News 47– October 2020
At the end of September I spent a few days with the wonderful flutist Roberto Fabbriciani in a Florentine studio to finish the fine corrections on his RHPP-CD, which had been interrupted by Corona. It will be a magnificent portrait CD, which I will tell you more about when it is released by Stradivarius. This was my first flight since Corona, as all other activities since March had been cancelled.
Also cancelled is my long awaited stay in Japan to assist the premiere of my composition for Nô voice and string quartet Ryoko no Nô. The premiere will take place on October 20th in Tokyo (Ryoko Aoki, voice, ensemble-no), but unluckily, I have to stay at home because of Corona.
After the concert a video of the performance will be put on the net, I will inform you when the video is available.
...and speaking of videos: by chance I found out that the WDR video of the premiere of my orchestral work Anderswo: Wand from January 2019 was not taken off the net after one year as planned: it can now be seen on YouTube.
News 46– July 2020
The video of the Würzburg Mozart Festival podium discussion is freely accessible on the Internet. Now a video with Irvine Arditti is also available on the net, documenting an online seminar of my Würzburg composition class and the class of Prof. Peter Gahn in Nuremberg, for which everyone had written a piece for violin solo. Due to corona restrictions, the seminar and concert could not take place as planned, but on the net we still had exciting conversations between Arditti and the young composers. Each piece was discussed and finally premiered virtually. The video was edited by Jürgen Rummel (Würzburg), the recording technology for the virtual premieres was provided by Hilda Paredes (London). We are grateful to both of them!
News 45 – June 2020
Very slowly and carefully we learn that there can also be a life after Covid-19, even if we still have to deal with distance rules and reduced access to concerts and events for a long time.
On 18 June at 19:00 CEST, I will participate in a panel discussion at the Mozartfest Würzburg. The discussion will focus on how Beethoven was able to write his great works even though he was deaf. As access to the event will be very limited due to the distance regulations, our conversation will be streamed live on the Mozartfest YouTube channel.
I am looking forward to an interesting discussion, since my two interlocutors not only have a professional musical education, but as the head of the Neurobiology Department (Prof. Dr. Michael Sendtner) and the ENT Department (Prof. Dr. Rudolf Hagen, both at the University Clinic in Würzburg), they will contribute significantly so that we will be able to encircle the topic from all sides.
News 44 – May 2020
The Corona-related shutdown not only thwarted the premiere of my composition class in the Würzburg Cathedral, as announced in my last announcements, but also a number of my own performances, including Branenwelten 5 for percussion and electronics at the festival Images Sonores in Liège and the orchestral work Anderswo: Wand with the “German Radio Philharmonic” in Saarbrücken.
My trip to the USA as "senior composer" of the festival June in Buffalo with performances of up down, Wunderblock, the 3rd string quartet strings and Atila for baritone solo was completely cancelled. But we are not resting: I will teach the students in Buffalo via internet and will also give my lecture "sounds space time" on June 3rd. Should this lecture become openly accessible on the net, I will provide the link in time.
I am in regular exchange with Roberto Fabbriciani via internet to correct his recordings for a portrait CD with my works for flute. As soon as it will be possible to travel to Florence, even with some restrictions, I will go to the studio there for the final mix and the creation of the master for the CD with Roberto: the recordings are wonderful, we won't let Corona get us down!
News 43 –March 2020
This time I am not informing you about an upcoming performance of one of my own works, but about a joint work of my Würzburg composition class.
On 16 March 1945 Würzburg was heavily bombed. The night of the bombing remained a traumatic event in the city, and since then a commemorative event has been held every year in Würzburg Cathedral.
I am immensely grateful to Cathedral Kapellmeister Christian Schmid for his daring to entrust my composition class with the honorable task of writing Nachtkinder in memory of that night of bombing.
I am grateful to him for not only initiating this very special oratorio based on texts by contemporary witnesses still alive today, but also for accepting my proposal not to insist on a "normal" concert sequence of a Premiere performance of a new work and then Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms, but to allow the in my opinion compelling interlocking/merging of the two works.
In order to prevent undesirable expressions of consternation from the right, I asked our librettist Alexander Jansen to write an additional text for a studio produced prologue, which now prepares the performance when the audience arrives – and culminates in the insistent call of a witness of that night to stand up against hatred and agitation.
And so this work has become a truly German Requiem: a commemoration, but also a warning – especially in our so ambivalent times, when the unconvincibles once again rise, blind to the teachings of what happened.
News 42 – January 2020
This special Beethoven Year begins for me in Beethoven's birthplace Bonn with the German Premiere of my Lufttrio for three flutes distributed around the audience. My longtime friend and RHPP experienced flutist Michael Faust will play the short piece together with his colleagues Max Streicher and Sergio Mariani on February 2nd at 4pm (!) at the Woelfl House in Bonn.
This year, among other commitments, I am invited to the festival June in Buffalo, USA, as a Senior Composer, and after many years I will finally return to Japan for a World Premiere in Tokyo.
News 41 – October 2019
This time, I’ll have to add a performance: Roberto Fabbriciani had his students Isabelle Raphaelis, Artur Rodrigues and Guido Pratesi play the premiere of my piece Lufttrio for 3 flutes distributed in space at the summer courses in San Marino on August, 7.
In the last week two recordings of mine were released: at NEOS, my conducting of the premiere of Nikolaus Brass' composition similar sounds for orchestra with the SWR Radio-Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart and my own piano composition Kessel (a contribution to Susanne Kessel's impressive project of 250 pieces for Beethoven) for download at Bandcamp.
