Ulrich Kallmeyer





Ulrich Kallmeyer (composer, pianist, theorist, pedagogue), born 1963 in Monheim/Rhineland, Germany, studied music education and piano in Hanover, followed by music theory in Cologne until 1991 as well as composition in „Neues Musiktheater“ with Mauricio Kagel until 1993. After finishing his studies he taught at the music conservatories in Cologne and Hanover. Since 1999 he teaches piano and leads the music theory / ear training section at the Städtische Musikschule Braunschweig. In the methodical, didactic planning of the instrumental and ear training, as well as the music theory lessons, it was especially the relative solmization, with its possibilities for holistic, all-encompassing music practice, which provided the greatest stimulation and influence on the lessons, all of which finally lead him to the publication of the educational books COSÌ SI FA SOL MI (https://www.breitkopf.com/work/9571/cosi-si-fa-sol-mi).

A large number of his compositions are devoted to the various styles of musical theatre. Besides DIE LYKISCHEN BAUERN with one actor, a string trio, percussion and play back (Cologne 1991) and the Kammerspiel, DR. FREUDS HORNWUNDER with 3 actors, baritone and 19 instruments (Cologne 1992/93), special mention goes here to the chamber opera PREUSSISCH DOPPELBILD (Hanover 1996) and the short opera DER KALTE ADAM (Berlin, 1997) which was awarded the “Neuköllner Opernpreis”. Numerous of his works were imprinted by various publishers. For the amateur (in the sense of C.P.E. Bachs “Kenner und Liebhaber”) of catchy and substantial piano music the author would like to recommend THE COOL CAT PIANO GOODIES (https://www.breitkopf.com/work/9269) containing a collection of 34 pieces in various popular styles.

Read more about Ulrich Kallmeyers works at https://www.ulrich-kallmeyer.de/




What does music mean to you personally?

Similar to pythagorean belief, I feel that music enables me to detect my position in a complex world.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

No: it is also firmly about craftsmanship, business, psycology, politics or religion (to be extended)

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

I hope not to be only a musician, but a craftsman, businessman, psycologist, priest, gardener in the service of music (to be extended)

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

In addition to the previously mentioned professions, I'm a teacher: therefore I'm not.

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?

I think that the sense-obstructing amount and presence of available data prevents us from enjoying and studying artwork in a traditional sense, that is: to estimate the artwork of the past. It seems as we were in need of either another brain or another art that does not take so much time and concentration and could be sufficiently enjoyed when shopping or at the hairdressers. Moreover, there is not only „music“ to be regarded but sense-obstructing amounts of such thing of which each will, in its special case, create its own public. Traditionally, public performance needed at least one further person. Today, the button click is a relief for those productions that couldn't even find this single guy.

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

Shouldn't the question be „what does creativity mean“? To me, it's the action in the integral of all my presumed professions mentioned above. Including music, there is not a single one amongst them in which I could claim to be of perfect abilities (therefore it is not sufficient to me to be a pure musician).

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

I am convinced that it is a promising way to reach our younger listeners to go via digital media as you do. Then I tried to integrate young people as players or singers in my compositions and the performances, and we had Introductions and Talk Concerts in addition. I composed educational piano music which is in style and skill designed to attract younger people. At last we should teach: not only music but musical which means artificial which means uncommon or unpopular ways of thinking. In Germany, there is a general lack of serious engangement in educational effort. The importance of education and knowledge in the process of change and transformation of modern societies will – if those societies should be peaceful ones - occupy a key position in 21. century.

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 at a time, until it is finished and replaced by the following. Today, I like very much to recognize some quality and wellknown but forgotten structure in pieces I wrote years ago. I dare to say this because over the years I try my very best to increase compositional quality. This means to face the question of criteria for quality: can it considered to be an absolute value, or only in relation to the respective background of the listener? I like very much „The Farnaby Baby Child“ (No. 16 from THE COOL CAT PIANO GOODIES). Gilles Farnaby is well known as one of the authors in the famous „Fitzwilliam Virginal Book“. When I got started with the piece I imagined his private home and the peaceful behavior of the family's baby which allowed Mrs. Farnaby to play the keyboard whilst cradling.

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

Listen to good music. To find out what kind of music this should be, ask people who should know. Ask for lessons: learn to play an instrument, and learn about music theory (that ist to say: find a person/an institution to pay for), sing in choir (gratis!). Try to avoid any distraction and waste of time.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

I certainly do, there is lots of good reason to do so. The piano player is an audience too: for instance when composing for players of different skill as in THE COOL CAT PIANO GOODIES, it is essential to apply the means carefully. As I tried to say above, it becomes more and more demanding to create an effect of resonance with an audience whilst our culture becomes increasingly complex and diverse.

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

I feel very much dependent on the possibilities of performance and publishing, which is not generally a problem, but in some aspects it is indeed. I would like to write more experimental or/and large-scale orchestral pieces. Meanwhile it is interesting how projects surprisingly appear on or aside the way: friends ask for a piece, a publisher is interested in another, poems or sacred texts come by and request for music.