Winther Christensen and Rohloff at Ultraschall Berlin

Christian Winther Christensen and Steingrímur Rohloff are both represented at the contemporary music festival Ultraschall Berlin, which takes place 19-23 January.

Christian Winther Christensen's Piano Concerto is performed by Rundfunk-Sinfoniorchester Berlin and pianist Rei Nakamura, conducted by Bas Wiegers on 20 January. Steingrímur Rohloff's Stresstest is premiered by LUX:NM on 22 January.

Christian Winther Christensen's Piano Concerto is a close-to-silent homage to the piano concerto genre – a work based on clichés in a very quiet universe. Winther Christensen often relates to music history through quotations and intimations and in Piano Concerto the piano functions both as a percussion instrument and as a narrative monster from the past with its big chords in A minor and G Major.

Piano Concerto was premiered in 2019 at Eclat Festival in Stuttgart and received great reviews >>  The work is based on a technique used in some of Winther Christensen’s previous works. The instrument is pre-recorded, and the sound of it only comes out by touching the piano keys without pressing them down. Contact microphones respond to the sound of the pianist’s nails touching the keys, and behind the scenes, a ’ghost pianist’ is playing on a midi keyboard to control the pre-recorded material. 

Steingrímur Rohloff. Photo: Niklas Ottander
Steingrímur Rohloff. Photo: Niklas Ottander

Steingrímur Rohloff tells about his new work Stresstest: "The idea of ​​an imaginary, modern "big band" carries my piece a little bit here. The winds are almost always creating chords in a rhythmic unison. Aesthetically, however, it is also reminiscent of a stubborn “getting stuck” or “lashing down”. Or maybe this is just imaginary “funk music” as I would love it.

The title “Stress-Test” (the work title was even shorter: “Stress ”) expressed my concern about whether the piece could be played without a conductor, but with this luxury ensemble LUX:NM these worries are certainly unnecessary. This is my second work for LUX:NM. My first work "Close relatives" appeared on the ensemble's debut CD and, like the new work, was supported by the Siemens Stiftung."

Both concerts will be broadcast on Deutschlandfunkkultur and rbbKultur.

Find the full programme of Utraschall Berlin here >>