Two days later is a day of premieres! In Riga (Latvia), Irvine Arditti will play the premiere of my solo airhui, and in Sondershausen (Thuringia), a work for solo violin and youth ensemble will be premiered at the same time: Marchesi III, with Egidius Streiff (vl) and the Ensemble der Länder, conducted by Romeo Wecks.
News 40 – July 2019
On July 28, Michael Faust will play my two short flute pieces Faust and Holtmann for the first time in Italy, in Castello Gargonza in Tuscany. The concert will be the high- and endpoint of Gargonza Arts Festival I – an initiative of Michael Faust, whom I supported from the beginning as a music curator (with Heinz Holliger and Peter Eötvös, now also with Philippe Manoury) to enable young talents to network closely with the other arts for a few months in the inspiring landscape of Tuscany.
Perhaps some of you might be interested to support this valuable scholarship project. Next year, a young Iraqi refugee artist will be invited as an additional scholar.
On September 9, the Shô player Mayumi Miyata returns to Cologne after a long time. At the Japanese Cultural Institute, she will play my senko-hana-bi, written for her in 1997.
On June 3, the works nominated for the Mario Merz Prize were performed in Turin by the Ensemble De sono futura conducted by Willy Merz. In October, a jury of experts will decide on the prize on the basis of the recordings of the concert, with the vote of the audience counting as one vote. Until October 6 it will be possible to listen to the concert recording and cast your vote on the Mario Merz Prize website. I would be pleased about active participation.
News 39 – Mai 2019
The performance of my string quartet strings at the Musiktage in Badenweiler, announced in my last newsletter, was a stroke of luck: Béla Quartet and Experimental Studio of the SWR were, as usual, outstanding, in addition, room acoustics were very beneficial for the spatial sound and in soprano Julia Wischniewski, the ideal voice for the piece was found, celebrated by audience and press ("astral... heavenly beautiful").
The fact that so much top-class press was present is due to the organizer of the Music Days, Lotte Thaler – and the unanimous assessment in the reviews speaks for itself:
"Pizzicati sound away, into the universe. Really delicate, moving." (Alexander Dick, Badische Zeitung 6.5.2019)
"In fact, a literally unheard-of experience." (Blog Peter Hagmann)
"The four strings were spread out in space, their instruments wired to transducers, emanating thin layers of tone threads that condense, twist and interlock until a kind of spider's web wraps around the audience." (Eleonore Büning, NZZ, 10.5.2019)
"The music drifts away into supernatural heights." (Jesper Klein, FAZ 9.5.2019)
At the beginning of June, something special is coming up: my cycle Wunderblock was nominated for the Mario-Merz-Prize and will be performed on June 3rd in Torino by the Ensemble De Sono Futura under the direction of Willy Merz, together with works of other finalists.
The special feature is that, in addition to a jury of experts, the audience can also take part in the Merz Prize selection, not only in the concert hall by ballot, but also online at www.mariomerzprize.org. Of course, I hope for numerous votes from my friends…(concert begins at 8:34 pm)
…And the next morning, I’ll have to get up early to travel via Munich to Würzburg, where I will premiere the composition Befreiung durch Hören by Peter Michael Hamel on the same day (June, 4). Hamel will be our soloist and recite the text from the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
News 38 – April 2019
My journey to Israel in March was a fascinating experience; I am happy to have learned more about this interesting country and the people there. The five days at the University of Haifa are a treasure to me, the three lectures I gave (sound space time Music of Robert HP Platz; Æsthetics: where does the sound come from and Performance/Interpretation of Contemporary Music) led to productive discussions and are still now echoing in our correspondence.
And my short visits to Tel Aviv and in particular to Jerusalem will stay on my mind for a long time.
In April, Irvine Arditti was our guest at the Hochschule für Musik in Würzburg. Irvine played a concert and gave a master class. In concert, he played my 40-years-old Maro in such an mature, dense and intensive interpretation that we are now considering a new recording of the piece.
In the first days of May, strings, my string quartet with electronics and soprano, will be performed at the festival in Badenweiler, in the same program constellation that was so successful at the Wold Premiere two years ago at the Beethovenfest Bonn (Janácek – Platz – Beethoven). As in Bonn, Béla-Quartet will play, with the Experimentalstudio SWR Freiburg for the electronics. Soprano will be Julia Wischniewski. SWR will record the concert and broadcast it on SWR2 on October 9, 2019.
News 37 – March 2019
On March 3, it was 10 years, since the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne collapsed, killing two persons and devastating uncountable papers, among them my sketch-books, manuscript scores, correspondences…
Some of it was identified, restored. Yet, it will take another 30 years to have a complete account of what is still there. This is to the memory of the two persons who will not have the possibility to hope, who will not have this future.
The first week in February, I spent at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna as a member of the jury in Mauricio-Kagel-Competition. In the final concert of those exiting days, Clara Murnig played a wonderful Austrian premiere of my piano piece Kessel.
Right after that, I spent a week at UCSB in Santa Barbara, California, together with my composition class and the Ensemble for Contemporary Music of HfM Würzburg. Apart from works by composers of the two composition classes, I also conducted a work by Clarence Barlow, and the soloists Elisa Ferrati (fl) and Sebastian Langer (clar) played the American premiere of my senko hana bi.
Upon invitation by Yuval Shaked, I am now at the University of Haifa in Israel for a MasterClass, with lectures, seminars, teaching composition. I’ll have lots to tell…
News 36 – December 2018 / January 2019
For some time, you have not heard from me: the new regulations for data security in Europe do need some attention, and my composing had priority. Anyway - I do not take these things too lightly, and I assure you that my internet site does not have any commercial function and that therefore these news to my friends are nothing but what they are called: news to my friends. The file with e-mail addresses is on my personal computer, to which only I myself have access. It is sent to Jan Ivar Œyulvstad (Naviolab) in an updated version every time that he sends out the news for me. He erases the file directly after sending the news out. Apart from the names and e-mail addresses, no other data are in the file. On my internet site, you have easy access to a button in case you want to stop receiving my mails.
