Winner of the 2011 Composition Award: Gerald Resch

As a cursory glance at his biography reveals, Gerald Resch is an all-round talent. Born in Linz in 1975, he has been active as a composer, music theorist, instrumentalist, teacher, musicologist, author and organiser. Before his graduation in composition and musicology from the University of Music and Performing Arts and the University of Vienna, he went through multi-faceted training: Resch acted as organist in Lichtenberg, Upper Austria, where he grew up, while he studied Early Music as well as the organ, harpsichord and viola da gamba in Linz.

Notwithstanding his love for tradition, it soon became clear in several ways that he felt drawn primarily to contemporary music. “I’ve always wanted to be a composer”, Resch says, and the subject of his musicology dissertation – German string quartets of the 1980s – also documents his fundamental interest in new music. It is only fitting, then, that after completing his composition studies with Iván Eröd and Michael Jarrell in Vienna, he continued his postgraduate training with Beat Furrer in Graz.

Furthermore, the musician is extremely fond of fine arts – in addition to musicology and philosophy, Resch also studied art history – a penchant, which has left traces in many of his pieces. “I’m more the visual type”, he admits. The offspring of a family of teachers, it was completely natural for him to one day also teach – currently as university professor of music analysis at the Bruckner University in Linz and as senior lecturer of music theory, study of musical form and aural training at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

Through the interconnection of artistic and scientific perspectives – as an artist, Resch was a scholarship holder at the Paris Conservatory; as a scientist, he did research at the Austrian Historical Institute in Rome – he “gained a new view of musical developments and fashions”, the Upper Austrian reveals. “So I feel quite independent.” In addition to his stylistic independence, another distinctive characteristic that warrants emphasis is his communicative side. Resch is not only a keenly interested visitor of events, but also plays an active role in the musical life of the Austrian capital: as music curator in the Vienna art association Alte Schmiede, where he has already presented a host of concerts, or as founding member of the composers’ group GEGENKLANG, in which seven colleagues joined forces to create better performance opportunities for themselves and, moreover, took the initiative to set up their own music publishing house, edition 21.

Writing has always been one of Resch’s central talents, but following several years of busy publishing activities, he now rather considers it as a “side-line”. Instead, his focus is clearly on composing. Those looking for initial clues of it, however, will soon be successful, thanks to Resch’s articulateness: Exactitude, Lightness, Clearness, Multiplicity and Quickness are, for example, the names of the five movements in his work Fünf Versuche nach Italo Calvino – terms that the music critic Walter Weidringer regards as “a kind of maxim of his music”. Resch himself has also repeatedly put the principles of his composing into words, most recently, when he said that he was mainly interested in “making a lot out of a little, because I like to develop things organically”. His efforts to continuously work with derivations from a few elements, such as deriving sequences of harmonic, melodic and rhythmic nature from a figure, are “more or less in keeping with Viennese tradition”, says the composer, referring to Alban Berg’s constructive techniques. Irrespective of aesthetic affinity, they also play an important role for him.

Text: Daniel Ender

1975                      
Born in Linz

1993–2001          
Studied composition in Vienna, Cologne and Graz with Michael Jarrell, York Höller and Beat Furrer, as well as musicology, philosophy and art history

2001                    
Scholarship in Rome

Since 2004          
Teaches music analysis and history of music at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz

Since 2006          
Music curator at the Alte Schmiede art association, Vienna

Since 2008          
Teaches music theory, aural training and theory of musical form at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna

Performances of his works in Austria (Musikverein, Konzerthaus, Salzburg Festival), Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, the USA, South America, Japan, China, etc.

III 2013                
Juror at the TONALi Grand Prix composition competition, Hamburg

II 2013
Organisation of the Gemischter Satz festival at the Alte Schmiede, Vienna

2012                     
Conception, organisation and realisation of the Musik im Raum concert series for the dissemination of contemporary music in Upper Austria

V-VI 2012           
Composition and rehearsal of the incidental music for the play Lumpazivagabundus with students of the Gymnasium in Vienna’s Boerhaavegasse

X-XI 2011            
Music mediation project “Von Knoten, Schlingen und Schleifen” at Vienna’s Billrothgymnasium (alongside Thade Buchborn) for the WIEN MODERN festival

2008–2011         
Piano arrangement of Francis Burt’s opera Mahan

III 2010                
Guest professor of music analysis and composition at the Higher Institute of Arts in Damascus, Syria

