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Composers on the Coronavirus Crisis: Johannes X. Schachtner

The consequences of the coronavirus crisis affect us all. We have asked our composers how these months and weeks affect their artistic work. We will publish their answers successively in this section.

Johannes X. Schachtner
(was born on June, 26 1985 in Graefelfing, Bavaria)

Composing in the Time of Corona

My very personal situation as a composer at a time of almost complete shutdown is complex, if not ambivalent. Of course, there is the great concern about particularly endangered relatives and the uncertain future of the cultural landscape in particular, and I am also affected by very tangible negative implications caused by cancelled concerts. As my work as a conductor takes up a a great deal of my calendar space, this has serious consequences for current and future projects.

Now one is at home and suddenly has unprecedented freedom for composing.
After almost three weeks, I can say that I really do have unprecedented freedom: not even during my scholarship period have I experienced this emptiness of working days. And it is indeed a strange feeling. On the one hand to know the catastrophic, if not life-threatening situation of many, and on the other to have this time thrown at your feet, which you can hopefully use for your work. But throughout history, art has often experienced and endured this tension.

In recent years, I was accustomed to having only a precisely planned time window in which the score inscription could proceed reasonably undisturbed - the sketching and "hanging" of ideas had previously taken place in discontinuous work. Now it becomes a process not interrupted by external influences. I used the first days primarily to continue what I had left long since left behind, but now every day I notice how the work changes. I cannot yet say where. The absence of new influences cannot yet be felt, but I very much hope it will come soon. Partly in order to make the hunger to hear new things in concerts grow again - in our musical world, which sometimes seems saturated with premieres, that in itself would generally be very desirable.

Even though I can work outside the city in a reasonably quiet atmosphere anyway, the calming of the environment is already very noticeable: you don't just listen to the birds in the early morning hours, but suddenly the whole day long.
While writing these lines, I keep thinking of pictures in which artists, and especially we composers, stylize ourselves as lonely and oblivious to the world (my own artist photos also fall into this category). Now we have all become so somehow and we would probably all like to see ourselves alive among other people.

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