Birgitta Flick - Refiguring Composition

Artistically Researching the Contact Between Composition, Improvisation and the Outside World


How can it be possible to delineate a composition when it gets in touch with improvisation and the outside world? What idea, what concept of a musical composition can be gained from this – and which new artistic and other insights and consequences arise from there?


Historic and current practices open composition to improvisation. As I have researched earlier in my master thesis, where I investigated the contact of composition and improvisation from the perspective

of permeability, a composition seems to be perceivable as something ongoing. Something ongoing, that through its enormous permeability is constantly in the process of becoming, with continuous transformation processes, stimulated by the connection and interaction with other components such as improvisation. Nevertheless, it must be possible to delineate a composition when it gets in touch with improvisation and the outside world, asking, so to say, what remains when improvising with a composition. To investigate this question, I want to undertake an artistic experiment with different experimental and reflective circles and follow an initial “seed” compositionally. I want to develop a network of new compositions through interweaving the composition process with purposefully exposing the composition seed in its different stages of development to outer contacts, especially improvisation by myself and other musicians – both following improvisational structures integrated into the composition in different ways or meeting the composition totally freely. My artistic method shall be interwoven with and informed by academic approaches, such as the method of génétique in vivo (or live genetics) as Nicolas Donin et. al. described it and applied it to musical composition and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Through that, I aim to get an understanding of the inner happenings that are spurred by composition’s contact with improvisation and other components or activities of the outside world, thus delineating composition – an area that seems not to be researched yet. As both a methodological means and goal of the project I also want to look closer at the composition process itself which is permeable for so many components as particularly the composer’s own artistic practice and history. Also, I want to consider improvisation’s role for the composition process and for the composition itself as well as to investigate the composer-improviser’s double role more deeply. The research project seems very relevant for the practical dealing with an existing composition (e.g. copyright questions, set up of rehearsal processes a.o.), but through the artistic practice of creating both through composition and improvisation and to look at the impact that other individual and collective creative processes have on the individual composition process, I foremost aim to contribute to a new understanding of the concept of a musical work, as well as (co-)authorship, musical identity and also collaborative creating. The research questions arise from my personal improvisation and composition practice that is rooted in contemporary Jazz but stretching out beyond that.


Birgitta Flick is a Berlin based improviser and composer. Educated as saxophonist at Jazz-Institut Berlin (UdK/HfM “Hanns Eisler”) and in composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, she works internationally as a freelance musician with her own groups based in a.o. Berlin, Stockholm and New York City. As a sidewoman she works right now with e.g. the Pål Nyberg ensemble in Stockholm and Nico Lohmann’s quintet in Berlin. As a composer she writes for her own groups as well as choir music and instrumental and vocal works for ensembles such as LUX:NM (DE), Vokalensemblen i Sundbyberg (SE) or Aulus Duo (GB). Since 2015 she serves as artistic director for the concert series InSpirit at Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche in Berlin. Concert tours and festival appearances have taken her to Sweden, the US, Bahrain and the Middle East. Her artistic work is documented and presented on numerous CD and LP productions and has been supported by the Berlin senate, the country of Berlin/UdK, Initiative Musik gGmbH, Musikfonds, JazzBaltica Förderpreis and the Goethe-Institut.


Supervisors: Tasos Zembylas, Samuel Grillusz, Annegret Huber, Fredrik Hedelin

Christoph Wichert – Transferring Voices

Can one hear Singapore in the sound of a Bassoon?


Singapore has for centuries been at the crossroads of international trade routes. This attracted people from all around the world to this island. All the different cultures influence each other constantly, through cross-marriage new cultures emerged and Singaporeans are nowadays not only multilingual (4 official languages) but multicultural as well.

Likewise, some composers and musicians in this area often have two or more traditions in their background and are influenced by many more.

Many of these non-western music practices come though with different approaches to almost all parameters of performance.

That poses unique challenges to the performer who is not from here…. and undoubtedly to an international audience as well.


As a western trained bassoonist, who moved here in 2008, I want to study how these different regional music traditions inspire not only local composers in their work but as well what one can learn from some of these traditions and their different performance practices and philosophies as a performer on my instrument. What is transferable and should be transferred to play regional contemporary art music well? -and how?

Audiences expect different performance practices with different music traditions too. To name just an obvious example: All-black on a stage in a concert hall with good acoustics is a common expectation for a piece of contemporary music. Traditional South-East Asian music is though often performed outdoors. Musicians are sitting on a mat or carpet on the floor. What though would be best for music that is seemingly rooted in both traditions?

