Katharina Nohl

Composer and pianist

Author

About

Overnight, the country I was born in didn’t exist anymore.

After having had a peaceful childhood in the DDR (German Democratic Republic) with intensive classical piano training since the age of 5, I had the chance to experience international education as a University student abroad. I studied a Music degree by the sea at Southampton University, England. Also, at this time I used the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus scheme, learning at the Università degli Studi di Ferrara (Italy) and the Universiteit Utrecht (Netherlands). Later I continued in a unique Master’s Music Degree course in contemporary music performance in London (UK). For me, it was a perfect time to explore the language, music, culture and lifestyle of the different European countries.

A forever bonding time with cultural diversities!

After university life I continued learning with Alfons Kontarsky at the Konservatorium Salzburg while living and working as a piano teacher and pianist in Munich.

After moving to Switzerland in 2001 I got married and became a mother of two girls. Whilst bringing them up I continued my career as a pianist in Schaffhausen and giving concerts in the UK, Germany as well as Switzerland. I am engaged in children’s musical education and launched several school projects combining visual and audible arts with youngsters in both Germany and Switzerland.

In 2016 I released the “Creating Childhood” CD with Oehms Classics where I performed music with and from my girls (in duo and their composition) – a beautiful “mother and daughters” experience. With this album the start of my composition career began. Encouraged by Cyprien Katsaris, Fazil Say and Werner Bärtschi who repeatedly pointed out to extend and believe in my compositional and creative talent.

Since then numerous pieces were born, published, recorded and performed internationally. Presently I am working on an commissioned orchestration of my “Munotglöcklein” - piano for 4hands piece ae well as on a piano concerto – which is a completely new and thrilling experience. Next to that, there are many more projects in for next year.

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Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

Music is part of me as well as part of my professional life

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

„Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

I really have no idea since all my life spun around music and music education.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

It depends on the concert. It is quite surprising how many young musicians and composers there are on the todays market but yes there are concerts with a majority of grey hair audience. Things are changing and film music concerts really extend the classical market.

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Every century is bringing out something new. For instance, the role of female musicians and women’s equality is making a change today. Young composers are being encouraged to follow their musical instinct rather some intellectual analytical training. This all sounds very positive to me.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Any invention is to do with creativity. This applies to the past and to the future. I personally don’t think my myself as being very creative. Maybe I do think or see things or maybe do hear things differently.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

Invest in music education and creative approaches of children. I love doing my projects with schools that I do. This is to combine music and arts. The final concert is always the highlight and giving the children the opportunity to experience a very different world.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

My favourite piece is always the one I am working on or that I need to practise. I start working on a new piece by having an idea either a theme or a technique.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Visiting classical concerts or a film music concert.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

Yes 100%. I compose for the audience not for the book shelve. I don’t live from trusts. My goal is that people like to perform my music without obligation.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

There are quite some projects in progress. One is a piano concerto. And yes every new project is an experiment - an experiment of new ideas to be realised.