TOPAZ Issue 3 / 2002
Understanding of the Template
Template Foundation Dance Team
The Theatre of Japan
Living in times of change
Film Review
Interview with a composer
Handling uncertainty in crisis situation
A Mark of support to the people of America
Book presentation
New approaches to cancer treatment
Art and Design

An Interview with the composer Volkmar Studtrucker
A new and individual accent in contemporary music

Volkmar Studtrucker"The composer Volkmar Studtrucker, born in 1960 in Erlangen, Germany, is surprisingly dismissive of the "modern" music that has appeared over the last few decades. He radically breaks with the 'tradition' of ars nova, searching out his own path into a new-found tonality, harmony and euphony. There are a number of current composers who turn their backs on the avant-garde in order to enliven the music based on old values, but rarely does this happen so openly as with Volkmar Studtrucker."
Fritz Schleicher, Nuremberg Newspaper, 5.5.2000

TOPAZ: What does music mean to you and what purpose do you believe it serves?

Music can build a bridge to natural balances which are commonly neglected nowadays. In our often distressing times, it is generally not easy to find a healthy balance in our lives or a state of well-being. Music is able, as a conveyer of energy, to influence and tune us into enhancements not readily available. In past times, it was common to use singing as a method of tuning oneself into special feelings and states, such as at Christmas or when a mother sings a lullaby to her child. This is a wonderful art.

TOPAZ: The 20th century was a century of atonal music and avant-garde ideas; why are you now writing tonal/harmonic music, which is mostly out of fashion?

Many people ask me this same question. The previous generation of composers and musicians, particularly of electronic music, seem to have difficulty in appreciating harmonic music. I personally think differently. Since the Industrial Revolution, people have increasingly distanced themselves from their roots and in-built sensitivity, and often feel less part of the natural environment of the planet. We perceive ourselves more and more as individuals, and find our self-identity through our careers, wealth, and inter-confirmations. Perhaps the root of atonal music was a genuine attempt to break out of the confinement they felt.

As atonal music developed, the value we placed on harmonic music seemed to diminish. Atonal music developed rapidly and widely, and became surrounded by certain intellectual lines of thought, which to my mind made the 'nonsensical' appear sensible. This trend was also simultaneously happening across other fields of human expression, such as the visual arts.
To my mind this trend has caused people to move further away from their natural selves. I wanted to return to our tonal heritage, not to satisfy the intellect, but to "build bridges" out of tones, through which people might find themselves again.

As an example, one of my projects is to try to translate colour frequencies into tones and chords, and this has opened up new horizons and new concepts for me.

 TOPAZ: The "Morning Symphony" was your first great opus. It engenders oratorio-like feelings. What was your inspiration for this piece?

It came out of a passion and inspiration to explore a world and translate a world based on balanced harmony and a strong and growing relationship with nature. This is where its power is rooted.

TOPAZ: When did you first start composing?

I began around 1990. Previously I had been involved with jazz music. At the beginning of the nineties, I began working with a group of friends on a musical project involving colour frequencies. This was an attempt to translate colour into music and sound. It was this work that inspired me into composition.

TOPAZ: The Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Dr. Beckstein, was very impressed with the first performance of the "Morning Symphony". Do you have future concerts lined up?

There will be performances of the symphony next year in Austria, in Wolfsberg and in Feldkirchen on 8th and 9th June, which I will be conducting.

MorgensinfonieTOPAZ: How about new projects, new ideas?

For the last two years I've been working on a new symphony for orchestra and choir which involves five European languages: German, English, French, Spanish and Russian. I intend to finish this work by early 2002.

I will need to seek a sponsor, which is how I was able to perform the "Morning Symphony". I would want this "European Symphony" to have its first performance here in the castle of Nuremberg. It's a big project, involving a large orchestra and a choir that's capable of singing in five languages.

TOPAZ: We wish you all the best for this project!

CDs can be ordered via the Internet:

Interview by G. Oberrauter and C. Schenk

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