What other performance aspects are important?


In this dissertation project, I seek to explore the aesthetics, musical parameters, composition practices, and performance practices of the traditions the composers are drawing from and to look at how these relate to newly created works for the bassoon. And to develop models of practice-led research on how to best present this music to diverse audiences. To foster a greater understanding of this intercultural space through performance.


Christoph Wichert joined the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in 2008. He is a graduate of the Conservatory Vienna where he studied Performance with Michael Werba (Principal Bassoon, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) and Music Education.

Next to his role in the orchestra he is an active performer of contemporary music and currently also a faculty member of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore and visiting guest artist at the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music in Bangkok.

In 2015 he founded with Dr. Ruth Rodrigues and like-minded musicians SETTS, Singapore’s first fully professional Ensemble for contemporary music.


Supervisors: Susanne Granzer, Wei-Ya Lin, Johannes Kretz, Anothai Nitibhon

Karl Salzmann – The record player as an instrument and apparatus for artistic research

The present dissertation project deepens my previous artistic practice and research on the topic of “The Turntable as Instrument” in order to continue and merge existing research strands (within the fields of sound art / sound studies, gramophone music, sonification of graphic scores, practice of experimental turntablism). The dissertation project unites aspects of visual, performative, and musical art through practice-based comparisons, thereby making connections and acting in a trans- and interdisciplinary manner. This practice is intended to facilitate investigations and findings from the vantage point of different perspectives.


The record player as an instrument and apparatus for artistic research is in no way dedicated to its intended function, namely the mere reproduction of pre-produced sounds and music; rather, it is conceived as a research apparatus (and above all as an apparatus that inscribes itself into things in the sense of Walter Benjamin), and furthermore – in an ambiguous sense and as postulated by Lazlo Moholoy-Nagy in 1923 – as an instrument and thus production apparatus.


I define the record player as a research apparatus, among other things, because it will be used in the course of the project to research and utilize the sound of various physical materialities (such as concrete, plaster, epoxy resin, metal,…). On the one hand, I use the term instrument in a classical sense, namely as a musical instrument that generates sounds and enables various types of play; on the other hand, the record player in the present project is also a tool, measuring instrument as well as production apparatus, among other things for the embodiment of graphical scores.


Supervisors: Hans Schabus, Thomas Grill, Annegret Huber, Alexander Damianisch

Daniel Maltz - Keyboard Culture during the Era of Wiener Klassik

Music has transcendent qualities that touch people across cultural and generational lines. But, there is also a crucial aspect of time and place that should not be ignored.
As with all art, music appreciation and performance is better understood from the cultural perspective and context of its era. Without this knowledge, it is almost impossible to truly understand 18th-century Viennese keyboard music.
By taking a holistic musical, historical-cultural, and organological approach, this project will seek to rediscover deeper insights into Wiener Klassik keyboard works.


Supervisors: Markus Grassl, Erich Traxler, Mikayel Balyan, Annegret Huber

Brigitte Wilfing – Choreographic Composition

Choreographic Composition
in the form of Conversation Pieces, through a thinking_in_conversation_practice

I never think alone. One never composes alone. When one talks about componere – of putting things together – the question of who or what the subject of the composition is, of who puts what together, becomes urgent. The term Choreographic Composition refers to my performative work that focuses on the permeation of movement and sound. It takes on the format of music theatre, performance and performative installations and it refers to my choreographic thinking that leads to compositions in any medium.
The main research method – Conversation Pieces –, which is simultaneously the artistic form of my thesis, allows me an examination of the practice of componere, that is always a shared authorship. This research method enables me to shape and stimulate a choreographic web of co-authors: of events, thoughts, materials, affects, phenomena, resources, discourses, conversations among humans, non-human situations, modes of relating, etcetera. When they interweave, they generate synergies – reflections / diffractions (K. Barad) and thereby make the interdependent creation of meaning and sense-making tangible. A web, where other ecologies of attention can emerge, where the hierarchisation of information into important/ unimportant and project oriented research is suspended. In such a research process researchers are allowed to give their undivided attention also to matters that seem to be incidental, arbitrary, side-effects „only“, while exactly such secondary effects and encounters finally might turn into a punctum (R. Barthes).

