Biography René Wohlhauser

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Biography René Wohlhauser
Biographies Ensemble Polysono

Biography René Wohlhauser

Composer, pianist, author, baritone, improviser, conductor, ensemble leader and music teacher.

  • 1954 Born, grew up in Brienz. Many years’ experience as rock and jazz musician, before he turned to classical and contemporary music.
  • 1975-79 Basel Conservatory: counterpoint, harmony, analysis, score-reading, improvisation, instrumentation and composition with Thomas Kessler, Robert Suter, Jacques Wildberger and Jürg Wyttenbach. Further courses in electronic music, film music, noneuropean music and conducting, as well as philosophy (with Hans Saner). Music theory teaching diploma. Composition courses with Kazimierz Serocki, Mauricio Kagel, Herbert Brün and Heinz Holliger. In depth composition studies with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough.
  • 1978: "Valentino Bucchi" Composition Prize, Rome, for "Souvenirs de l'Occitanie" for solo clarinet.
  • 1981: Association of German Music Schools’ Composition Prize, Bonn, for "Stilstudien" for piano, four guitars and two percussionists.
  • 1983: VJMZ Composition Prize, Zürich.
  • 1984: City and Canton Fribourg Composition Prize for "Fragmente für Orchester".
  • 1987: Salzburg Cathedral Chapter Composition Prize for "Orgelstück".
  • 1988: Kranichsteiner Stipendienpreis at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt for "Adagio assai" for string quartet (premièred by the Arditti Quartet).
  • 1990: Eastern Swiss Foundation for Music and Theatre Composition Prize, St. Gallen: 1st Prize for "Klarinettentrio Metamusik".
  • 1991: Bursary from the Luzern Department of Education.
  • 1992: Commendation Prize of the Swiss Society for the Furtherance of Musical Education, Zürich, for the often published essay "From Simple Graphic Notations and Text Compositions to Thinking in Music".
  • 1996: "Selection" price from Swiss Radio International for the portrait CD "in statu mutandi".
  • 1998: Bursary from the Basel-Landschaft Departement of Education.
  • 2004: World première of the opera "Gantenbein" at the Lucerne theatre in collaboration with the international festival of the world new music days and the lucerne symphony orchestra.
  • 2008/2009/2010/2011 …: Concert tours with the own ensemble "Polysono" in Basel, Bern, Zurich, Lucerne, Munich and Berlin.

  • Many performances in Switzerland and abroad, e.g. Schauspielhaus Berlin, Nôtre-Dame de Paris, Tokyo, Roma, Toronto, New Castle, Azerbaijan, Scandinavia, Basle, Zürich, Frankfurt, Speyrer Dom, Klangforum Vienna, Glinka hall St. Petersburg, Herkulessaal der Residenz in Munich, Bangkok, Singapur, Malaysia, amongst others and also often at festivals such as the Darmstadt Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Tage für Neue Musik Zürich, the international festival of Odessa, Sofia, Cardiff, Brisbane and the Schweizerisches Tonkünstlerfest. Several portrait concerts.
  • Guest teacher for composition at the Internationale Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (1988-94), at the festival of Odessa (1996-98) and at the international composers course in Lugano (2000).
  • Active as lecturer, above all on own works.
  • Publications on compositional, aesthetic and philosophical aspects of new music, in among others "MusikTexte" Cologne, "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" and the "Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik".
  • Commissions from Switzerland and abroad.
  • Studio recordings by home and foreign radio stations, as well as portrait concerts and guest lectures on radio.
  • Articles on his compositional work published by many musicologists.
  • His works are available on various CDs.
  • Co-founder together with Mathias Steinauer of the Basle Composers’ Forum and the worldwide score distribution agency "Adesso".
  • Since 1979 teacher of music theory and composition at the Basle Music Academy (and 1979-91 at the Luzern Academy). Lives as freelance composer in Basle.

English translation: James Clarke

Biographies Ensemble Polysono

Christine Simolka, soprano
Born in Lörrach, Germany, she completed an eight-year course of vocal training in Basel with Nicole Andrich and Raymond Henn. During this time she also attended numerous courses with Kurt Widmer, Andreas Scholl and Hanno Müller-Brachmann, as well as opera classes at the Music Academy Basel. Further studies with Marianne Schuppe and Robert Koller. Regular concert performance. Christine Simolka’s repertoire includes a wide range of musical styles. Besides Lieder of the baroque and classical periods, one of her specialities is Schubert. In addition, she improvises in diverse styles (jazz, klezmer, blues, free improvisiation). She has recently begun to devote herself more and more to contemporary music (e. g. Berio, Holliger, Henze, Rihm, Ferneyhough, Wohlhauser). She is a member of the Lied duo "Christine Simolka, soprano, and René Wohlhauser, piano" and of the ensemble Polysono.