Up to now, these news were strictly reserved to announcing world premieres and first performances of my pieces. In this way, my recording of Debussy/Abrahamsen with Bamberger Symphoniker and my (late) conducting debut at Oper Köln (Schnittstellen I) remained unmentioned – to mention only two important events of this now ending year. In the future, these news will widen up a bit.
I will start the new year with the world premiere of a new orchestral piece: on January 12, 2019, Bas Wiegers will conduct Anderswo: Wand (WDR Sinfonieorchester, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal, Funkhaus Köln). The piece was written upon a comission from WDR (Harry Vogt) and SR (Benedikt Fohr). The performance will be transmitted live on WDR3. The Saarbrücken performance is planned for May 29, 2020. Find here my short text about this piece.
News 35 – May 2018
In these days, 17 years after disbanding the ensemble, the long awaited CD with Klarenz Barlow’s brillant computer/language-adventure Im Januar am Nil (1981-84) will be published by World Edition. I conducted the recording with Ensemble Köln in 1988.
On May 5, Ensemble Parallax will play the first performance in the US of my piece for string trio and optinal flute in the distance, Broken Book Skizze (1999). The concert will be directed by Peyman Farzinpour.
News 34 – March 2018
After two intensiv days of work at Ircam (Paris), optimizing the software of Branenwelten 6, I am now looking forward to a very special performance: Clara Murnig, piano (together with Maurice Oeser, who had perfectly run the electronic part of strings in the first performance last September), will play for the first time a complete rendering of Unter Segel Branenwelten 6 hören, a pianistic landscape of 45’ including the three susequent piano pieces number 5, 6 and 7.
The concert (9:00 pm) will be part of Piano-Night (from 7:30 pm) in the chamber music hall of Steingraeber, the piano manufacture in Bayreuth (Friedrichstrasse 2).
Clara will play on the "Transducer Grand-Piano", a Midi-instrument, enhanced according to my suggestions by built-in transducers.
News 33 – November 2017
Following a concert in the new Milan domicil of MdI-Ensemble with the flute-&-clarinet-version of senko-hana-bi and dur moll, we keep rehearsing for a concert on November, 10 in the festival Trieste Prima with the Italian premiere of the entire cycle dur moll hören .
One week later, on November, 19, Jürgen Ruck will play the world premiere of my cappricio for guitar PoGo at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the museum.
News 32 – September 2017
For September, 23 Beethovenfest Bonn is hosting a program with the world premiere of my now 45’ long string quartet with soprano and electronics, strings. The piece was written upon a comission by Beethovenfest (Nike Wagner), funded by Kunststiftung NRW (Hajo Wagner). For the text, I used two poems that Berlin author Alban Herbst gave to me for this purpose.
Béla-Quartet (Lyon) will perform the premiere with Eva Suskova (soprano) and Maurice Oeser & Simon Spillner (Experimentalstudio des SWR).
The piano manufacture Steingraeber has built a Midi Grandpiano with fixed transducers, following my indications, and this wonderful instrument will now be on stage for the Italian premiere of my piano works Unter Segel Branenwelten 6 at the world’s largest instrumental fair Cremona Mondo Musica on September, 29.
Clara Murnig, meanwhile an expert of my piano works, will play the pieces together with Maurice Oeser, who will be in charge of the live-electronics.
News 31 – May 2017
On April 6, Kim van den Brempt played the Belgian premiere of hören for piano and electronics at the Espace Senghor in Brussels. The Centre Henri Pousseur (Liège) took care of the technical part (Gilles Doneux).
On June 1st, the same musicians will play the first performance in the Netherlands in Maastricht.
Branenwelten 3 (oboe, clarinet & bassoon) had it’s first performance in Croatia in the frame of the Zagreb Biennale on April 29, with the Zagreb Woodwind Trio (Zarko Perisic).
And a very special premiere is coming up for May 20 in Stuttgart: Clara Murnig (piano) and Robert Hofmann (electronics) will play Branenwelten 6 for the first time on a Midi-Grand-Piano especially built according to my suggestions and needs for this work by Steingraeber piano-manufacturers.
The technicians of Steingraeber checked and improved the positions of transducers – and built them in for good, so that this Midi-Grand-Piano is the ideal instrument for (not only) my work.
Now it really exists: the piano of my dreams – and electronics may now go new ways altogether: no need anymore for a separation of instrument and electronics. The natural instrumental sound and electronics become ONE!
News 30 – February 2017
Since my last news, the German Composers Union (DKV) appointed me as a member of curatorium of the newly founded Musikfonds.
On February 22, SWR will broadcast (SWR2, 8:03 pm) a two hour long Werkgespräch between Lotte Thaler and me as conductor of Gustav Mahler’s Adagio from his 10th Symphony. Using my own recording with the German Radio-Philharmonic (Saarbrücken, October 2014), we dicuss the piece, its contemporary context and its very special conditions of composition – which leads even to so far as to unknown details…
News also from the composer Robert HP Platz: Kim van den Brempt will play the first Belgian performance of my 7th piano piece hören – tombeau de Boulez, on April, 6 in the Espace Senghor, at Bruxelles. The technique will be run by Jean-Marc Sullon (Centre Henri Pousseur, Liège), with whom I have realised the electronic part last year.
