Mitterer, Wolfgang (1958--) By Cassidy, Aaron
Wolfgang Mitterer (1958--) is an Austrian composer and organist noted for his work with live electronics and improvisation. Born on 6 June, 1958 in Lienz, East Tyrol, Mitterer studied organ and composition at the University of Music and the Performing Arts Vienna, followed by a year-long residency at the studio for electroacoustic music (EMS) in Stockholm. An exceptionally prolific composer, Mitterer’s output spans a staggeringly broad range of approaches to music making, including works for tape, chamber music of various formations, experimental pop songs (Sopop), works for large orchestra, music for theatre and opera, music for film, and sprawling site-specific installations and performance events (turmbau zu babel, for example, is scored for 4,200 singers, 22 drums, 48 brass players, and 8-channel tape). His works list includes over 200 entries and demonstrates a particularly catholic, pluralistic, non-dogmatic approach to instrumentation, duration, venue, scale, and function.
Despite this diversity, Mitterer’s work maintains several important central tendencies: stylistically, the music is often characterized by layers of crackles, twitches, clicks, and pops (both electronic and acoustic), with a rustling, flickering, chirping, gestural energy. These more fragmented, granular layers are quite often combined with gradual, elongated, atmospheric, and lyrical material, though generally a sense of instability and unpredictability remains.