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about Karlheinz Essl

(b Vienna,15 Aug 1960). Austrian composer, improviser and performer. He attended the Vienna Musikhochschule (1979--87), where he studied with Friedrich Cerha and Dieter Kaufmann, among others. He also studied musicology and art history at the University of Vienna (doctorate 1989; thesis published as Das Synthese-Denken bei Anton Webern, Tutzing 1991). Active as a double bassist until 1984, he played in chamber and experimental jazz ensembles. As a composer he has contributed to the Projekt 3 composition programming environment of Gottfried Michael Koenig at Utrecht and Arnheim (1988-89) which later transformed into his own Realtime Composition Library for MAX. Essl also served as composer-in-residence at the Darmstadt summer courses (1990-94) and completed a commission for IRCAM. In 1995 he accepted a position in computer-aided composition at the Studio for Advanced Music & Media Technology at the Bruckner Conservatory, Linz.

Essl's compositions result from confrontations between ordered, abstract models and original tonal, expressive structures. He has frequently sought to combine music with other genres and has collaborated with the graffiti artist Harald Naegeli (Partikel-Bewegungen, 1991), the writer Andreas Okopenko and the artists' group Libraries of the Mind (Lexikon-Sonate, 1992--8), the architect Carmen Wiederin (Klanglabyrinth, 1992-95) and the video artist Vibeke Sorensen (MindShipMind, 1996, a multimedia installation for the Internet). During the 1990s he carried out many additional projects for the Internet and became increasingly involved with improvisation. In 1997, Karlheinz Essl was featured at the Salzburg Festival with portrait concerts and sound installations.

Besides writing instrumental music, Karlheinz Essl also works in the field of electronic music, interactive realtime compositions and sound installations. He develops software environments for algorithmic composition and acts as a performer and improviser. Most of his compositions are published by TONOS (Darmstadt).