On November 2, Ex Novo-Ensemble will play the first Italian performance of dur moll in the Sigmar-Polke-show in Palazzo Grassi in Venezia. dur has already been first performed two days after the Cologne world premiere at Teatro La Fenice, now moll and the simultaneous performance of both pieces inspired by Polke will follow: dur moll.
On November 10, Clara Murnig (piano) and Robert Hofmann (electronics) will play the first performance of the non-interactive (thus playable on a normal non-midi-piano) version of Branenwelten 6 during the Tage zeitgenössischer Klaviermusik at the Arnold-Schönberg-Center (Musikuniversität, Vienna). Also for the first time, the initially intended continuum of Unter Segel and Branenwelten 6 will be heard: the first note of the latter is the last note of the first piece.
Finally, on November 18, E-MEX Ensemble will play a concert in the Japanese Cultural Center in Cologne, including the World Premieres of hören (piano & electronics) and the simultaneous version oft he entire cycle dur moll hören.
On the 2nd of July, the second volume of 250 pieces for Beethoven, a project of Bonn-based pianist Susanne Kessel, will appear in Edition Musica Ferrum, including my contribution Kessel. After being premiered on February 25, the piece was again on a program in Bonn on May 1st, and will be played on July 2nd. After the publication in this collection, a separate edition will appear as usual with Ricordi.
On the 3rd of July, Ensemble E-MEX will play selected chamber music works of mine in a concert dedicated to my upcoming 65th birthday. The concert will take place in Galerie Holtmann, and two works, inspired by serigraphies with the same titles by painter Sigmar Polke, will be premiered: dur (for flute and clarinet) and moll (for string trio). For this occasion, both works by Polke will be presented in the gallery.
Shortly after, dur will receive it's first performance in Italy (July 6, 2016), in Venice at La Fenice, played by members of Ex Novo Ensemble.
News 26 – January 2016
My musical new year will start with another stay at Ircam in Paris, to realise a more simple, non-interactive (no midi-instrument necessary) version of Branenwelten 6 for piano and live electronics. Clara Murnig will play the World premiere during the Mauricio-Kagel composing competition in Vienna on February, 12 (University of Music, Vienna).
This time, my stay at Ircam will be a special one, so short after the death of Pierre Boulez who had founded this magnificent institution. Boulez and I knew each other since 47 years... hardly possible to express how much I learned from him, how much I owe him. I bowe in respect for his life’s achivement.
One day later, the ensemble of the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA) will play a portrait concert with my works at the Studio for New Music in Würzburg, including the (interactive) original version of Branenwelten 6 (Neus Estarella Calderón, piano; Augustin Müller (Ircam electronics), played on a fantastic midi-instrument, especially prepared and placed to our disposal for this piece by the piano-manufacture Steingraeber, and the cycle Wunderblock.
This piece will have it’s French premiere (complete version) in Paris on January, 31 with Ensemble L’Instant Donné.
And finally, the encyclopedia Komponisten der Gegenwart (KdG) recently published Egbert Hiller’s excellent entirely new, enriched and updated article (begun by Henning Eisenlohr) about me.
News 26 – December 2015
Each year in December, Villa Massimo organizes a concert in Rome’s „Auditorio“. After my stay as a guest of honour in summer 2014, Ensemble Modern played, in December 2014, in a program with works of the awardees, of Johann Sebastian Bach, Salvatore Sciarrino, and my cycle Wunderblock.
One year later now, a CD documents last year’s concert, and so the CD with Ensemble Modern playing the integral version of Wunderblock is now available from Villa Massimo (Allegra Giorgolo, Responsabile Stampa e Comunicazione, giorgolo @ villamassimo.de).
Apart from that, there were some first performances recently:
Naoyuki Manabe played the Chinese first performance of senko-hana-bi on September, 18 in the Shanghai Sheng Festival.
This piece also had its first French performance in Aubervilliers on December, 3 (Clara Parolini, guitar, and Remmy Cannedo, IRCAM electronics).
News 25 – July 2015
Last year, in October, Heinz Holliger was the soloist of the world premiere of my oboe concerto Blau See, which I conducted with the German Radio Philharmonic Saarbrücken/Kaiserslautern in a studio-concert of the radio SR.
For the occasion, I also wrote an encore for Holliger, into which I later integrated the central duo from Blau See for oboe and a distant English Horn.
On July 29, Heinz Holliger will play the world premiere of this augmented encore: See, together with Marie-Lise Schüpbach (EH) in a concert of the festival Sommerliche Tage in Hitzacker.
News 24 – February 2015
This February, there will be two interesting first performances of my works in the USA: On February 16, Klarenz Barlow and the University of California in Santa Barbara will host the first performance in the US of my piano-piece with Live Electronics Branenwelten 6. Pianist will be Cristina Valdes, technical assistance: Lorenz Schwarz.
The artists will present the same program on February 18 at Stanford University, on invitation by the Doyen of Computermusic, John Chowning.
Julia Tai will conduct the Seattle Modern Orchestra on February 28 with the first US performance Wunderblock, the entire cycle as well as seperate movements (next for alto flute solo and Kiefer for bass clarinet and percussion). Pedagogical events prior to the concert will also feature Sekundenstücke from Wunderblock.
The February 28 concert can be found for one week on the internet-site of the ensemble.
Goethe-Institut sponsors the voyage to California and Seattle.
News 23 – October 2014
On September 13, my cycle for organ Stunden:Buch was premiered in the Cologne Cathedral. Unfortunately, the final movement for choir, partially written on texts by Pope Francis, had to be cancelled.
The second performance will therefore turn into the First performance of the entire cycle including the choir. On November 2 at 4pm, Winfried Bönig (organ) and the Choirs of the cathedrals in Würzburg (Ch. Schmidt) and Cologne (E. Metternich) will perform the cycle in the Würzburg Cathedral.
