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Wolfgang von Schweinitz
composer, born in Hamburg (Germany) in 1953
After some early compositional attempts since 1960, Wolfgang von Schweinitz studied in 1968-76 with Esther Ballou at the American University in Washington, D.C., with Ernst Gernot Klussmann and György Ligeti at the music academy in Hamburg, and with John Chowning at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in California.
Returning from a trip through Mexico and Guatemala, he lived in Munich, Rome, and Berlin, in 1981-1993 in rural isolation in North Germany, and in 1993-2007 in Berlin again. In 1980 he was invited to lecture at the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt. 1994-1996 he worked as a guest professor for composition at the music academy in Weimar. Currently he is living in Southern California, on the western edge of the Mojave Desert, thirty miles north of CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), where he was invited to assume James Tenney’s teaching position in 2007.
After the Mozart-Variations (1976) and a piano concerto, he composed chamber music for strings and winds as well as a piano trio (Franz & Morton), a number of songs (Die Brücke; Papiersterne; O-Ton „Automne“ – Linguistikherbst), a concert-mass, a large-scale piece for music theater (PATMOS, after the Apocalypse of John) and a symphonic cycle for cello and orchestra (wir aber singen). Since 1997 some digital live-electronics are occasionally incorporated in his works, which are concerned with developing new microtonal ensemble playing techniques based on non-tempered just intonation (Helmholtz-Funk/Alefbet; JUZ, ein Jodelschrei; KLANG auf Schön Berg La Monte Young; des Himmels Höhe glänzet; DIE KANTATE oder, Gottes Augenstern bist du, a radio play by and with Friederike Mayröcker; Plainsound-Symphony; Plainsound-Litanei; Plainsound Glissando Modulation; Plainsound Brass Trio).