An Interview with the composer Volkmar Studtrucker
A new and individual accent in contemporary music
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
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
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
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
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.
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: www.volkmar-studtrucker.de
Interview by G. Oberrauter and C. Schenk