Ursula Seiler Kombaratov, flute

A native of Burgdorf. After graduating as a ceramic painter, she began her musical studies at the "conservatoire de musique" in La Chaux-de-Fonds. She earned her teaching diploma with the comprehensive grade "very good" under Kiyoshi Kasai in Basel.
Master classes in London and Switzerland with Aurèle Nicolet. Further studies with Philippe Racine and Felix Renggli. Conducting classes.
From 2001 until 2006, Ursula Seiler Kombaratov studied composition with René Wohlhauser at the Musik-Akademie Basel. Since 2002, Premieres in Switzerland, Germany and Austria (including "12 Miniaturen für 2 Flöten", "Motive in Bewegung" for flute, violin and violoncello, "Anblicke im Wasser" for flute and clarinet). Live concert recordings by Swiss Radio DRS 2.
She teaches in Basel, and at the youth music schools in Schlieren and Huttwil. In addition to her diverse chamber music activities, she performs regularly with the pianist I-Mei Lu, the clarinetist Igor Kombaratov, and as a member of the Ensemble Polyso-no.

Igor Kombaratov, clarinet
Born in Nischni Novgorod, Russia. Clarinet lessons from age 9, also at the music school for gifted children in Nischni Novgorod with Prof. Mark Rovner. Début at age 10 as soloist with the Academic Philharmonic Orchestra M. Rostropovich, Nischni Novgorod. Prize winner at various Youth Music Competitions and in the national promotion program "New Names". He began his studies in 2000 at the Musik-Akademie Basel under Prof. François Benda and graduated in 2006 with the comprehensive grade "very good". Currently studying with Ernesto Molinari at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, he has received scholarships from the Regio Basel, the Kiwanis Clubs Basel and the Georg Wagner Foundation. In 2002 he was awarded Second Prize at the International Clarinet Competition in Turin.
He performed in the Russian National Orchestra. Along with activities in various chamber music formations, he performs regularly in concerts with the flutist Ursula Seiler Kombaratov and the clarinetist and pianist Raof Mamedov. He is a member as well as a soloist in various ensembles, including the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Regio Basiliensis and the Ensemble Polysono. He teaches in Germany and in Basel.

Markus Stolz, violoncello
Born 1958 in Gelterkinden (Baselland), he studied cello at the Conservatory in Basel with Reine Flachot and barock violoncello at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Hannelore Müller. Further training as a "Musik-Mentaltrainer" with Tatjana Orloff. At present, he combines multifaceted music-pedagogical activities with diverse concert performances. As a soloist, chamber- and orchestra musician, (e.g. Linde Consort and Ensemble Polysono), choir director, "Musik-Mentaltrainer" and bass player in the "Les Asonsörs" band, he covers the whole musical spectrum. His repertoire reflects an interest in little-known works from the barock to the romantic periods and historical performance practice. Through personal contact with composers, he aims to bring the current trends in new music closer to the public. His training in Franklin move-ment pedagogy provided the inspiration for improvisatory experiments.

René Wohlhauser, piano, baritone

Born in 1954 and raised in Brienz, René Wohlhauser is a very versatile musician with a broad stylistic spectrum, who has created a voluminous compositional oeuvre that includes over 1500 works (a. o. chamber, orchestral and stage works). Long experience as a rock- and jazz musician, improvisor, Lied accompanist, founder and artistic director of the ensemble Polysono have accompanied his main profession as composer of contemporary music. Since finishing his studies at the Music Academy Basel and with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough in Freiburg, he has been teaching composition, music theory and improvisation at the Music Academy Basel. Main lecturer and tutor for composition at the International Darmstädter Ferienkurse. Further piano studies with Stéphane Reymond and vocal studies with Robert Koller. Several international prizes for composition. Numerous international performances and radio broadcasts. Lectures, publications, culture-political commitment.

The Ensemble "Polysono" is a variable chamber music ensemble, performing mainly contemporary music, also in combination with other artforms such as literature and painting. Of particular importance is the performance of music for smaller and less common ensembles, exploring their subtle possibilities. The variety in combinations - from solos to duos up to full ensemble - correlates to the structural contrasts and stilistic openness of the programs, which draws its tension from a dialectical dispute between different aesthetic positions.

The programs include world premieres as well as repeat performances of seldom-performed works. Composers of different origins are presented in comparison, showing the different structural aspects of each chosen individual scoring.

R. W.
(Translation: Gail Makar)