Born in Vienna, 15 Aug 1960. Austrian composer, improviser and performer. He attended the Vienna Musikhochschule (1979--87), where he studied with Friedrich Cerha and Dieter Kaufmann, among others. He also studied musicology and art history at the University of Vienna (doctorate 1989; thesis published as “Das Synthese-Denken bei Anton Webern”, Tutzing 1991). Active as a double bassist until 1984, he played in chamber and experimental jazz ensembles. As a composer he has contributed to the Projekt 3 composition programming environment of Gottfried Michael Koenig at Utrecht and Arnheim (1988-89) which later transformed into his own “Realtime Composition Library” (RTC-lib) for Max/MSP/Jitter. Essl also served as composer-in-residence at the Darmstadt summer courses (1990-94) and completed a commission for IRCAM. Between 1995-2006 he was teaching “Computer-Aided Composition” at Anton Bruckner Private University, Linz. Professor of composition at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts as of 2007.
Essl’s compositions result from confrontations between ordered, abstract models and original tonal, expressive structures. He has frequently sought to combine music with other genres and has collaborated with the graffiti artist Harald Naegeli, the writer Andreas Okopenko and the artists’ group Libraries of the Mind (Lexikon-Sonate, 1992-2004), the architect Carmen Wiederin (Klanglabyrinth, 1992-95) and the video artist Vibeke Sorensen (MindShipMind, 1996 - a multimedia installation for the Internet). During the 1990s he carried out many additional projects for the Internet and became increasingly involved with improvisation. In 2003, he was artist-in-residence of the festival “musik aktuell” , and in 2004 he was presented with a series of at the Brucknerhaus Linz.
Besides writing instrumental music, Karlheinz Essl also works in the field of electronic music, interactive realtime compositions and sound installations. He develops software environments for algorithmic composition and acts as a performer and improviser. Most of his compositions are published by TONOS (Darmstadt).
Improvisation with Computers: Karlheinz Essl about design and usage of his software instrument m@ze°2 (Jan 2006)
Improvisation on "Improvisation": Karlheinz Essl in discussion with the artist Jack Hauser (Feb 2002)
NET MUSIC: Karlheinz Essl talking to Golo Föllmer about using the Internet as a media for composition (Dec 2000)
fLOW - ambient sound scape generator
REplay PLAYer - generative sound file shredder
Lexikon-Sonate - algorithmic music generator
SEELEWASCHEN - generative sound environment
FontanaMixer - generative sound environment
Playing Strategies - generates playing instructions
WebernUhrWerk - generative music generator NEW
/License: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeriv/
Electronic music performed live by Karlheinz Essl on his computer-based instrument m@ze°2.