7. May 2021

Dirk Wietheger – 20 years of Ensemble Musikfabrik

Dirk Wietheger has been a member of the Ensemble Musikfabrik since April 2001. After supporting the ensemble as a guest musician from January, the cellist made his debut as a member on May 15 of the same year with a portrait concert of Christoph Staude at the Alte Feuerwache in Cologne.

How did you get involved with Ensemble Musikfabrik and contemporary music in general?

That story is actually pretty unspectacular. I was looking for a job and was here for an audition, which was ultimately successful. But it was also a good fit, because I had already been very interested in contemporary music during my studies. At that time, I had participated in the ensemble of the Hanover University of Music and got to know many classics of contemporary music – for example Webern, Xenakis, Scelsi, Berio, Lachenmann. However, I was not determined to work in new music as a career. So I’m even happier to have ended up here, because I felt very comfortable from the very beginning.

Looking back on the last twenty years – is there an event that has particularly stuck in your memory?

This question makes me think directly of Mauricio Kagel, with whom we worked very intensively until his death. There were always wonderful concerts and tours with him as conductor. That was formative, because his personality fascinated me very much. I especially liked how enthusiastic he was about his own music. I think that when you compose or are artistic in general, you really have to love what you do. And he was able to convey this love incredibly well. He was and is a very great role model for me.

Are there any pieces or composers you would love to play in the next twenty years?

I could think of a few. I haven’t played all of the aforementioned classics by a long shot. The literature is so diverse that it is very difficult for me to decide. A solo piece would be “Nomos Alpha” by Xenakis, for example, because Xenakis is also a very important composer and it is fascinating to me how he combines structure and emotion. People often think that music has to be emotional – and in a way it is – but he, as a trained architect, has brought a great deal of rigor and structure into his music – nothing arbitrary – and it is precisely this that creates a very special power.

You just mentioned that you feel very comfortable in the ensemble. What makes the ensemble so special for you?

In the ensemble we are very different characters and personalities, but we maintain an extremely pleasant community. You are not only accepted here for who you are, but also: Just as you are personally, you are also needed here and can contribute. That is not a given and is a very, very nice feeling.

Interview: Julia Mädrich