Pfau-Verlag has published all my texts, from 1972 until 2014: ...weil die Welt und wir mit ihr so sind • Texte zur Musik 1972-2014. The editors are Stefan Fricke and Hella Melkert. The volume (ISBN 978-3-89727-509-6) has 350 pages and costs 35,- €.
News 22 – October 2014
The concert will be broadcast live (8pm ECT) by SR2 KulturRadio, a podcast is available for seven days after the concert on the internet site of Saarländischer Rundfunk.
News 21 – August 2014
This month, a CD will be published by Edition Zeitklang with the movement of my organ cycle Stunden:Buch that I had written first in 1999. The organist is Berhard Haas, who also played the first performance of the piece in 2001.
Since then, the piece has grown to an entire cycle of approx. 50’, with an epilogue for double choir. For this epilogue, I have composed two alternative scores: a highly dramatic piece for a professional choir upon texts from the Apocalypse of St. John (advice in text research: Mons. Massimo Palombella) and a piece for two boy choirs that gradually dissolves the sound in the vast space of the cathedral. For the texts here, I made a collage of prayers and sermons (among others by Pope Francis).
This second piece was supposed to be premiered with the entire organ-cycle in the Cologne Cathedral on September 13. Since the choir will sing in the formal introduction of Cologne’s new archbishop exactly one week later, the first performance might have to be postponed to a later date.
News 20 – January 2014
News 19 – December 2013
In fall, I started working at the Hochschule für Musik in Würzburg as professor for composition and conducting the ensemble for contemporary music. My first concert there (within the „Tage Neuer Musik" Würzburg, with works by Hans Werner Henze) on November 15 was recorded by Bayerischer Rundfunk.
Last summer, I worked on completing my cycle Stunden:Buch as guest of honour at Villa Massimo in Rome (world premiere: Cologne Cathedral, September 13, 2014).
There are, however, radio-stations who willingly cut back on their possibilities. Untouched by any reason or cultural competence, the director of SWR, Boudgoust, and his entourage have decided to dissolve one of the best orchestras of the world: SWR-Orchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg. A letter of protest by Michael Gielen, signed by 162 conductors was published by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on November 13. The insane decision in the meanwhile was reconfirmed. Yet, we will not stop to call incompetence and cultural neglect by their names.
News 18 – June 2013
Among other topics, Irvine Arditti is writing about Bowing, Harmonics, Tablature notation and Rhythm. Apart from concept and translations, I joined in with a chapter about Basics, one about "Violin and Electronics", plus fingering charts for both Violin and Viola.
At the end of the last year, I finished the last missing piece of my cycleBranenwelten, which now consists of 6 scores:
Branenwelten 1 for strings
Branenwelten 2 for flute solo
Branenwelten 3 for oboe, clarinet, bassoon
Branenwelten 4 for trumpet, horn, trombone
Branenwelten 5 for percussion with live electronics (Centre Henri Pousseur, Liège)
Branenwelten 6 for piano with live electronics (Ircam)
Both electronic pieces are without loudspeakers: the electronic sounds are coming from the instrument itself, in the case of the piano, the sound-board is itself transformed into the membrane of a loudspeaker.
The world premiere of this last piece, Branenwelten for percussion with live electronics is coming up on May, 1 in the Philharmonie in Cologne. The soloist is Johannes Fischer. In the same program, apart from pieces by Iannis Xenakis, I will conduct also the first simultaneous performance of Branenwelten 1, 5, 6, for piano and percussion (each with live electronics) and strings. I'll be conducting Ensemble Resonanz, the soloists are Nicolas Hodges (piano) and Johannes Fischer (percussion). Technical direction (Ircam) is signed by Augustin Muller.
Before that, I'll be in Paris, conducting the Orchestre du Conservatoire (Atelier de Composition, April, 4). On this occasion, I'll already work with Jean-Pierre Neuburger, the pianist of the French premiere of Branenwelten 6 (Ircam, June, 1).
An interview that I'll give on France Musique on March, 25 at about 21:40p.m. can be received world-wide in the net.
Just in time for the holiday season, a CD production with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the State Theatre of Cottbus under direction of Evan Christ has been issued, featuring 24 short works that were premiered during the last four years.
The idea to round up for four years each concert program of works from the past by a work from a living composer should bear fruit not only in Cottbus and its magnificent theatre.
On the second CD of the double-pack (published by TELOS, TLS 166), you will find my orchestra piece Blau, See I, premiered in September 2010.
A musically rich year is coming to it's end: it started for me with giving the final touches to Branenwelten 6for piano and live electronics at Ircam (Paris) and the premiere of this work in the ECLAT-Festival in Stuttgart. Further premieres included Epilog, an epilogue to my organ-cycle Stunden:Buchduring the Easter-Vigil in St Peter (Cologne), my third string-quartet strings (Echo VII) in the Romanic Night in St Maria im Kapitol (Cologne) and a smaller and shorter version of my open-air composition Brücke, played from the steeples of the Cathedral, Magnus- and Trinity-Churches in Worms (Germany).
Following my piano-piece, I received an invitation from Ircam to do research on transposing the principles applied in the piano piece (electronic music without loud-speakers) to the guitar.
In between my stays in Paris, I travelled to Mexico (supported by Goethe-Institut) for the Mexican premiere of Branenwelten 6 (Festival Visiones Sonoras, Morelia) and a lecture on the Conlon-Nancarrow Chair of the National Conservatory in Mexico City.
Until Christmas, I'll be working in the studio of Centre Henri Pousseur in Liège (Belgium) on the last missing link in the cycle: Branenwelten 5 for percussion and electronics, to be premiered by Johannes Fischer in Cologne next May.
