HOME BACKdeutsch

 

biography

 

Understanding the tragedy of our time as a spiritual crisis, we gradually come to realize the place and destiny of humanity within the ecology of our planet. In the age of modernism, music was supposed to reflect primarily the brokenness of existence and thus to participate in an increasing imbalance. A paradigmatic shift is needed to heal our society with systemic wisdom. It requires what the music of today refuses to offer: a precise analogy to human experience in a holistic sense. In practice, this means that the conflict which we have perceived outside of ourselves must first be reconciled inwardly. The potential to such an achievement lies dormant in the natural tone-ratios of harmonic music: a logical drama to integrate the dissonances in our relationships.

Stefan Pohlit, preface to "Rain" (2016-17)

 

Stefan Pohlit, born in 1976, grew up in an environment influenced by church music and initially pursued a career as a trumpet player. He received his first composition lessons from Róbert Wittinger and then studied with Theo Brandmüller (Saarbrücken), Detlev Müller-Siemens & Roland Moser (Basel), Gilbert Amy & Marco Stroppa (Lyon), and, until 2005, with Wolfgang Rihm, Sandeep Bhagwati, and Peter-Michael Riehm (Karlsruhe).

Stefan Pohlit’s music is deeply influenced by his search for musical meaning in which the exploration of tuning and harmonic structures becomes an expression of an existential struggle with identity. In 1997, during his study in Basel, he took additional lessons in classical music of Northern India from Ken Zuckerman at the Ali Akbar Khan College Switzerland. His understanding of musical contents was most notably affected since 1999 during his study with Prof. Peter-Michael Riehm (1947-2007), a visionary pedagogist who can be associated with Steiner’s Anthroposophy. In his works, he explores the discreet connections between musical substance and the decisive spiritual and social intersections of our time.  While reconsidering tonal relationships as a form of logical dramaturgy, he equally aims to transcend the Occidental symphonic tradition through the study of various oriental and ancient traditions – in rediscovering Hans Kayser’s neo-Pythagorean Harmonics as a secret science. Likewise, his music casts ethical-humanitarian doubt on the automatisation of contemporary life which it investigates in its complex play of relationships.

sketch for a self-portrait in oil, 1998

 

Pohlit's works have been performed in numerous countries and at various festivals, by the Stuttgart (SWR) and Saarbrücken (SR) radio symphony orchestras, ensembles such as "Phoenix" (Basel), "Reconsil" (Vienna), "Musikfabrik" (Köln), "Adapter" (Berlin), "Hezarfen" (Istanbul), "UMS 'n JIP" (Basel-Brig),  the Stadler Quartet (Salzburg), the JACK Quartet (Chicago), and the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, among others.

  Paris, 1993       "Grünes Selbstportrait", 1997       Sahara, 2002

When his mother, Gertie Pohlit, served as administrator of the Künstlerhaus (House of Artists) of Edenkoben, he had regular contact with renowned musicians, writers, and plastic artists. In 1993, he was awarded with the Composition Price of the German Composers’ Interests Association. The same year, he was invited to Paris by the famous Argentinean pianist Jorge Zulueta (Grupo Acción Instrumental) to work for him at the Société Franz Schreker. An artistic scholarship was later modeled upon the example of this collaboration by the Ministry of Culture of the German federal state of Rheinland-Pfalz and would be granted to Stefan Pohlit himself in 1996 by minister Rose Götte. During his early years of study, he undertook numerous journeys to the East, such as to Bulgaria on writer Emil Stoyanov's (the brother of the Bulgarian President) and to Bucarest where he stayed as famous poet Mircea Dinescu's guest. In 1999, he began to study Arabic and Islam.

He traveled through the Middle and the Far East, studied at Institut Bourguiba in Tunis, and got in touch with various Sufi traditions, such as the Naqschbandiyyah and the Mevlevi. In 2001 he visited the famous Dergah of Menzil (SE Anatolia), at a time  when this area was still considered restricted.

In 2003, a research grant from the Baden-Württemberg State Foundation brought him for a longer period to Turkey as the guest and last student of the famous Turkish composer Nevit Kodallı (1924-2009). He also visited the music research centre MİAM (Istanbul Technical University) and the Folk Music Archives of the Republic of Turkey in Ankara. In 2007, he moved to Istanbul as a doctoral student with a DAAD scholarship. Upon invitation by Prof. Turgay Erdener, he was temporarily hired as a foreign expert for new music at the Ankara State Conservatory - in a position which can be traced to Paul Hindemith’s assignment by the Turkish state in the 1930’s. In 2011, he received his Ph. D. with a dissertation on a revolutionary tuning system proposed by the world-famous virtuoso of the Middle-Eastern qānūn, Julien Jalâl Ed-Dine Weiss (1953-2015) with whom he equally collaborated on the completion of the latter’s last composition.  From 2012 to 2014, he worked as a teacher for Composition and Theory with the rank of an Assistant Professor at the Istanbul State Conservatory of Turkish Music (TU Istanbul). Thanks to his contacts, he enabled two major collaboration projects between the TU Istanbul and renowned European ensembles for contemporary music. At the Istanbul Technical University he became prosecuted by a politically motivated administration and the target of numerous assaults. Illegally dismissed, he, nevertheless, won a court case in Istanbul which has since been respected as seminal precedent  from wihich many academics in Turkey can profit.  After moving to Urla on the Aegean shore for a few years, Stefan Pohlit has returned - for now - to Germany in September 2018. 

key words: # neo-pythagoreanism # microtonality # just intonation # transculturalism  # musical anthropology # esoteric science

He is the non-identical twin brother of composer and conductor Hannes Pohlit and cousin-nephew of biophysicist Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Pohlit (1928-2005) and immunologist Dr. Helmut Pohlit.