Wolfgang Mitterer was born in Lienz in East Tyrol in 1958 and grew up in an ambiance of down-to-earth church music and traditional Tyrolean brass bands. In 1977 his interest in the organ led him to study the instrument in the orderly environment of a course of studies in Graz. One year later he moved to the Vienna University of Music, where he studied organ with Herbert Tachezi and composing with Heinrich Gattermeyer. In 1983 he went to the EMS in Stockholm to explore electroacoustics. In 1988 he spent a year in Rome on a scholarship awarded by the Ministry of Education.By this time Wolfgang Mitterer was already undertaking an exciting musical journey through the regions of experimentalism and was a member of collective bands in various stylistic quarters on the fringe between jazz, folk music, New Wave and noise music. He played with bands like “Hirn mit Ei” (brains with egg), “Call Boys Inc.”, “Pat Brothers”, “Dirty Tones”, “Matador” and with musicians like Linda Sharrock, Gunter Schneider, Wolfgang Reisinger, Klaus Dickbauer, Hozan Yamamoto, Tscho Theissing and Tom Cora. Wolfgang Mitterer’s music is characterized by the unpredictable, the unexpected as the starting point of the musical process. He creates a network of instrumental and vocal live ensembles and electronic surround sound; he juxtaposes sawmills and old church organs in a new movement of sounds and engages thousands of choir singers and several traditional brass bands for his compositional events. Improvisation is superimposed on fixed notation. He regularly gives performances as a soloist and in collective groups at international festivals and in concert halls, and he receives compositional contracts from important cultural events and institutions like Wiener Festwochen, Steirischer Herbst, Wien modern, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the festival in Erl, Tyrol, the Klangspuren Schwaz, the ORF, WDR and SRG.For his work as a musician and composer, he has received among others the Prize of the German Recording Critics, a state scholarship from the Republic of Austria, the Prize of the Ars Electronica, the Max Brand Prize, the Prix Futura Berlin, the Emil-Berlanda Prize, the Music Prize of the City of Vienna,… Wolfgang Mitterer’s oeuvre now includes several hundred works for a great variety of musical ensembles, from “Amusie” for six musicians, loudspeaker and a broken church organ to “und träumte seltsam” (“had strange dreams”) for soprano, small choir and ensemble, “Ka und der Pavian” (“Ka and the Pavian”) for choir, 13 musicians and surround sound, “Net-Words 1-5” for eleven musicians and an eight-channel tape to “Fisis” for symphony orchestra, and the opera “Massacre” (first performance at Wiener Festwochen). In the mean time Wolfgang Mitterer is working on another order for musical theatre: In March 2005 the Theatre in Basle will produce “Crushrooms”. He is currently writing “String Quartet 1.3” for the string quartet of Klangforum Wien, which will be given its first performance in the Konzerthaus in Vienna on June 19, 2004 in the framework of the “generator” series. He is also writing a “Brachialsinfonie” (“Brute Force Symphony”) for a large ensemble of Klangforum Wien. Its first performance is planned for autumn 2005. Wolfgang Mitterer taught “Music and Computer” at the University of Music in Vienna.
Published in occasion of the first performance of “Sunrise” (2004), the soundtrack to Murnau’s film with the same title.By Rainer Lepuschitz