Eggert, Moritz (1965-)
Biographical Summary (Translation: Marc Hyland)
Moritz Eggert was born 1965 in Heidelberg. After early piano studies he began his music education at Dr. Hoch´s Konservatorium in Frankfurt, first in piano (with Wolfgang Wagenhäuser) and theory, then in composition (with Claus Kuehnl). After finishing school he studied piano with Leonard Hokanson at the Musikhochschule Frankfurt. In 1986 he moved to Munich to study composition with Wilhelm Killmayer at the Musikhochschule Muenchen. Later he continued his piano studies with Raymund Havenith in Frankfurt, and his composition studies with Hans-Jürgen von Bose in Munich. In 1992 he spent a year in London as a post-graduate composition student with Robert Saxton at the Guildhall School for Music and Drama.
His main duo partner is the cellist Sebastian Hess. In 1996 he presented the complete works for piano solo by Hans Werner Henze for the first time in one concert, a programme that he continues to play with great success.
In 1989 he was a prizewinner at the International Gaudeamus Competition for Performers of Contemporary Music.
As a composer Moritz Eggert has been awarded with prizes like the composition prize of the Salzburger Osterfestspiele, the Schneider/Schott-prize, the Ad Referendum prize in Montréal, the Siemens Förderpreis for young composers, the Zemlinsky Prize and the Second prize at the Molinari Quartet's First International Competition for Composition.
In 1991 he founded —together with Sandeep Bhagwati— the A*Devantgarde festival for new music, which has taken place for the 6th time in June 2001. His concert-length cycle for piano solo, "Hämmerklavier", has been a great international success with reviewers and audiences alike.
Moritz Eggert has covered all genres in his work – his oeuvre includes 6 large-scale operas as well as ballets, and works for dance and music theatre, often with unusual performance elements. In 1997, the German TV produced a feature-length film portrait about his music.
Among his more recent important works are the concert-length cycle for voice and piano "Neue Dichter Lieben" featuring 20 love poems by contemporary german authors, and the orchestra piece "Scapa Flow".
Important premieres this year include the children’s opera "Dr. Snot’s Scary Scheme" for the opera Frankfurt am Main (a collaboration with librettist Andrea Heuser) and a song-cycle for Jazz Ensemble for the CD-label between the lines. He has been commissioned to write two new operas with renowned German directors Hans Neuenfels and Claus Guth (2004/2005).
Kleine Fluchten (Little Hideaways) (1993)
I have always been fascinated by the famous sentence at the beginning of William Blake's "Auguries of innocence": To see a world in a grain of sand.
This is —in my mind— connected to another motto, which has also been of utmost importance for my work: It is not important what you look at, but how you look at it.
Contemplations like this have often lead me to explore "objets trouvés" in music —not quotes of other pieces, but "flotsams" of my imagination, in other words: using the first thing that comes to your mind, not the pondered-upon, overly "reflected" idea, but the idea in it's purest form.
"Little Hideaways" began like this —this somehow ethnic melody came to my mind, and I took it, unfiltered, following solely my intuition. It is a bit like walking into a room filled with paraphernalia and taking (or describing) the first thing that grabs your attention, a technique which is also used in psychotherapy, by the way.
What if I looked at this melody obsessively, like at a grain of sand? What if the microstructure of the melody became the macrostructure of the piece? What if the lengths of each note would correspond to the lengths of the movements (which again would be connected without any pause, like in the melody itself, like a secret code)? What if the notes itself became a central note for each of these movements, so that the movements in itself would follow a melodic supra-progression like in the original melody?
These and other similar procedures were techniques I used in the composition —the more limitations I set myself the more I felt compelled to overcome them, to make the piece sound totally free of these "barriers" (a very Stravinskyan approach, I have to admit).
So in the end the music became a journey in to the "little hideaways", the little recesses in the imagination of the composer, but a journey whose path has been stripped down, laid bare for the listener to enjoy and to follow.
"Ending is hardest of all, yet letting go gives the only true taste of freedom. Then the end becomes a beginning once more and life has the last word." — Peter Brook
Moritz Eggert, 10.09.2002 (Translation: Marc Hyland)