Since 2008            
University professor of music theory, aural training and theory of musical form at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna (since 2009: senior lecturer)

2008     
Curator of the 17th OEBV GrabenFestTage, Vienna

2007–08             
Teacher of composition at the music school Vienna–Brigittenau*

Teacher of composition at the W.er A.ußer M.ozart composition workshop at the music school in Tulln

Since 2007            
Music curator at the Alte Schmiede, Vienna (alongside Karlheinz Roschitz)

2006–2012         
Adviser at the SKE-Fond (since 2009: chairmanship “E-Musik”)

Since 2006            
Board member of the Ensemble Wiener Collage

2006                   
Publisher of the double CD Entspannte Gleichzeitigkeit. 30 Jahre Musikwerkstatt in der Alten Schmiede

Piano arrangement of Morton Feldman’s Neither (Universal Edition)

2005              
Piano arrangement of Wolfgang Rihm’s Penthesilea Monolog (Universal Edition)

Since 2004            
University professor of music analysis and history of music at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz (research focuses: Austrian music, music of the 20th and 21st century)

2004–08              
Teacher of aural training, music theory and composition at the Vienna–Margareten music school; section spokesman for music theory/aural training of the Vienna music schools

2003–06              
Co-curator at the Alte Schmiede art association, Vienna

2002–08              
Guest lecturer at the Konservatorium Wien private university

2002–07              
Freelance author for the Salzburg Festival

2002–03              
Music editor of the interdisciplinary research project “digitalCrystal” for the examination of the cultural history of the crystalline

2002                     
Editorial work for the Salzburg Festival almanac Passagen
Practical training in dramaturgy at the Salzburg Festival

Since 2000         
Introductory lectures and concert presentations for Jeunesses Musicales and the Alte Schmiede art association, Vienna

2000–04              
Board member of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM), section Austria

1999–2003         
Lecturer of composition at the summer courses of Musik-Palette, Tulln

2000                     
Editorial work for the magazine ton of the ISCM Austria (alongside Clemens Gadenstätter)
Piano arrangement of Wolfgang Rihm’s Deus Passus (Universal Edition)
Piano arrangement of Christian Ofenbauer’s SzenePenthesileaEinTraum (Doblinger)

1999–2008         
Freelancer for Universal Edition

1997–2008         
Music journalist for Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Komponisten der Gegenwart, Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, Almanach Wien Modern et al.

1990–93              
Organist in Lichtenberg near Linz

1993–95              
Studied composition with Iván Eröd at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, and musicology, philosophy and art history at the University of Vienna

1995–96              
Studied composition with York Höller at the Cologne University of Music and musicology at the University of Cologne

1996–98              
Studied musicology, philosophy and art history at the University of Vienna

VII-IX 1997         
Joint-study scholarship at the Humboldt University of Berlin

III-V 1998           
Joint-study scholarship at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, Paris

1998                     
University of Vienna: Master of Philosophy, with distinction

1996–2000         
Studied composition with Michael Jarrell at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna

2000                     
University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna: Master of Arts, with distinction

2000–01              
Postgraduate studies of composition with Beat Furrer at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz

II-VIII 2001         
Musicology scholarship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences at the Istituto storico austriaco in Rome

2003–04              
Course in electro-acoustic composition with Germán Toro-Pérez at the ELAK department of the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna

2012–13              
Selected for the NASOM – New Austrian Sound of Music programme for the distribution of his work abroad

2012                       
First Prize for al fresco at the TONALi Grand Prix composition competition, Hamburg

2011                     
Composition Prize of the City of Vienna

2010                     
Scholarship at the Villa Stonborough-Wittgenstein, Gmunden

2007–09              
Composer-in-residence of the Austrian Cultural Forum, London, at the Soundings festival

2007–08              
Composer-in-residence of the Wiener Concertverein (three world premieres in the Brahms-Saal of the Wiener Musikverein)

2006                     
Vienna Symphony Orchestra scholarship
Work scholarship from the Federal Chancellery of Austria

2005                     
Scholarship at the Villa Stonborough-Wittgenstein, Gmunden

2004                     
Anton Bruckner scholarship from the Province of Upper Austria

2003                     
Austrian State scholarship for composition
Composer-in-residence at the Weimar Spring Festival of Contemporary Music

2002                     
Theodor Körner Prize from the Republic of Austria
Composer-in-residence at Forum Einklang, Mittersill

2001                     
Talent award from the Province of Upper Austria

2000                     
Work scholarship from the City of Vienna