A language virtuoso
Leipzig, 18 December, 2014. Radio play author Ror Wolf receives the 2015 "Günter Eich Prize", sponsored by the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig and endowed with 10,000 Euros. The award will be presented on 7 July 2015 at the Media Foundation's summer party at the "Media Campus Villa Ida" in Leipzig. "Ror Wolf has created a work of radio art that has continuously renewed and sustainably enriched German language radio theater over the decades," said Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Media Foundation and Director Foundations of Sparkasse Leipzig: "I am all the more delighted that he will now receive our radio play award named after Günter Eich. After all, it was he who inspired Ror Wolf to write radio plays."
Born on 29 June 1932 in Saalfeld, Thuringia as Richard Wolf, Ror Wolf is both a specialist and a universalist, impossible to confine to just one discipline: He writes literature, makes collage art, and writes and edits radio plays. Of himself, Wolf says, "I am basically a radio play writer who writes books from time to time." His artwork is accordingly diverse and includes pieces that he produced under Adorno, Horkheimer and others after leaving the GDR in August 1953 and studying literature, sociology and philosophy. His first literary publications appeared in 1958. After having worked as a literature editor for Hessischer Rundfunk for two years, Ror Wolf became a freelance writer in 1963. His debut as a novelist, "Fortsetzung des Berichts" ("Continuation of the report"), was published in 1964. His first radio play, "Der Chinese am Fenster" ("The Chinese man at the window"), was broadcast in 1971 and later became part of the trilogy "Auf der Suche nach Dr. Q." ("Searching for Dr. Q"). With his ten live sound soccer collages produced between 1972 and 1979, Ror Wolf became a legend. He was awarded the Radio Play Award of the War-blinded for his radio play biography "Leben und Tod des Kornettisten Bix Beiderbecke aus Nord-Amerika" ("Life and death of the cornetist Bix Beiderbecke from North America"). In 2007, "Raoul Tranchirers Bemerkungen über die Stille" ("Raoul Tranchirer's comments on silence") was named Radio Play of the Year by the German Academy of Performing Arts.
"As a Jazz enthusiast and expert, Ror Wolf is a language virtuoso, equipped with an almost musical understanding of words. In addition to that, his wonderfully fanciful take on reality, in which ever-changing perspectives and means of expression make even the most improbable things possible, makes him one of the most fascinating explorers of the realms of tone, voice and sound. The manners of acoustic storytelling that Ror Wolf draws from the medium of radio by productively analyzing its terms and capabilities have influenced the styles of subsequent generations. In their timeless modernity, they are still vivid today; the artistic sophistication and subtlety of the arrangements fuel the high entertainment value inherent in every single one of the author's radio plays - plays that, on the whole, can be seen and heard as an homage to radio as a medium of the artistic word," the jury stated regarding the selection of the laureate.
The members of this year's jury were Linde Rotta (freelance writer / journalist), Elisabeth Panknin (former head of radio play at Deutschland-funk), Franziskus Abgottspon (former head of radio play at SRG / actor) and Dr. Jens Bisky (culture section editor / critic at Süddeutsche Zeitung). The head of the jury was Wolfgang Schiffer (head of radio play and documentaries at WDR until 2011). The decision to award the prize to Ror Wolf, nominated this year by WDR, was unanimous.
The "Günter Eich Prize", sponsored for the fifth time by the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, is meant to honor authors who have dedicated an oeuvre of masterful form and content to the genre of German radio play. The foundation sponsors the award every two years, alternating annually with the "Axel Eggebrecht Prize" for German radio feature. Previous laureates were Alfred Behrens (2007), Eberhard Petschinka (2009), Hubert Wiedfeld (2011) and Jürgen Becker (2013).