In the first half of the 20th century, the music patron Werner Reinhart from Winterthur played a fundamental role in the development of the Musikkollegium Winterthur, together with the conductor Hermann Scherchen. Under their auspices, Winterthur became a centre of contemporary music with an impact far beyond the Swiss borders. Composers such as Anton Webern, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky and Richard Strauss worked with the Musikkollegium or composed for it. Composers who have meanwhile slipped somewhat into obscurity also enjoyed the high regard and support of Scherchen and Reinhart – men such as Heinrich Kaminski, Walter Braunfels and Franz von Hoesslin. It was not just composers who visited Winterthur at Reinhart’s invitation, for internationally renowned instrumentalists, singers and conductors also came to the city, often even enjoying Reinhart’s hospitality in his Villa Rychenberg, which today houses the offices of the Musikkollegium Winterthur.
With its “Rychenberg Competition”, the Musikkollegium Winterthur intends to forge a link from that era to the present. This Competition, made possible thanks to the Lottery Fund of the Canton of Zurich, aims to bring composers to Winterthur from all over the world, and at the same time promote Winterthur’s reputation in the broader world as an innovative city of music.