Conversation Pieces signifies a (philosophical) stance, a way of relating and referencing. A poetic affirmation of being-with (J.L. Nancy) and of thinking-, choreographing- and composing-with. They follow an extended dialogical principle. Starting point is an aesthetic contagion, by which an artistic response is formulated, so that the traces of inspirations and their continuous resignification (‚Mit- und Weiter-Geschrieben-Werden‘ (H. Cixous) takes shape. Especially in musical composition, the roles of composing and interpreting often fall apart. A practice that focuses on the agency of what has been „read“ and proposes a „writing“ with what has entered one’s own presence (T. Ingold), connects these roles to composer-performer. Choreographic techniques will help to extend this nesting, the dwelling of the „other“ in time and space.

This research aims to inhabit the liminal space between projects and process. Conversation Pieces might take different forms like (lecture)- performance, essays or a video-work, but they are considered as byproducts – as a temporary formulation of precise decisions. This byproduct will be fed in again into the field of choreographic composition that is currently cultivating and can fall apart again into its
compo ne nts, become material again, and can make new connections. This is my practical attunement to the not-yet-book (E. Manning). A book that also writes into the space. A space that is composed by an extended book, that quotes and references through dances, images and other media, that hold my research with its past and future ghosts and companions. From inside-out outside-in, like F. G. Lorca’s octopuses, entangling ways of thinking and symbolizing.

My role is to take care that in this liminal place the relationality can be expressed. My role is the hyphen so to say, the hyphen between composer-performer, research-creation, discoursively-artistically, process-project, thinking-making, making-thinking, observer-observed etcetera.

Brigitte Wilfing is a choreographer and performer, based in Vienna. Her work is shown at home and abroad. Since 2005 she has been initiating and participating in numerous transmedial settings and collaborative research projects at the intersection of theory and practice. Since 2014 she has been working on the permeation of movement and sound to choreographic compositions that take on the format of music theatre, performance and performative installation. In 2019 she received her Master in Choreography and New Performative Practices at the University of Arts, Stockholm. In 2019 she co-founded the ensemble andother stage – a transdisciplinary collective at the interfaces of choreography, composition, performance, media art, game design and artistic research.

Supervisors: Annegret Huber, Thomas Schäfer, Arno Böhler

Ivar Roban Krizic – Improvised music and electro-acoustic extensions

The dissertation project deals with improvised music through its performance-related aspects, digital extensions and fields of knowledge that provide a theoretical foundation for these practices – cultural anthropology, aesthetics and gender studies. Through this process of exploration, a body of work will be created that questions the boundaries between art and academia and in turn generates new modes of improvisational knowledge and methods of expression. The aim of this research is to advance the development of a theoretical framework that will aid in the progress of legitimizing improvisational practices both in the performative and in the academic sense.

Ivar Roban Krizic (*1990), Zagreb. MA in Double Bass at the Jazz Department in Graz. Award winning soloist and sideman active in a wide variety of international projects ranging from contemporary jazz to experimental music. Professional improviser.

Supervisors: Tasos Zembylas, Thomas Grill, Peter Herbert, Burkhard Stangl

Illia Razumeiko – Chornobyldorf. opera aperta


Illia Razumeiko, Roman Grygoriv, NOVA OPERA

The world of Chornobyldorf is dedicated to the research on imaginary culturological post-apocalypse. CHORNOBYLDORF as “opera aperta” (a term coined by Umberto Eco) combines an archaeological opera(music-theatrical performance) in seven novels with a multiple and open-ended finale, a series of video performances created during expeditions through post-industrial landscapes, two fictional Institutions: Anthropological museum of CHORNOBYLDORF, and Institute of Chornobyldorf culture, and a real virtuality opera — a virtual space that blends all physical, video, and textual elements of the project online.

After the creation and evolution of the fictional toponim “CHORNOBYLDORF” into a complex “chornobyldorf post-apocalyptic theory,” a number of video archaeological expeditions were organized and a mobile research and performance group engaged during the search for artifacts, objects, and evidence of the existence of Chornobyldorf culture. The exposition of the Anthropological Museum, which was established as a result of expeditional journeys  is based on the finds and ethnographic material collected from direct descendants of Chornobyldorf residents or members of ethnic groups whose ancestors came into contact with this culture in the 21st – 27th centuries.

The Video-Performances in the piece that play the role of portals to different places and times were created during several video-archaeological Expeditions, connected the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone with the Dnipro River near the Enerhodar NPP, Kryvyi Rih industrial Zone and post-industrial galleries of Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kyiv.

