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Ockert Matthias

The composer and jazz guitarist Matthias Ockert was born in the Lake Constance region of Germany in 1970. He first earned a degree in architecture at Technical University in Berlin while taking lessons in composition and music theory with Carlo Inderhees. He then went on to study composition with Wolfgang Rihm, Sandeep Bhagwati, and Hanspeter Kyburz in Karlsruhe and Berlin and jazz guitar with Attila Zoller and Bill Connors during his regular visits to New York.

Ockert’s œuvre includes instrumental and electronic music, jazz, multimedia, sound installations, and stage works, such as his opera Bibliothek von Babel (The Library of Babel) after Jorge Luis Borges, written for the Munich Biennale, or Xanthopsia for the ballet of the Baden State Theatre in Karlsruhe. His music is noteworthy for its use of electric guitar, interactive electronics, improvisation, and a special focus on the compositional integration of spatial acoustics.

Ockert’s works have been performed at international contemporary music festivals and venues such as Lucerne Festival, International Computer Music Congress in New Orleans, Munich Biennale for New Music Theatre, Synthèse Festival in Bourges, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, and the Karlsruhe Center of Art and Media (ZKM). He has worked with Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Heidelberg, Dresden Symphony, Ensemble Intégrales, and the light artist Rosalie. He also pursues an active career as a jazz guitarist with concerts and CD recordings in Europe and the USA.

In addition to many scholarships and grants, Ockert has won 1st Prize at the International Composing Competition for the Room of the Gläserne Manufaktur (Dresden) with his diaphaneity for large seven-group ensemble, the Residence Prize of the Bourges International Competition of Electroacoustic Music, the Operare Prize from Berlin Contemporary Opera, and the Walter Fink Prize for Dance, Electronic Music, and Media from the Karlsruhe ZKM.

Matthias Ockert’s Polytheistic Ensemble, which he founded in 2012, allows him to combine composition, jazz, electronics, and video art. In 2013 his portrait-CD laminar flow was released in the edition zeitgenössische musik of the German Music Council.


Selected works: String Trio (1999–2000), Differenzierungsrausch for trumpet, MIDI keyboard and electronics (2001–02), silent room, computer music to a video by Dagmara Vinzenz (2002), survey, CD for jazz band (2002), diaphaneity for large ensemble in seven groups and electronics (2003–04), Stretto, 8-channel computer music (2005), Intertwining for four saxophones (2005), Donny G. – Amore e Timore for soprano and video (2006), purifications, stereo computer music (2006), Nachglut for large ensemble and electronics (2006), tectonic landscape for 12 percussionists (2007), Primum Mobile for female voices, ensemble and electronics (2007–08), molecular attraction for alto saxophone, electric guitar and electronics (2008), Layers News Opera for video, reciter, soprano, ensemble, mobile architecture and electronics (2008–09), Xanthopsia for dance, light, electric guitar and electronics (2009), Continous open flux for double bass, four percussionists and electronics (2009), Exquilibrium for flute, piano and percussion (2010), laminar flow for ensemble and electronics (2010), Dans la nuit for electric guitar, piano and electronics (2010), Laminar Groove, Shift Rock Variations, Hakan Loops for saxophone, electric guitar and percussion (2010), Die Bibliothek von Babel, opera after Jorge Luis Borges (2010–12), 7 Polytheistic Pieces for ensemble (2012), Wagner/Klinger/May, three interactive sound installations (2013).