Manfred Stahnke - Sechstes Streichquartett

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My 6th string quartet is dedicated to a philosopher from the baroque era, Jakob Böhme from Görlitz, at the Polish-German border, very much influenced by a new approach to nature as a huge being of itself. The music is built on a harmonic world of integer numbers, creating a kind of difference tone world close to what happens in the inner ear when we hear intervals. I am influenced by my teacher Ben Johnston, Urbana, Illnois, where I studied 1979/80, and his work of string quartets in Just Intonation. And also by my Hamburg teacher György Ligeti who wanted to integrate aspects of folk music and sometimes Jazz into his music.

Composer: Manfred Stahnke

Composer photo
Photo of Manfred Stahnke

Manfred Stahnke was born in Kiel, 30 October 1951. In his childhood he began to learn violin, piano, and music theory. 1970-74 he went to Freiburg to Prof. Wolfgang Fortner, later Prof. Klaus Huber and his then-assistant Brian Ferneyhough. He began a parallel study of musicology with Prof. Dr. Hans-Heinrich Eggebrecht and others. From 1974 on he continued his studies in composition and musicology in Hamburg with Prof. György Ligeti and Prof. Dr. Constantin Floros, finishing with the PHD degree at the Hamburg University. The subject of his thesis were the Aesthetics of Pierre Boulez. 1979-80 he went to the U.S.A., to study microtonality and computermusic (Urbana/Champaign, Prof. Ben Johnston, and then Stanford, Prof. John Chowning).

From 1983 on he was a teacher at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, from 1988 on as professor for composition. Stahnke's works have a strong basis on microtonality. Among them are several operas: "The Fall of the House of Usher", "Henry the Fourth", "Orpheus Kristall", orchestra pieces and concertos: "The Mandelbrot Tree", "Trace of the Sorcerers", "Violin Symphony", "Scales of Ages" for Saxophone & Orchestra, and a lot of chamber music. He published several books, among them "1001 Microtones" 2015, "Mein Blick auf Ligeti & Partch" 2017. He was a lecturer and led master classes in many countries worldwide, among them Chicago, Boston, Wellington (New Zealand), Buenos Aires, Cluj (Romania) 2016, Oslo 2017.