Work on the opera began with an expedition to Zwentendorf, a town on the Danube 50 kilometres west of Vienna. Built here in 1978, the powerful nuclear power was never launched due to mass protests by environmentalists and a national referendum, becoming a huge “investment vault,” a 1970s technology museum, and a symbol of triumph of “green” politics. Eight years later, in 1986, a nuclear catastrophe struck in Ukrainian Polissia, and Chornobyl became the great divide of the world and human history.


Supervisors: Johannes Kretz, Wei-Ya Lin, Michael Sturminger

Jorge Sánchez-Chiong – Anything but Art

Point of departure for this research is a question that has been with me since the mid 1990s: „What is new in New Music?“

Seapunk, Vaporwave, New Aesthetics, Cloud Rap, Trap, EDM, Witch House, Digital DJing, Portablism, Hip Hop oriented literature, Computer Games and Commercial Video Making … This is just a short chaotic list of trends, styles, genres and sub-genres that have emerged or gained relevance and popularity in recent years. All these very different phenomena have something in common: they’re ignored by almost any scene of academic music. These „new“ manifestations aren’t part of the discourses of the so called New Music, they aren’t „state of the art“ in academic art music.

The transdisciplinary endeavour „Anything but Art“ keeps the main focus on artistic creation and research with and on dominant elements of the entertainment industry. It centers the use, mastery and hacking of specific codes, instruments, technical devices, techniques and technologies linked to pop and popular genres since the 2010’s.

The emphasis on actuality intends to deal with a fresh, challenging vocabulary, mostly unexplored or ignored by the avant-garde. This vocabulary, or pool of materials has no patina: it is too young to enjoy any artistic recognition or mystification as older popular manifestations do and it stands too close to everyday commercial commodity to be accepted as art, but as trend.

Anything but Art is the consequence of 25 years of permeating academic contemporary approaches with different musical movements like Turntablism, Free Improvisation, Noise Music, Hip Hop, IDM and Club Culture. Through intensive collaborations with main figures of this various experimental fields I have been developing diverse ways of working in composition-improvisation hybrids since the 1990’s. The power, directness, complexity and actuality of these experimental genres – getting in contact with their theories, aesthetic views and production processes – still answers my questions on contemporary art creation and aesthetics. That also implies, that many issues of the 20th century academic music became irrelevant and obsolet for me.


Jorge Sánchez-Chiong, born in Caracas, since the 1980s he has been living as a freelance artist in Vienna. He was commissioned to create numerous works for leading international ensembles, orchestras and festivals for new music . His work as a composer and performer focusses on process based, close collaborative co-operation with artists from experimental fields of theatre, dance, performance art, film, video art and multimedia.So far his work has been performed in Europe, North- and South America, Asia and Oceania. CD and DVD recordings on the labels orf, ein_klang, cronica electronica, idyllic noise, filmarchiv austria, among others.

Sánchez-Chiong studied composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (Francis Burt, Michael Jarrell), where he’s now on the midst of his doctoral studies on Artistic Research.He headed „New Experimental Ways with Artists in Residence“ (NeW_AiR) at his Alma Mater (2009–2013), was Artist in Residence at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna, and Composer in Residence of Ensemble Phace. He was guest professor at the Zurich University of the Arts, and several times composition lecturer at the international summer courses for new music in Darmstadt and Impuls Graz.

He has received multiple awards, including the City of Vienna Music Prize, Wiener Symphoniker Stipendium, Theodor Körner Prize, SKE-Publicity Prize and four times the Staatsstipendium für Komposition of the Republic of Austria.

Under the name JSX he produces and works as a DJ, plays as an electronic music performer and turntablist with musicians of the international noise and improvisation scene like Sudden Infant, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Electric Indigo, Martin Siewert, Christian Weber, DJ Pure, Lukas Koenig, Pia Palme, or as a soloist in front of ensembles and orchestras such as Haydn Orchester Bolzano, RSO Vienna, Mahler Chamber Orchestra. He co-operate with artists like Anna Mendelssohn, Michaela Grill, TE -R (Thomas Wagensommerer & Louise Linsenbolz), Brigitte Wilfing (andother stage), and Thomas Marschall.

