Austrian new-music leader dies at 95

The death has been announced of Heinrich Gattermeyer, a choral composer who was head of the Austrian Contemporary Music Society for 11 years and president of the Composers Union for nine.

He was also a sought-after choral conductor.

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  • When I was young I was playing Gattermeyer fanfares on a weekly basis as our school brass ensemble was often called on to play the odd opening or reception. His music was always well received because it managed to sound both modern, clever and entertaining. While often being rhymically challenging, his pieces were usually not too hard to play for students or dedicated amateurs. Usable and useful music in the best sense. I will spend some time now researching his other works.

  • Gattermeyer was a very active teacher too.

    Back in 1981-82 I attended a mandatory conducting class for instrumentalists/music educators under Gattermeyer at the (now called) Vienna Unversity of Music and Performing Arts. Big long class, minimal individual attention, endless talking. On the positive side, he was an erudite and stimulating speaker. He shared very interesting insights about all things musical.

    He also had a nice sense of humor. At the first class, he cautioned us against “nachdirigieren” *: we put on an LP, wave our hands in response to the music, “and Karajan does the job for us”. The whole class broke down laughing.

    nachdirigieren: conducting after the fact.

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