April 1997 Report From Suzanne Stephens

We hope all of you had a happy Easter.

The big news this time is that it looks as if the first international Stockhausen Courses Kürten will take place on the occasion of Stockhausen's 70th birthday, as a continuation of his teaching activities which have been interrupted since 1977 (with the exception of the 6 composition seminars he held in Darmstadt last year). He taught for 22 years at Darmstadt (until 1974), was guest professor at the University of California (Davis), the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), and the University of Basel. He founded the Cologne Courses for New Music which took place annually from 1963 – 1968. In 1970, he was named professor for composition at the State Conservatory of Music in Cologne and taught there for 7 years until he stopped teaching in 1977 to dedicate his energy full-time to composition, and the performing and recording of his works. His decision to teach again (exclusively during the Stockhausen Courses Kürten which will take place on an annual basis) will be welcomed internationally by the many who have repeatedly urged him to do so. These courses will take place for the first time from August 2nd to 9th 1998 in Kürten at the school complex.

In addition to the daily composition seminars given by Stockhausen, instrumental courses will be given by Kathinka Pasveer (flute), Suzanne Stephens (clarinet), Markus Stockhausen (trumpet), Ellen Corver (piano), Antonio Perez Abellan (synthesizer), and Andreas Boettger (percussion). In addition, there will be concerts on August 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th given by these soloists, all of whom have worked with Stockhausen for many years, and on the other days there will be concerts given by the course participants. Every morning there will be open dress rehearsals for the concerts in the evening. This project is organized by the Stockhausen Foundation for Music in cooperation with the community of Kürten. For participation in all events of the courses, a fee of 480,-DM will be charged.

For all further information, also concerning housing, please contact the person in charge of the organization, Dettloff Schwerdtfeger, Eupenerstr. 58, 50933 Köln, Fax and Tel.: 0049 221-495863 email-a3033031@smail1.rrz.uni-koeln.de

Hugh Davies, Stockhausen's assistant in the 60s, will be spending a great deal of time in Kürten this year, assisting Stockhausen with the preparation of the score of MOMENTE for publication and of the parts for the performances of MOMENTE, which will take place as one of the many events which are taking place to celebrate his 70th birthday in 1998.

On February 5th 1997, Stockhausen was invited to the Institute for Musicology of the Cologne University to participate in the final seminar of a series about his electronic music, which had taken place during the entire winter semester, given by Prof. Dr. Christoph von Blumröder. Many good questions were posed by the students, and many provoking answers were given by Stockhausen. We filmed this (as we do almost everything) for the Stockhausen archives.

Recently, Stockhausen has given two lengthy interviews, both to pop magazines. The German one, in Prinz will be published in May and deals mainly with the influence of Stockhausen' s music on popular music since the 60s. The American one, in Seconds, deals with everything. We do not have a publication date for this yet. We have heard that the one Björk made with him last year (in Dazed and Confused) is now on the web, so watch for it.

Also in February, a French poet, Paul Dirmeikis, visited for a week to conduct daily interviews for a book. He hopes that it will be a follow-up to the popular Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer, by Jonathan Cott, which is one of the best and accessible books about Stockhausen. We still have several copies of it, so if you have never read it, let us know (it's cheap!).

Stockhausen spent three weeks in March at the WDR mixing down the 24-track recording he made of HYMNEN with orchestra, played by the Gürzenich Orchestra (the Cologne Municipal Orchestra) which he conducted in January 1994 . There are a lot of people waiting for this on CD (CD 47 of the Stockhausen Complete Edition) , since the only recording in existence is not balanced well (Stockhausen neither conducted it nor did he mix it!). He is using – as usual – a Capricorn mixing console, which is probably the best there is. It allows him the kind of fine work necessary to arrive at the transparency of the sound he always strives for in the studio, and the sound we are used to in all the recordings he has mixed. He will have to continue the work in June because he won't be finished this time.

In April, Stockhausen will begin the large project of re-recording all of his PIANO PIECES, this time with the extremely gifted young Dutch pianist Ellen Corver, who is the only pianist we know of who plays all of the piano pieces.The recordings will take place at the Hessen Radio in Frankfurt and will be done in three sessions: one in April, one in June, and one in July. We will release this as soon as we can in the Stockhausen Complete Edition.

Finally, my apologies for not getting the film to you before this. Our video system has been re-organized and thus I could not convert PAL to NTSC before now. So just consider it an Easter egg instead of a snow ball from Kürten.

In between composing, mixing, and correcting the scores we are preparing for publication, Stockhausen has organized the planting of many new shrubs, as he does every spring. Some replace the ones which did not make it through our harsh winter, others are added to enhance the beauty of the surrounding nature, or just to see what happens. Meanwhile, 1000s of crocusses, tulips and daffodils are warily pushing up through the (still cold) earth and telling us that spring is here!