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Archetypical Career of the Classical Composer

The Natural Creation of Music by the Classical Composer

Astronomy of Mind


Peter Hübner
Founder of the
Micro Music Laboratories




  Music Education
Archetypical career of the classical composer                       page 1 2 3 4 5
JOURNALIST: Would you say that the time at the music academy in Cologne was useful to you?

PETER HUEBNER: Yes. Absolutely. On one hand, I was able to work there in the electronic studio. On the other hand, Prof. Zimmermann also confirmed my general mental attitude to music, and possibly made sure that the then head of the cultural department of Cologne, Kurt Hackenberg, supported me financially when I set up my own electronic studio.

JOURNALIST: What was the attitude of the academy’s management towards you?

PETER HUEBNER: On the whole very good. However, the academy tried to impose a single task on me, this was my participation in the academy’s choir. However, in 1966 I then opted out of some choral work.

The principal and deputy principal of the academy warned me several times, supposedly a lesson was cancelled in the main subject, and they also threatened that further non-compliance with the commitment I had taken towards the academy would lead to even stricter measures and would finally mean having my name removed from the academy’s register.

Finally, the principal of the academy invited me into his office and begged me almost on his knees to take part in the academy’s choir. He admitted that nobody wanted to join the choir, but if they let me get away with it, everybody would refer to me and nobody would turn up. And this would be a breach of the academy’s rules.

The academy and also the ministry for the arts and sciences had already made an exception with me by exempting me from all lessons. But would I please, for heaven’s sake, go to the choir. Once a week for 2 hours. He could not justify it in front of the other students if I didn’t go. The whole choir was in danger of falling apart.

JOURNALIST: And what was your reaction?

PETER HUEBNER: I replied that first of all I had never committed myself in any way to the academy, and that therefore it was his problem alone to solve this matter and not mine. I also regarded it as a violation of my mind to sing this ridiculous song – I’d perhaps come when there were other things on the agenda. But I couldn’t act against my conscience, because it was clear to me that this would also be the end of my career, and he couldn’t ask me to do this, neither could the minister for the arts – nobody could.

Then he threatened to throw me out of the academy. I told him that this was also his problem alone and that of the minister for the arts and not mine. They should do what they thought was right. But it might be possible that I was the only one to bring some form of praise to the academy one day and to give justification to the academy’s existence. It was true that I couldn’t be absolutely sure that I was the only one in many decades, but I could promise him, I was one of them. And I didn’t care one bit what decision they would make – I would definitely not go to the coir.

JOURNALIST: And what happened then?

PETER HUEBNER: I didn’t go to the choir, I never went to the choir again, I was also never asked again to go to the choir, neither was I thrown out of the academy. I never heard anything again in this matter, and the existence of the academy’s choir has also so far coped with my absence.

JOURNALIST: When did you finish your time at the academy of music in Cologne?

PETER HUEBNER: I was registered at the academy until 1969 in order to use the electronic studio.

JOURNALIST: Until this very day you have not let yourself be linked to any national institution – why?

PETER HUEBNER: When Professor Zimmermann once asked me: “What do you intend to do later?”, I told him I would like to live as a free composer – for reasons of a free musical development. He told me that he agreed with this opinion, but that unfortunately, he had so far not managed to live on his work as a free composer, and that this was the reason why, at least for the time being, he still had to work as a professor.

And my philosophical discussions with him which – as already previously mentioned – only marginally touched on music, led in my opinion to more fertile inspiration than all the nonsense that is intended for the subject composition in the official academy curriculum.
If today I am able to make a living with my music as a free-lance composer, I don’t seriously believe that I am better than Bernd Alois Zimmermann.
But only the fact that, following my research into the microcosm of music, I turned to harmonical music, has lead to a large part of my music being harmonious today. It therefore reaches a wider audience, and I earn so much from the sale of CDs that I can make a living on this.
But I don’t regard these earnings as an expression of my musical quality, because in these present superficial times, a musical dead loss is also able to earn an enormous amount in light music.

I can only wish that all serious composers – who live, think and also compose according to their very own personal ethical conviction – can make a living out of their work as free composers.

This also applies for the avant-garde, even if I myself – looking at it superficially – am taking the opposite way. What links me to quite a few of them, is the fact that I, like them, in my life, thinking and musical work am only committed to my very own conscience. That, of course, also links me to Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Herbert Eimert, and not least to Richard Wagner, Beethoven, Bach and some of the other old ones.
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  With kind permission of AAR EDITION INTERNATIONAL