The Arditti String Quartet will play the world premiere of my third string quartet strings (Echo VII) on July 6, 2012. The concert will take place in the basilica St. Maria im Kapitol in Cologne as part of the "Romanische Nacht" (Roman Night). It starts at 20:00 and will be broadcast live on WDR3.
On July 10, the Label NEOS will release the cd Toshio Hosokawa: Solo Concertos Vol. 2 (Neos 11208) with recordings I conducted with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and the soloists Jeroen Berwaerts (trumpet), Olivier Dartevelle (clarinet) and Rohan de Saram (cello).
On July 2 at 23:03, SWR2 JetztMusik will broadcast a feature by Egbert Hiller about the genesis of my Branenwelten 6 for piano and live electronics (Ircam), premiered on February 12, 2012 in Stuttgart (Festival Eclat).
In the net, you can find a nice video of my composition Leere Mitte, with Garth Knox and the Centre Henri Pousseur (Liège), recorded at the Festival Ars Musica in Brussels (https://vimeo.com/43455485).
On February 12 (3:30 pm), Nicolas Hodges will premiere a new part of my cycle Branenwelten in the festival Eclat (SWR, Stuttgart).
Branenwelten 6 is for piano and live electronics. This piece does something totally new: instead of confronting the piano with a seperate sound-world coming from loud-speakers somewhere in the hall, the sound-board of the piano is transformed into the membrane like in a loud-speaker and all the sounds will be coming from the piano itself. Moreover, it is not only the sound oft he piano that will be thus enriched but also the sensitivity of the pianist as, for the first time ever, an interactive connection between pianist and electronics will be possible. The pianist's attack will interact with the sounds, electronics are finally becoming a musical instrument.
The work was made possible by a commission from Ircam (Paris), SWR (Stuttgart) and CMMAS (Morelia, Mexico). Technical assistance came from Robin Meier (Ircam). After the premiere, my work-diary will be published on my internet site.
The author Egbert Hiller has accompanied the work's development. His report will be broadcast on SWR on April 9, 2012 in the frame of SWR Jetztmusik at 11:03 pm. The concert recording will be broadcast by SWR on April 25 at 11:03 pm. Hiller is also the author of a more general portrait for BR Klassik, to be broadcast on May 5 at 10:05 pm in the frame of "Horizonte".
On December 10, SWR2 will broadcast a conversation with Lotte Thaler about my works and my life as a composer and conductor (Treffpunkt Klassik Extra, 10:30-12:00 a.m.), complemented by recordings of works of mine and works of other composers under my direction.
On January, 27 my short study Carillon will have its world premiere in Maastricht, played by the carillon of the Sint Servaas-Basilika. This new composition and the performance of a 6-channel version of my composition Leykams Turm as an installation in the Maastricht city center are part of a meta composition for all church bells and carillons in Maastricht, a project of the students of my Maastricht composition class. Taking part are among others the carillons of the Stadhuis and of Sint Servaas, the world’s largest transportable carillon will play on the Vrijthof, and about 1000 children will form the largest ever orchestra of hand bell players (27.1.2012, 11:30-12:00 a.m.).
Two concerts with the Ensemble Resonanzare coming up: on November, 5 at the Tonhalle Düsseldorf (Robert-Schumann-Saal) with the world premiere of Branenwelten 1+2 for flute (Carin Levine) and string orchestra, a world premiere by Nikolaus Brass as well as works by Giacinto Scelsi and Enno Poppe, and on December, 3 at the Kampnagel-Fabrik in Hamburg with the same pieces by Brass and Platz and the world premiere of Nader Mashayekhi's Irdische Offenbarung for soprano, improvising voice, brass, percussion and string orchestra.
This fall, I made some totally new musical experiences. In a project of Goethe Institute, Young Composers in Southeast Asia, I conducted the Ensemble Mosaik (Berlin) and the gamelan ensemble Kyai Fatahillah (Bandung) in concerts in Bandung, Yogjakarta and Jakarta. In the first concert in Bandung, a complete version of my ensemble cycle Wunderblock wason the programme.
Directly after my return from Indonesia, Insel Hombroich celebrated my 60th birthday with a concert called Kanreki (Robert HP Platz and Japan). On this occasion, I conducted next Sekundenstücke (pieces I & III) from Wunderblock for the first time in this combination (Ensemble MdI, Milan).
With the presence of the shô player Manabe Naoyuki, we had the rare pleasure to hear senko-hana-bi in the original version for shô and the spacialized version of the piece for flute and clarinette.
”Shut up and do it" is the title of a new CD issued recently by cpo with works by several composers, inspired by Arno Schmidt, and including my Boutaden on texts by Schmidt. The CD is based on a concert that took place in Bremen in 2007 and in which 3 of my Boutaden, commissioned by the Arno-Schmidt-Foundation, were premiered by Denis Lakey (counter-tenor) and Anne Horstmann (flute(s)).
In November 2010, I spent two weeks as a guest of UCSB in Santa Barbara, teaching, preparing a concert with my works and other events, including a dinner that was conceived following the form-scheme of my short piece Luftbratsche for viola solo, premiered during the dinner by Jacob Adams.
One more trip to California is scheduled for February 2011, when Nicholas Isherwood will perform the premiere of the solo version of Lilith for baritone and computer sounds at the Stanford University. He will sing the piece on a tour in Eugene (Oregon) on April 5, in Brussels on May 23, in Paris on September 24 and in Rome within the same week.
Musically, I started the year 2011 at IRCAM in Paris with the first step of the realisation of Branenwelten 6 for piano and live electronics, a co-commission of IRCAM with Eclat (Stuttgart) and CMMAS (Morelia, Mexico).
