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Johannes Kalitzke

 b. 1959Photo: Johannes Kalitzke © Jörg Landsberg

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Music full of experience and integrative power

His choice of repertoire as well as his musical language are characterised by a desire to explore different regions, to open and connect them, but also to separate them from each other. For Johannes Kalitzke, electronics or theatre are no hermetic formulae. He seeks the connecting elements, the transition, the integrating forces. Thus even in his earlier small-scale works such as Trio infernale (1985), not only scenic elements but also real actions are made a part of his chamber music – not for their own sake, but in relation to the instrumental environment. Often electronic and real sounds are wrought into his orchestral scores in such a refined, sophisticated manner that a level of amalgamation is achieved where it is hardly possible to tell the two soundworlds apart.

To what level it is possible to approximate historic and contemporary worlds of sound is shown in Schuberts Traum (1999). Here, the way the composer deals with quotations is just as surprising as is his inward reflection of the Romantic master: Schuberts Traum is a work that uses a very personal text, namely a diary entry of Schubert. The language of sound in which both underlying notions and musical features are brought across is very modern, surprising the audience with its accessibility and intensity and bearing the marks of experience.

For Johannes Kalitzke, his double role as conductor and composer is an indispensable part of his life: ‘It is a situation which, after a time, turned out to be fundamental to my work, as both roles became mutually dependent; provided the one does not take time away from the other, doing either one by itself would not be satisfying. This is because the interaction between musical interpretation and writing music actually becomes dynamic in itself. You feel this as an extremely constructive force as doing one makes you want to do the other.’

Even if Kalitzke is not exclusively concerned with contemporary music, he is a much sought-after conductor within the contemporary music scene, having been invited to appear at the festivals at Salzburg, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Donaueschingen, Darmstadt, Witten, Graz, Strasbourg, Warsaw, and Venice, at the Berlin State Opera, with various international broadcasting orchestras, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, the Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester, North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, London Sinfonietta, Klangforum Wien, the Austrian Ensemble für Neue Musik, musikFabrik and Collegium Novum Zurich.

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