Choreographer, Set, Costume and Lighting Designer, Nijinsky
John Neumeier was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he received his first dance training. He continued his dance studies in Chicago as well as at Marquette University in Milwaukee where he created his first choreographic works. After further ballet study both in Copenhagen and at The Royal Ballet School in London, John Cranko invited him in 1963 to join Stuttgart Ballet, where he progressed to Soloist and continued his choreographic development.
In 1969, Ulrich Erfurth appointed Mr. Neumeier Director of Ballett Frankfurt, where he soon caused a sensation due to his new interpretations of such well-known ballets as The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet. In 1973, he joined The Hamburg Ballet as Director and Chief Choreographer and, under his direction, The Hamburg Ballet became one of the leading ballet companies on the German dance scene and soon received international recognition. In 1972, he set his first work for The National Ballet of Canada, Don Juan with Rudolf Nureyev in the title role and in 1993, he created Now and Then for Karen Kain.
As a choreographer, Mr. Neumeier has continually focused on the preservation of ballet tradition, while giving his works a modern dramatic framework. His ballets range from new versions of evening-length story ballets to musicals and to his symphonic ballets, especially those based on Gustav Mahler’s compositions, as well as his choreographies to sacred music. His latest creations for The Hamburg Ballet are Duse (2015) and Turangalîla (2016).
Mr. Neumeier holds the Dance Magazine Award (1983), Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and French Order of Arts and Letters and the Legion of Honour. In 2006, he was awarded the prestigious Nijinsky Award for Lifetime Achievement. He received the Herbert von Karajan Musikpreis in 2007 and the Deutscher Jubiläums Tanzpreis in 2008. In 2007, he was made an honorary citizen of the city of Hamburg. In 2015, the Inamori Foundation presented Mr. Neumeier with the Kyoto Prize for his contributions to the Arts and Philosophy and in 2016 he received the renowned Prix Benois de la Danse for Lifetime Achievement.