In October 2010 NEOS published a box with 6 CDs: Darmstadt Aural Documents, composers conducting their own works. It contains among others live-recordings of my teachers Wolfgang Fortner and Karlheinz Stockhausen as well as one of my own pieces: from fear of thunder, dreams... (1990 recording, RHPP conducting Ensemble Köln, NEOS 11060).
On September 17 and 19, 2010 Evan Christ will conduct the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cottbus in the world premiere of the new and short orchestral piece Blau, See at the Staatstheater Cottbus.
Orchestral miniatures (Blau) of tiny musical gestures, hard-edged at first, then more and more dissolved to form a musical flux.
Fragmentary scenes, echoes of things past and announcements of the coming.
Deepening space, an english horn back-stage (See) as a distant call, announcement, promise.
Blau, See was written this year on commission of the Philharmonic Orchestra Cottbus.
On September 21, 2010 Wolfgang Korb has presented a radio portrait of my music in Mouvement (21:00-22:30 (MEZ) SR 2 KulturRadio, available on web radio: www.sr2.de).
A remark about a concert without a premiere: on September 30, 2010 (19:00), the Italian pianist Alfonso Alberti played my first piano piece trail (1981) in the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Cologne.
Alberti, an expert of my piano-music who already played several of my pieces in the Italian Internet-TV, asked questions because of mistakes in the printed score of the piece. These questions were difficult to answer since, as you all remember, all of my manuscripts and sketches up to 2008/9 were lost in the collapse of the Historical Archives of the City of Cologne. Nothing has been found or identified so far.
But years ago, I had made a photocopy of the manuscript for the Austrian pianist Ursula Kneihs. Ursula offered to make copies of her copy, which will enable us to put the sketches and some pages of the manuscript online soon, thus making it available to everybody.
I want to ask all friends to whom I ever gave manuscripts or copies of works, to send them to me if possible as a pdf-file, to insert them on my site for open public use.
Two first performances: on May 12, 2010 I’ll be conducting the full version of Wunderblock (next for alto flute solo, Kiefer for bass clarinet and percussion, Sekundenstücke for string trio) in the Teatro dal Verme (Milan) in the Koiné-Festival (commission of Pomeriggi Musicali, Ivan Fedele). The Milan-based MdI-Ensemble will be playing, I'll be conducting.
The next first performance will take place on June 15, 2010 in the Cologne cathedral: Prof. Winfried Bönig will open the 50. (!) season of the famed Orgelfeierstunden with Stunden:Buch 2.
Meanwhile, the author Alban Nikolai Herbst has started a new blog with music-suggestions in the net with an enthousiastic comment on the Hosokawa-CD that appeared last fall.
In December 2009 my Skizzentagebuch zu TOP was published by Pfau-Verlag, the editor is Stefan Fricke. I wrote this diary in 2000 until 2007 as a comment to my works, but more and more it turned into a freely written personal diary.
In January 2010 I realized a concert-project with mexican music with Ensemble Aventure. Concerts are scheduled at Elisabeth-Schneider-Stiftung Freiburg (Jan 25, 2010) and in Tonhalle Düsseldorf (Jan 27, 2010).
In January as well I have conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg for a recording of a second Hosokawa-CD (NEOS). Among the soloists was Rohan de Saram. The first CD of the series with works of Toshio Hosokawa under my direction meanwhile was appointed best CD of the year 2009 by Res Musica.
Just in time I finished the score of Branenwelten 1-4, a commission of Robert-Schumann-Hochschule Düsseldorf for a seminar about new instrumental techniques, to be premiered with members of Musikfabrik.
Branenwelten is a cycle of four independent pieces that were nevertheless written to be also played simultaneosly:
Branenwelten 1 Strings
Branenwelten 2 Flute solo
Branenwelten 3 Trio d'anches (Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon)
Branenwelten 4 Brass-Trio (Trumpet, Horn, Trombone)
The first performance was played on February 4, 2010 in the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule Düsseldorf. Cordula Schnorr (flute) will be the soloist, the orchestra of the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule will play under the direction of Rüdiger Bohn.
Composing principles in music and gourmet cooking were the subject of a talk between star cook Heinz Wehmann, the chef of Landhaus Scherrer in Hamburg, and myself on September 4 in Winsen. During the talk, I sponaneously made a suggestion for a menu and composed a short piece for flute (Luftflöte), following the same priciples; Astrid Schmeling assisted with her flute. In the concert on the same night, Ensemble L’ART POUR L’ART played Danach 1 + 2 for flute and (distant) piano and next and Kiefer from the cycle Wunderblock.
The duo for harp and viola from my radio-composition Anderswo was played for the first time in concert on September 16 in Schloß Jever (Niedersächsische Musiktage). The musicians are Florence Sitruk and Hartmut Rohde.
On September 30 and October 1, 2009 the Sinfonieorchester Aachen has played the world premiere of bulk for alto flute and orchestra. The performance also included the third of my love-songs (Nacht) as well as the first movement of my 5th piano piece Unter Segel, giving thus an impression of the major network those pieces are conceived in. Nacht Unter Segel bulk was conducted by Matthias Foremny, the soloists were Jean-Luc Menet (alto flute), Leila Pfister (alto), and Gabor Kali (piano).
A matinee about the collapse of the Historical Archives of the City of Cologne took place on October 11 in the Schauspielhaus Köln. There have been no news yet about the whereabouts or state of my archives. Yet, in June, I could pay a visit to the centre, where found items are collected, and had to state that there is very little hope for any of my manuscripts.
Two of my works were premiered in the festival Ensemblia in Mönchengladbach.
