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Jan Müller-Wieland Turns 50

Jan Müller-Wieland, born on 30th March 1966 in Hamburg, at first studies composition with Friedhelm Döhl as well double bass at the Musikhochschule Lübeck. In 1988 he began external composition studies in Cologne and Rome with Hans Werner Henze, which would be influential for his later career, especially as regards his music theatrical works. Numerous stipends enabled him to profit from extended stays abroad. A freelance composer in Berlin beginning in 1993, Müller-Wieland became an instructor at the Munich Music Academy in 2006 and was then appointed Professor of Composition there in 2007. Only rarely do Müller-Wieland’s compositions dispense with the power of the word and the latent scenic vision. This is underlined by his extensive activities with the genre of the melodrama. His music is often marked by powerful, complex, frequently jazz-influenced rhythms. With unsentimental, expressive gestures, he articulates zest for living and ambiguous humour as well as phantasmagorias of destruction or concretions of evil.

Jan Müller-Wieland will be celebrating his 50th birthday on 30 March 2016. We met the composer in late 2014 in anticipation of his 50th birthday for an interview in the Sikorski Magazine 1/2015. Amongst other answers, he responded to the following question as follows:

“You belong to a generation of composers that formed its own musical language between the 20th and the 21st centuries. What, in your opinion, is a special characteristic of this generation, i.e. the composers who will celebrate their 50th birthdays in 2015 and 2016?”

Jan Müller-Wieland: “I can only speculate on the generation phenomenon, of course. Perhaps there is this: we are more or less marked by the enormous upheavals of the post-war period and the traumas caused by world wars and the Holocaust. Celan’s ‘Todesfuge’ (Death Fugue) and B.A. Zimmermann’s last pieces around 1968 are very important to me, as is the strict romantic tone in poems of Ingeborg Bachmann. My father was immensely musical, a late home comer who spent five years in underground mining as a prisoner of war in Russia. He survived through ludicrous coincidences, but never spoke about this. Only now - years after his death – am I coming to terms with all this, finding out and understanding more about it. My father did not want to keep anything secret from me - he just didn’t want to burden me with it. Thus a kind of vacuum is successively closing for me in the meantime. This is possibly typical of my generation and perhaps also explains my generation’s search for new originality. It is a strange form of artistic freedom.“

Jan Müller-Wieland has received numerous prizes, including the Hindemith Prize of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Promotion Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. In addition, he has received prestigious composition commissions, including those from the Hamburg State Opera, the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, the Vienna Chamber Opera, the Munich Biennial, the Beethovenfest in Bonn and the Hamburg Philharmonic. He has collaborated on joint projects with the actor Klaus Maria Brandauer for many years. Alongside his activities as a composer, Müller-Wieland also performs as a conductor.

The composer was recently nominated for the 2016 musical authors’ prize in the category of “Composition Music with Voice + ... (Serious Music)“. In addition, the Bavarian Composers’ Association (Verlag Neue Musik) announced that Jan Müller-Wieland’s work “Fanfare” for two trumpets has been accepted for the 5th volume in the series “Neue Töne”.

Concert highlights in the anniversary year 2016:

17 February 2016
NDR, Small Studio, 8 PM
Concert including works by Jan Müller-Wieland:
“Lockgesang” for bassoon and string trio
“Vagabondage” for octet
Ensemble Oktoplus

15 March 2016
Studio, 8 PM
Concert including works by Jan Müller-Wieland:
“Libero, fragile” for violin solo
“Himmelfahrt” for viola solo
Elisabeth Kufferath (violin / viola)
Jan Müller-Wieland (moderation)

11 June 2016
Gasteig, Black Box, 8 PM
World premiere: Jan Müller-Wieland
Work for pupils‘ ensemble
Ju[mb]le — Youth Ensemble for New Music, Bavaria
Johannes X. Schachtner (direction)

4 November 2016
Hochschule für Musik und Theater
Birthday Concert for Jan Müller-Wieland
“Ballad of Ariel” for violin and orchestra
Hochschul-Sinfonie-Orchester of the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München
Ulrich Nicolai (direction)

25 November 2016
Freie Akademie der Künste
Portrait Concert Jan Müller-Wieland
World premiere: Jan Müller-Wieland
“Father Image” for violin and piano
Elisabeth Kufferath (violin)
Jan-Philip Schulze (piano)

Copyright of the photo: Andrea Huber


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