Prof. Robert HP Platz

Composition | Direction Ensemble New Music
Office hours: by arrangement

Robert HP Platz was born in Baden-Baden in 1951. In 1970 he began to study music theory, piano and conducting in Freiburg/Breisgau. Studies in composition with Wolfgang Fortner and musicology with Elmar Budde followed, as well as parapsychology with Hans Bender for a time. In 1973 he moved to Cologne to study with Karlheinz Stockhausen. In 1977 he completed his conductor training with Francis Travis in Freiburg.

In 1978 and 1979 Platz received a scholarship from the Heinrich Strobel Foundation of the Südwestfunk and then lived for a long time in the USA and Paris. In 1980 he attended a computer course for composers at the IRCAM in Paris. There he created the playback tape for his piece Chlebnicov for chamber ensemble and tape (1980), which was premiered at the Brussels IGNM Festival in 1981.

From 1980 to 2001 Platz directed the Ensemble Köln in Cologne, which he founded. Composers such as Scelsi, Xenakis, Kagel, Hosokawa, Sylvano Bussotti and Klaus Huber wrote for the ensemble, which specializes in contemporary music. In guest conducting engagements, Platz has worked with ensembles and orchestras such as the Ensemble Modern, the Klangforum and the Vienna Series, the Deutsches Symphonieorchester, the Rundfunksinfonieorchester des WDR, the two SWR symphony orchestras Freiburg/Baden-Baden and Stuttgart, the Radiophilharmonie des NDR Hannover, the Niederrheinischen Symphoniker, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg or even the Bayerische Staatsoper.

In 1989/90 Platz lived in the Künstlerhof Schreyahn, where he wrote the multipart work SCHREYAHN for solo cello, flute, trumpet, soprano, two pianos and winds. In 1990, at the invitation of the Rockefeller Foundation, he spent several weeks as composer in residence at Villa Serbelloni. Two years later followed an extended stay in Japan. In 1996/98, up down strange charm was commissioned by the Akiyoshidai Festival, the Schömerhaus Klosterneuburg (Wien Modern) and the WDR (complete premiere in Witten).

Since 1989, Platz's compositions have been parts of a diary-like body of work that continues in associative leaps, distributed in space, polyphonically interpenetrating and overarching ("form polyphony"). Platz has a strong affinity for painting, which is very evident in his second music-theatrical work Dunkles Haus.

A first volume of collected writings under the title Schriften zur Musik 1979-93 was published by the Cologne-based Feedback-Verlag (1993). A second volume and a collection of writings on Robert HP Platz are in preparation by Pfau-Verlag, and the book Die Spieltechnik der Violine / The Techniques of Violin Playing with Irvine Arditti (Bärenreiter) was published on June 12, 2013.

Lecturing and teaching activities took Platz to many European countries, as well as the USA and Japan. In 1986-1996 and again in 2002 he was a lecturer at the Darmstadt Summer Courses. He gave master classes in Japan, Poland, the Netherlands, Mexico, Indonesia and the USA.

He acted as artistic director of the Schreyahner Herbst Festival between 2000 and 2008, and since 2005 he has been a member of the Bureau du Directeur of the Electronic Studio Centre de Recherche et Formation Musicale de Wallonie CRFMW, Liège. With the beginning of the winter semester 2013/2014 Robert HP Platz holds a professorship for composition and ensemble conducting new music at the HfM Würzburg.

Robert HP Platz lives in Cologne.