Commissions by Patricia Kopatschinskaja, Dorothee Oberlinger, Lars Mlekusch, Ernesto Molinari, Neue Musik Darmstadt, Neue Kammermusik Witten, Berliner Konzerthaus, Traiettorie Parma, transart Bozen, Transit Leuven, Lucerne Festival, Festival MARS LA & Shanghai, Wien Modern, Bregenzer Festival, Klangspuren, musikprotokoll, Jugend Oper Stuttgart, OsterFestival Hall, FastFordward 20:21, Klangforum, RSO Vienna, Basler Sinfonieta, Stump-Linshalm, Collegium Novum Zurich, decoder (Hamburg), Nadar (Belgium), Stroma (New Zealand), China FMW (Taipei), Mivos Quartet (New York) et al.


Supervisors: Annegret Huber, Bas Matthynssens, Margarete Jahrmann

Tian Fu – An Integration of Rap Music into Neue Musik

This artistic research is centered on the integration of two fields of music — rap music and Neue Musik (European art music in the 21st-century). The idea came out of my identity: On the one hand, I am a composer, who received systematic training of European art music (composition, piano, and music theory) for more than ten years; on the other hand, I am an MC (rapper), a beat maker, who engaged in rap music since my teenage years. I put out underground albums and held concerts together with my crew L.C.T. as one of the pioneers who started to rap in Mandarin Chinese in my hometown Hohhot (呼和浩特). At the same time I am immersed in the context of Neue Musik and continually creating music for different combinations of European instruments, Chinese instruments and voices (bel canto). It seems that my artistic practices in these two fields of music are totally separate. But there is always an aspiration in my mind to remind me: It’s time to break the boundary!

Instead of stressing on the opposition between art music and popular music, this project aims to find intersections and to explore the possibilities of comprehension and interaction. Knowledge will be generated via the processes that fuse the different techniques, aesthetics and social-cultural connotations of these two fields. As a result, scholars, composers, musicians, and hip-hop artists can benefit from the establishment of an “integrating mechanism” which will not only give inspirations to the intended  “boundary-breaking” artistic practice, but also support to change the fixed mindset in a wider social context.

The project begins with these questions: What kind of musical elements shape the rap music, and how do they work? What kind of musical elements that constitute a piece, which could be defined as Neue Musik? What are both the distinctions and commonalities between the artistic practices in the field of Neue Musik and rap music, and how do they affect my artistic practices in both fields? How to establish a collaborative model with an hip-hop artist in order to bring the MC’s creativity into full play?

With the methods of music analysis, participant observation, interview and collaborative rehearsal, studio recording, and live performance, the project will be implemented in several steps: First, in order to deepen the understanding of rap, a comprehensive analysis of rap is necessary which includes an investigation of the usage of language. Chinese rap will be the central focus of the analysis, which will be expanded later to a comparative study of rap in Chinese, English and German. Second, interaction with hip-hop artists will be established via participant observation and interview. Finally, based on the collaborative working with hip-hop artists, a series of artistic works will be realized as output of different levels/dimensions of integration

TIAN Fu (in Chinese: was born in Hohhot (China) in 1989. He received music training at his early age. After moving to Beijing in 2008, he studied composition at the Central Conservatory of Music, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in 2013 and his Masters degree in 2017. His compositions won several prizes during his study in Beijing. In 2020 he was accepted as doctoral candidate at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, under supervision of Johannes Kretz, Wei-ya Lin and André Doehring. Meanwhile he studies computer music with Marko Ciciliani at IEM Graz. His important composition teachers including Beat Furrer, Christian Ofenbauer, Weiya Hao, Wenjing Guo, Jianping Tang, Zhitong Xu, Shixiang Li and Lin Liu.

His compositions include four stage works. Two chamber operasBen Yue (2013) and Flee by Night (2019). Two works for choreography: Waiting for the Wind (2015) and Mu Lan (2016). His orchestral works include: Green Day for large Orchestra (2013), Far-awayThoughts (2014), The Light (2016), On the Road for String Orchestra (2018), The Memories of Winter (2019) and Drinking Alone Beneath the Moon (2020). His compositions also include numerous chamber works for Chinese instruments and mixed ensemble.

In the field of hip-hop music. He joined the group L.C.T. as MC and beat-maker under the stage name of Croche in 2005. Several underground albums and EPs were made during the active time of L.C.T. from 2006 to 2017. Meanwhile, concerts were held in their hometown Hohhot as well as in Beijing.


Supervisors: Johannes Kretz, Wei-Ya Lin, André Doehring