Photo: Armin Krüger

Leonard Küßner

is an award-winning composer for film, theater and concert hall who is best known for his work on Wim Wenders “Anselm” and Franz Böhms “Dear Future Children”.

After his basic training in percussion and piano, and after many years of working in various orchestras and ensembles, he studied composition with a focus on film music at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg.

This was followed by composition commissions for film scores, interdisciplinary performance formats and the world’s first Dolby Atmos radio play “Das Duett”.

In 2018, Küßner celebrated his international premiere at the 71st Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for the “German Film Music Award”.

In the same year, his stage music for E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “Der Goldne Topf”, adapted and directed by Anna Frick, premiered at the Theater Freiburg, which was performed over two seasons.

Küßner composed the film music for Katja Trautwein’s documentary (SWR, 3sat) “Friedemann Vogel – Incarnation of Dance” (2020) about the world-class ballet dancer Friedemann Vogel, which was also released as a soundtrack album.

He wrote stage music for Victor Klemperer’s diaries from the period 1934 – 1945, as well as the four-movement poem setting “Einsamkeit” after Paul Celan for orchestra and two voices, which was recorded on CD under his direction.

In 2020/2021 Küßner, together with Hannes Bieber, composed and produced the film music for the multi-award-winning documentary “Dear Future Children”, which was released in cinemas in Germany, Great Britain, Austria and Canada. For this score, he won “Best Filmmusic” at NaturVision Festival, shared with Hannes Bieber.

This was followed by recordings of film music and symphonic works with the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg, the Slovak Sinfonietta Orchestra, the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra as well as recordings with tenor Daniel Kluge (Hamburg State Opera), René Pape (Berlin State Opera) and collaborations with sopranos Samantha Gaul (Opera Leipzig), Katharina Ruckgaber, Birita Poulsen, Fanny Soyer (Royal Danish Opera) and mezzo-soprano Marie Seidler.

On November 2021, the CD “Die Fremde” with Küßner’s composition “Andante for alto saxophone and piano” (alto saxophone: Hannah Koob, piano: Martien Maas) was released worldwide by the Dutch label 7 Mountain Records. The “Andante for alto saxophone and piano” was broadcast live by NPO4 (now NPO Klassiek).

Starting in 2022, Küßner composed the score for Wim Wenders new film “Anselm” about artist Anselm Kiefer. The film celebrated its world premiere at the 76. Cannes Film Festival 2023. The “Anselm” film score won “Best Original Music Score” at the 39th IDA Documentary Awards 2023 in Los Angeles and is a Cinema Eye Honors nominee for “Outstanding Original Score” 2024 in New York City.

His new orchestral work “Zeitenwende” for alto saxophone and symphony orchestra, which is dedicated to saxophonist Hannah Koob, will be premiered in May 2024.

A new symphonic composition (title tba) will be premiered on 19, 20, 21 and 22 September.

The operaAlix and the Fantastic Search for Mr. Meisenbär (AT) is in development.

Leonard Küßner has also given lessons at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg and will be a lecturer in film and media music at Offenburg University of Applied Sciences from 2024.

He lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Awards

Cinema Eye Honors Awards (US) “Outstanding Original Score” 2024 – Anselm (nominee)

IDA Documentary Awards (US) “Best Original Music Score” 2023 – Anselm (winner)

Rolf-Hans Müller Award (DE) 2023 – Anselm (nominee)

NaturVision Filmmusic Award (DE) 2021 – Dear Future Children (winner, shared with Hannes Bieber)

Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis (DE) “Best Music in a Documentary” 2021 – Dear Future Children (nominee, shared with Hannes Bieber)

German Film Music Award (DE) “Best Music in a Short Film” 2018 – L’Aria del Moscerino (nominee)