Gerhard Stäbler

Gerhard Stäbler was born 1949 in Wilhelmsdorf, near Ravensburg in southern Germany. In 1968 he enrolled in the composition program at the Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie in Detmold and continued his education at the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen, where he studied with Nicolaus A. Huber (composition) and Gerd Zacher (organ).

The “Cornelius Cardew Memorial Prize” (1982) was the first in a series of awards, prizes, commissions and scholarships he received as a composer. From the onset of his career until today, Gerhard Stäbler has not only been active as a composer, but he was also involved in political and organizational arenas. The New Music festival “Aktive Musik” was initiated by Stäbler, who also served as the artistic director of the 1995 World Music Days of the ISCM in the Ruhr Valley. A third vital point of his activities lies in teaching: during workshops and seminars Stäbler has worked with many young international composers. He was composer-in-residence and visiting professor throughout North and South America as well as in the Middle and Far East. Stäblers music often transcends the conventional framework (and therefore the audience’s expectations), be it through the use of gestures or movement in space, through lighting and olfactory stimulation, or an active integration of the audience – it is very important to him to stimulate the imagination, to sensitize the ears and other perceptory organs towards unexpected perceptoral and thought processes. This is also the origin of his interest in the interaction between composition and improvisation, which feeds off of the unique tension between performers during the pre-formed yet open musical moment – as to be seen in the graphical score Red on black (1986). By the same token his music is always characterized by extremely contemplated development, and contains elaborate constructs that don’t impede the direct musical statement. Especially since the 1990’s Stäbler has created Work-“groups” that shed a musical light on different aspects of a thematic complex (e.g. the compositions surrounding CassandraComplex). In some cases works that stand autonomously can be performed simultaneously. Stäbler repeatedly causes the listener to critically reflect upon the music, without his music having to be overtly political: the shriek of a crow is musically interpreted in it’s possible implications (in old myths or as harbinger of doom) in Karas.Krähen (1994/95). The music doesn’t just exploit its own symbolism, but always points towards our individual actions in this world we live in.

2006 included an extensive Composer Portrait by the Saarland Radio within the festival “Mouvement – Music of the 21st Century” in May, in Saarbrucken, and was followed by the world premiere of the first chamber opera, Afternoon Sun in the Past Fall, in the south Korean capital, Seoul. The end of October brought Düsseldorf premieres of Night Pieces I-IV for Piano Quintet and Voices, which refer to Robert Schumann’s eponymous Piano Pieces, op. 23. The world premiere of, TSUKI, SUBARU, a Concert for the Japanese Mouthharp Sho and Orchestra, was presented in Duisburg at the end of January 2007.

For 2007, Stäbler accepted invitations to present his compositional work in various concerts and master classes, in Greece, England, Austria, Australia, and in numerous German provinces. In May 2007 the composition Wasser.Zeichen for orchestra, ensemble, choir and tape was premiered in Duisburg. In the frame of Dresdner Days for Contemporary Music two word premieres were presented in october 2007. In the end of 2007 Stäbler´s music theatre Letzte Dinge, based on texts by the poet Paul Auster, was performed in Frankfurt/Main with great success.

In April 2008 Sappho Trilogie for soprano, choir, splitted orchestra and tape was premiered in the frame of “WDR-Fest” in Duisburger Landschaftspark . Invitations to the summer academy for new music theatre at European Centre for Arts in Hellerau (Dresden) and to the woll known Darmstädter Ferienkurse followed. In Darmstadt two new works by Stäbler were presented for the first time: …ins Offene… for the Neuen Vocalsolisten Stuttgart and ]upon dry land[ for Duo Konflikt. Further Invitations lead to a Composition Masterclass on Crete, to the Festival Klangspuren Schwaz (Premieres of Fund.Stücke und Luftspiegelungen for Ensemble ascolta), to the Sonic Fusion Festival in Edinburgh and to a tournee in Libanon. In the moment Stäbler is dealing with a new music theatre for children, which will be premiered at Nationaltheaters in March 2009.

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