Kunsu Shim & Gerhard Stäbler
presented by crow with no mouth
Sept. 4, 2015
Studio Z: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
$12 door admission
crow with no mouth promotions presents German composer Gerhard Stäbler and Korean-born German composer Kunsu Shim in a collaborative electroacoustic performance. crow with no mouth promotions brings vital, seldom-heard music, electro-acoustic composition, and improvisation to Twin Cities audiences.
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Gerhard Stäbler inhabits a world that can be compared to that of his countryman Helmut Lachenmann: a complex and intellectual world with no easy solutions to problems, and an acute awareness that unconsciousness and commercialization threaten on every side. But Gerhard’s music is not like Lachenmann’s: Gerhard enjoys his world with a passion, and sees possibilities for living in all the cracks between things. His revolt against inanity doesn’t result in withdrawal or despair, but instead in action, in making things happen – the awareness of sounds and spaces, the aliveness of moments and movements, even though they may lay among the debris of a damaged society. Better comparisons are perhaps with Dieter Schnebel, or John Cage – both artists deeply admired by him. Like Cage, Gerhard is an energetic shaman of possibility, interested in generating innovation by any means available; like Schnebel, he is a brilliant transformer of existing languages and signifiers – but, like Gerhard himself, he is a clear-eyed, conscious person, aware that we can all exist in our everyday worlds, and always ready to imaginatively project aspects of that awareness onto the people and spaces that are around us.
Gerhard Stäbler was born in 1949 in Wilhelmsdorf, near Ravensburg in southern Germany. In 1968 he began studies in composition at the Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie in Detmold, continuing at the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen, where he studied composition with Nicolaus A. Huber and organ with Gerd Zacher. The Cornelius Cardew Memorial Prize (1982) was the first in a series of awards, prizes, commissions and scholarships he has received. Since the beginning of his career, Stäbler has been active not only as a composer, but also in politics and organization. The Aktive Musik new music festival was founded by Stäbler, and he was artistic director of the 1995 World Music Days of the ISCM, held in the Ruhr. Between 2000 to 2010, Stäbler, together with Kunsu Shim, founded the EarPort Centre for Contemporary Music in Duisburg. Since 2012, the two composers have put together a series of concerts at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and the series Naturally Beautiful! in Benrath Castle.
Kunsu Shim presents his own unique position with a highly diverse oeuvre that not only is comprised of chamber music but also full-scale orchestral works, vocal music and many performances, in recent New Music. While in the beginning of his career as a composer in the 1980s, his composition style could still be described as complex and virtuoso avant-garde, an artistic reorientation took place in the 1990s. This was initiated by Kunsu’s confrontation with the American avant-garde around John Cage on one hand, and on the other by Helmut Lachenmann’s and Nicolaus A. Huber’s musical thinking. With his newly acquired approach he learned to radically restrain himself as the composing subject. Since then Kunsu has written music that is characterized by the omission of language-like and gestural forms of expression as well as extra- und inner-musical associations. The focus on a few essential musical elements now directs the perception towards poesy of the obvious. This poesy comes to bear in Kunsu’s carefully balanced harmonies and can also be found in the abstract beauty of his reposing sound objects. Permitting sound and silence as equals in an ever-changing interaction and, thereby, building a musical whole, Kunsu Shim’s music initiates a calm and harmonious time flow. This flow creates space for a deeper listening, for free breathing and thinking – without excluding the unexpected.
Kunsu Shim was born as the son of re-migrants from Japan on September 15,1958 in Busan, South Korea. The ocean provided the adolescent Shim with the experience of spatial openness and expanse. This notion can be seen later as the basis of his production. He twice won first prizes in a competition for young composers in Busan, at age eighteen and nineteen respectively. From 1979 to 1983 he studied composition with Inyong La (amongst others) at the Yonsei University in Seoul. In 1982 he won the DongA Newspaper prize, followed by the JungAng Newspaper prize in 1983. In 1985 he arrived in Germany, where he studied composition with Helmut Lachenmann in Stuttgart (1987-88).