art“, and during the next years, there followed a close co-operation with this group.

In 1986 he left the publishing house to live as a free-lance composer.

In 1989 he became a music teacher at the „Erika Klütz-Schule für Theatertanz und Tanzpädagogik“ and initiated several projects in the following years.

In 1990 he founded the theatre “Scala“ together with Geeske Hof-Helmers, Ulrike Gabrielli, Berhard Asche and others and performed his „Tender Buttons - ein poetisches Musiktheater“.

In 1993 he founded „Die Eppendorfer Blechbläser“ and composed and arranged for the brass ensemble.

In 1995 he received an award for church music of the town Neuss for his „Magnificcat ‘95“.

In 1998 he received an award of the „Deutscher Musikrat“ for his satire for choir entitled „Blühende Landschaften“.

In 2001 he founded the „Ensemble Undizett“ together with Tassilo Jelde, Berhard Asche, Ludolf Kleemeier and others.

Today Thomas Jahn lives in Hamburg and Wendland (Lower Saxony).

(Status: December 2004)
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