lives in Vienna.
Mitterer studied organ, composition and electroacoustics in Vienna and Stockholm. He is not only one of the Austrian specialists for electronics as well as being equally brilliant on the keyboard and on the slide controls, but is also one of the most innovative composers. His work oscillates between composition and open form. Apart from music for organ and orchestra, a piano concerto and an opera he has produced electronic pieces, conceptualized sound installations, and engaged in collective improvisation with diverse groups, developing a language of extremes, tension and complexity. The pleasure he takes in experimenting leads him to combine contrasting elements in the creation of unpredictable musical events. In one major composition, for instance, he juxtaposes musical bands and children’s choirs with specialized instrumentalists and singers, while filling the hall with surround sound created by live electronics. But his work transcends the merely spectacular, precisely because of his musical presence and the high – deeply moving – intensity and complexity of his compositions. Listening intensely to low sounds has its place just as much as the “installing” of exploding sound fragments in the listeners’ minds. Far from being smoothly pleasurable, Mitterer’s music is still uncannily beautiful at times.

M. Meller for “Tirol multimedial”

austrian film award / best music / untitled / glawogger/willi/lotus film "kunstpreis" republic austria 2014 tyrolean regional prize for art 2002musikforum viktringdaad stipendia berlinstate scholarships for compositionemil berlanda prizevienna great prize for music2004 erste bank composition prizeprize of the german recording critics
orf pasticcio-preis für die produktion "coloured noise" austrian critics prize for "santo subito"
prix italia for "santo subito"
prix europa for "santo subito"


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