The string quartet of the Ensemble Aventure (Friedemann Treiber and Felix Treiber, vl, Jessica Rona, vla, and Beverley Ellis, vc) played strings (Echo VII) (3rd string quartet) on May 22 at 9:00 pm in Möchengladbach’s Water Tower, Viersener Straße (next performance: May 24, Freiburg/Breisgau).
Sekundenstücke for string trio (Wunderblock III) was played by members of the orchestra Niederrheinische Symphoniker on May 24 at 4:00 pm in the Deutsche Bank Mönchengladbach (Chisato Yamamoto, vl, Richard Weitz, vla and Raffaele Franchini, vc).
A new CD with 3 instrumental concertos by Toshio Hosokawa was published on June 1st 2009 by the label NEOS. Robert HP Platz conducts Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, SWR-Orchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg and NDR Radiophilharmonie. The soloists are Irvine Arditti (vl), Gunhild Ott (fl) and Bernhard Wambach (pno).
The recently published book Kammerton der Gegenwart (edited by Harry Vogt and Frank Hilberg) celebrates 40 years of Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik. I have contributed a small gloss and am represented on one of the two accompanying cds with a 1982 recording of PhRYh for 8 strings and piano by Volker Heyn (Ensemble Köln, soloist: Kristi Becker).
On March 3rd, 2009 the historical archive of the city of Cologne collapsed, killing two people and taking with it what has since been called the 'memory of the city'. I had given my sketch-books, manuscripts and other material to the archives. In a letter, the City of Cologne states: 'Little can be said at this moment about the condition of the papers. This can only be done once everything has been recovered, sorted and categorized.'
After the world premieres of Kiefer in Cologne on August 23, 2008 (first radio transmission on December 8, 8:05pm, WDR3) and Kiefer Sekundenstücke (November, 9 in Berlin), the premiere of the last score of the new cycle Wunderblock is coming up. Harrie Starreveld (Nieuw Ensemble, Amsterdam) will play next for solo alto flute in a live broadcast concert of WDR3 in Cologne on December, 13 (the concert will also be transmitted via internet). The piece was written as an hommage to Elliott Carter and will be played together with other pieces dedicated to Carter by György Kurtag and Heinz Holliger to celebrate Carter’s 100th birthday.
Robert HP Platz has conducted the Parisian Ensemble Alternance on occasion of a concert to celebrate Olivier Messiaen's 100th anniversary on December 10, 2008 at Düsseldorf (Robert Schumann-Saal). The programme combined Messiaen's music with pieces by his pupils Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail, a composition by Jonathan Harvey and one by Elliott Carter, to whom the concert was also dedicated in order to celebrate his 100th birthday – he was born just one day after Messiaen. Robert HP Platz has commented the pieces during the concert. In the second part of the concert the Gundecha-Brothers played Indian Drhupad Music.
The Symphonic Orchestra of the city of Aachena has given me the commission for a work for flute and orchestra entitled bulk . In the world premiere at the beginning of the season 2009/2010, Jean-Luc Menet will play the solo part, the conductor will be Marcus Bosch, the orchestra's musical director.
Another commision for a piece for chamber orchestra, Branenwelten, comes from the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule of Düsseldorf. It is to be premiered in the beginning of 2010 by students under the direction of Prof. Rüdiger Bohn as the grand finale of a work-shop hold by members of the ensemble Musikfabrik.
On August, 23 a new piece had its world premiere in Cologne: Kiefer, for bass clarinet and percussion (soloists: Carl Rosman und Thomas Meixner, Musikfabrik) is the first part of the cycle Wunderblock, consisting of three scores. The work had been intended as a tribute to Karlheinz Stockhausen’s 80. birthday. Since Stockhausen passed away last December, Kiefer turned into a musical tombeau.
Further premieres of the Wunderblock-cycle are planned for November, 9 (Berlin: Kiefer Sekundenstücke for string trio; Ensemble Mosaik) and December, 13 (Köln, WDR: next for alto flute, soloist: Harrie Starreveld), 2008, and in the festival 'Ensemblia' in may 2009 (Mönchengladbach: Sekundenstücke for string trio).
The world premiere of Platz' third string-quartet strings (Echo VII), commissioned by Ensemblia, will be premiered in the same festival period.
From February 12-16, 2007 my piano works were in the focus of the 15. Wiener Tage der Zeitgenössischen Klaviermusik. The week's topic were Kinderszenen? Teaching Composing and Platz’ works for the piano.
Ursula Kneihs, in charge of the courses, has published a meticulously edited documentation of the seminars and concerts on 19 DVDs. The box exists only in a few copies and is available at the Institut Ludwig van Beethoven der Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien (www.wienertage.at / email@example.com) and at the Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln (www.stadt-koeln.de/historischesarchiv/) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I have already given several interviews focussing on the recently published CD with his works for the piano (Robert HP Platz: Klavierstücke (NEOS 10715), registrated by the DLF, with the pianist Rolf Hind). The CD was presented in a conversation with Jean-Pierre Derrien for France Musique on September 22, 2008 at 22pm in the frame of 'Le Bel Aujourd'hui'. A conversation with Lotte Thaler can be heard on SWR 2 on October 24 at 15.05 in the frame of 'Musik Aktuell', and a third interview was recorded with Margarethe Zander for the RBB's series 'Musik der Gegenwart' on November 12, from 21-22pm.
In June 2008 I have been in Mexico for three weeks on invitation of the Conservatorio de las Rosas (German Romero), three weeks rich with new musical, social, culinary, and geographic experiences... I usually reflect such residences by keeping a diary – my Mexican weeks are thus now documented on my homepage.