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Bauckholt, Carola

Born 1959 in Krefeld. During the years 1976–84 she worked at the local Theater am Marienplatz. In 1978–84 she also studied composition with Mauricio Kagel at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. With Kagel’s instrumental theatre as a starting point, early on she began her own sound explorations and discovered a wide range of experimental forms of music theatre. Her first major work belonged to that genre, and she frequently returned to it, only later turning to instrumental music.

She has won awards at the North Rhine–Westphalia Young Composers Competition, B. A. Zimmermann Today competition, World Music Days 1987, West German Radio (1989), Carl Maria Weber Competition in Dresden (1992–93), Gedok International Competition (1994), Stuttgart Composers’ Competition (2nd prize), International Composers Competition in Boswil (2nd prize) and the Female Artist Prize from North Rhine–Westphalia (1998). She was also granted the GEMA award for experimental music (2010). At the invitation of the International Theatre Institute ITI, she took part in the Music Theater NOW project (2008). In 2013 she became a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.

She has held grants and scholarships notably from B. A. Zimmermann (Cologne), Schloss Solitude Akademie (Stuttgart, 1990– 91), Artists’ Colony at the Schreyahn Künstlerhof in Lower Saxony (1992), Art and Culture Foundation of North Rhine–Westphalia (1995), and Villa Massimo of Rome (1997). Her works were selected for the World Music Days in Copenhagen (1996), Seoul (1997) and Lucerne (2004), as well as for the Blaue Brücke festival in Dresden. In 2011 she toured many countries with her show hellhörig (Rheinsberg, Warsaw, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires). As a guest lecturer, she taught in Santiago de Chile (2010), Ostrava (2011, 2013), Amsterdam (2012, 2014), Cracow (2012), Zurich (2012), Apeldoorn (2013), Kyiv (2013), Oslo (2014), and in Germany. In 2014 she replaced Professor Fabien Lévy at the Musikhochschule Detmold.

She is a cofounder of the Thürmchen publishing house (1985) and the ensemble of the same name (1995). Carola Bauckholt is one of those composers who wander through the everyday world with their ear attuned to acoustic phenomena that might serve as a stimulus or a starting point for a composition. Among the noises, regardless of how difficult it might be to describe and classify them, are those which, because of their acoustic properties, can be combined. In view of this “family resemblance” they may be represented by musical instruments. The artist has developed a characteristic manner of imitating noises by distinguishing their acoustic components and then reconstructing them using different means. She herself puts it as follows: “I meet them face to face and spread them out to get closer; I then ‘translate’ them into different combinations and forms of existence.”

In her music, noises are not incorporated into a preconceived structure. The artist studies them carefully and creates in her compositions a space in which the noises can freely develop, introducing their own unique rhythm into the music. Her chief preoccupation is the phenomenon of perception and understanding. The borderlines between visual arts, music theatre, and concert music are frequently blurred in her works.


Major works: grave for singing actor and tape (1982), Der sechste Sinn, essay for singer, actor and instrumentalists (1983), Der gefaltete Blick, stage cantata for two voices and cello (1984), Das klagende Leid, stage ballad for five bandoneons, violin, viola, cello, double bass and tape (1985), Polizeitrieb for two percussionists (1985), Wortanfall for speaking voice, countertenor, harp, viola da gamba, double bass, two horns, xylophone and kettle drums (1986), Hornduo for two horns (1986–87), sottovoce for two cellos (1988), Polsch for piano (1989), Schraubdichtung for narrator, contrabassoon, cello and percussion (1989–90), Geräusche for two performers (1992), Zopf for flute, oboe and clarinet (1992– 94), Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano (1993), Luftwurzeln for flute, clarinet, viola and cello (1994), String Trio (1994), In gewohnter Umgebung III for cello, piano and video (1994), Treibstoff for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano and percussion (1995), Doina for voice and string orchestra (1996), Stachel der Empfindlichkeit for mezzo-soprano, countertenor, three cellos and four percussions (1997–98), nein allein for five voices (1999–2000), Ich muss mit Dir reden for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, double bass, percussion and piano (2000), Atempause for orchestra (2000–01), Hubschrauber for voice and orchestra (2001–2), Kugel for three cellos and tape (2002), Cellotrio for three cellos (2002), Geräuschtöne for violin, cello and percussion (2003), Gegenwind for organ (2004), Vollmond, unter null for voice and piano (2004), Reibung & Verschleiß for voice, three cellos, four percussionists and light (2004), Reibeklänge for two voices and ensemble (2004), hellhörig, music theatre for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, three cellos, piano and five percussions (2004–7), blinder Fleck for voice, trumpet and string orchestra (2005–6), Instinkt for soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass (2007), Mensch und Tier for choir and orchestra (2008–9), Liebeslied for flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, percussion and piano (2010), Schlammflocke for ensemble (2010), Emil will nicht schlafen... for voice and orchestra (2010), Hirn & Ei for percussion quartet (2010–11), ohne worte zwei for cello, bass clarinet and tape (2011), Humus for bass flute, bass clarinet, horn and six organ pipes (2011), Zugvögel for oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone and bassoon (2011–12), Schlammflocke II for ensemble (2012), Kohle, Kreide for mezzo-soprano, cello and video with the participation of Susanne Walter (2012), Stroh for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone and bass (2012), Sog for ensemble and sampler (2012–13), Brunnen for cello and orchestra (2013), Membran for voice and fortepiano (2014), Der ausgefaltete Raum for percussion (2015), Voices for Harry Partch for ensemble (2014–15), vacuum... condensing, music theatre (2014–15).