Stefan Welebny

Composer and IT professional




When - as a child - I began to listen to the music of the great composers, I was touched, wondering how a human could create such magic. Now I am 54 and this did not change. What changed is, that somewhen I started to investigate, to analyse music and with the help of my good friend, Thomas Prellinger, study music theory. And I started to compose. This is what I am doing ever since.

Living in Austria, married to a wonderful wife and father of three children, I am earning my living as an IT professional. I need to come up with the time, and more important, the energy for music. Whenever I am in the process of composing, time flies by and when I awake of that trance after many hours I find myself totally exhausted. Then I usually feel like sharing the result of my work with my friends and family and I do so, which I generally regret next morning, when I perceive my music different and not good enough, sometimes barely understandable.

What I find hardest in composing is to understand the situation of the unprepared audience. As the composer I cannot share the first-time-listener´s experience. The opposite is the case, I have countless times played the music while developing it. All I can do is, to apply all theoretical knowledge I am aware of and to make use of my experience and feedback from listeners. Furthermore all kind of mistakes happen. Mistakes in hearing, mistakes in thinking and understanding, mistakes in playing, mistakes in noting. Composing is hard work, but I receive by far enough compensation from the joy and pleasure that work is. My humble hope is to steadily improve my skills in order to deliver enjoyable music.



What does music mean to you personally?

Music is a window that sheds light into the dark.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Basically yes, but artists need to defeat the chaos in order to transform fantasy into music.

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

I am working as a Business Analyst and Software Engineer for large companies and organisations.

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

There is a scientific study proofing that rhythmic, tonal, harmonic and voice complexity of the top popular music singles has been steadily decreasing since - as fas as I remember - 40 years or so, year by year. This is at least kinda strange.

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?

We are sitting on a treasure of great music from generations before us. Centuries ago for our ancestors this was not the case. It even takes a lot of time to listen to those musical styles and to understand them. People necessarily specialise in their preferences. The worlds music charts mean nothing, they are just the common factor, the music which 8 billion people statistically hate least. It does not mean that people actually enjoy that music. There is always somebody who likes to write or perform music, I believe we need not worry about that, nor that we can anticipate where music will take us.

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

Well - maybe I should be a little less creative, and more disciplined. I tend to feel boring too fast and too much nonsensense is coming to my mind :-)

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

Your idea to support contemporary composers is indeed a very promising approach, I suppose. Second, I believe, it helps to play - what I call - „happy“ music. I mean what could be the point in playing sad or tiring music for attracting new folks?

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

Generally I identify a project, it can be a song, an orchestral work or what ever. Then I try to be aware of everything I learned about composing, before I start. When composing, I happen to violate this knowledge, which gets me into trouble. Then I try to fix those problems. Sometime I can manage, sometimes not. My favourite is Cassiopeia, where I tried to write a classical symphony with a sonata movent, an andante, a minuet and a rondo. I started by identifying the movements, and their main structures. Then I composed it straight from the beginning to the end, which took me maybe 1000 hours or so.

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

My son Leonhard started to listen to classical music by himself from a very early age all by his own. I did not teach him to do so. Then he started to discuss those works with me. We do not really know what caught his interest. But it is common sense that if you play classical music at home, your children have a chance to get used to it. So the advice must go to the parents and the schools. The nowadays musical education in school is very poor in Austria. So maybe it is really a To Do for the education system.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

I do, but the difficulty is to identify the difference between the fist time listener and yourself clearly for each bar you compose. One cannot clear his memory.

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

I need to further improve my skills in order to write enjoyable music. Experiments take me further, but the mission is to tame the creativity.