Krüger, Matthias

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born in Ulm, he grew up in Brussels and Trier. He studied music composition at Cologne’s High School of Music and Dance and at Columbia University in New York City, as well as French language in Cologne and Sorbonne University in Paris. He is currently a PhD student at Hamburg’s University of Music and theatre, spending the upcoming year at the Cursus for Composition and Computer Music at the IRCAM in Paris. His principal composition teachers have included Krzysztof Meyer, Fabien Lévy, and Johannes Schöllhorn. He attended festivals such as the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt (2010) and impuls Academy in Graz (2011), and has drawn inspiration from masterclasses and personal encounters with composers such as Hans Abrahamsen, Mark André, Georges Aperghis, Chaya Czernowin, Georg Friedrich Haas, José-María Sánchez-Verdú, and Vladimir Tarnopolski as well as the Composition Seminar of New York University with Nils Vigeland. 

He has received numerous awards and scholarships, including from the DAAD, German National Academic Foundation, Berlin’s Mendelssohn Competition (2013), B. A. Zimmermann Award in Cologne (2015), Chevillion-Bonnaud Composition Prize of the 12th Orléans International Piano Competition (2016) as well as a nomination for the Gaudeamus Award (2018) and repeated nominations for the Young Artists’ Promotion Award of North Rhine-Westphalia. Supported by the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia, he spent the fall of 2015 as an artist-in-residence in Istanbul and travelled to Aotearoa / New Zealand in 2018 on a two-month research grant to gain a deeper insight into kaupapa Māori, kapa haka, and taonga puoro. Between 2014 and 2018 he worked part-time at the Institute of Musicology of Bonn University. He also spent the summer of 2020 at a three-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. 

He received commissions from WDR (Musik der Zeit), Westfalen Classics 2017, NewTalents Biennale Cologne 2014, and Young Euro Classic Berlin 2013, among others, as well as from soloists Xavier Larsson Paez (saxophone), Claudia Chan (piano) and Krisztián Palágyi (accordion). His music has been performed by the WDR Symphony Orchestra, ensembles such as Recherche, ascolta, inverspace, Ma’alot wind quintet, hand werk, mam.manufaktur für aktuelle musik, BRuCH, Fukio, IEMA, Slagwerk Den Haag, Oerknal, PluralEnsemble, and Meitar, as well as soloists such as Werner Dickel, Neus Estarellas Calderón, Patrick Stadler, and Imri Talgam, in Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA, Canada, China and Japan, as part of festivals such as Eclat, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Royaumont, Shanghai New Music Week, Northwestern University New Music Conference, and Mallorca Saxophone Festival, at venues such as Konzerthaus Berlin, WDR Funkhaus Cologne, Palau de la Música Catalana, and Carnegie Hall. 

His music has been featured on German radio stations such as Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandradio Kultur, HR 2, SWR 2, WDR 3, and KölnCampus. In June 2018 Deutschlandfunk dedicated a portrait feature about his music. In January 2017 his composition LAL (First Draft) has been released on ensemble hand werk’s first album Kurzwelle. In October 2021 the CD label WERGO will release a portrait CD of his music as part of the series Edition Zeitgenössische Musik. 

His musical interests revolve primarily around the in-between of the abstract magic of sonic structures and the concrete confrontation with one’s own body, yearnings and obsessions; it focuses on the musician as a human being who is confronted with their personal limits and uncertainties, working their way through them in constant, not least physical agitation in an ever-lasting quest for identity and redemption. He is currently based in Cologne where he works as a composer. 

Selected works: 4 Épigrammes for piano (2007), Le Dormeur du Val, song to Rimbaud’s sonnet for soprano, cello and piano (2008), ɛx•isto•ire for orchestra (2009), Voûte déborde le gaz for piano (2009), Tiraillementsfor eight instruments (2009), conTemp[s] lations for organ (2010), à portée de souffle for saxophone quartet (2010–11), recital pour une femme seule for woman, 4-channel tape and talkbox (2011), Festinger’s Færce for baritone saxophone and electronics (2012), the machinery I have made for bass clarinet, cello, grand piano and other agencies (2012), torque for 14 instruments (2013), wisp for thundersheet and jazz brushes (2013), fuckin’ A! for alto saxophone (2014), WIMP for six musicians and prepared double-bell trumpet / alphorn (2014), rast for eight trombones and church interior (2013; version for museum interior, 2014), Wie ein Stück Fett (Redux) for voice and prepared piano (2015; version for soprano, alto flute / piccolo, prepared cello and prepared piano, 2016), renkfor grand piano (2015), LAL (First Dra ) for flute / piccolo, bass clarinet, tulum, percussion, amateur accordionist, violin and microtonal melodicas (2015), Hier war Blau, hier war Gelb, hier war Grün for flute, clarinet and grand piano (2016), Patterns, patterns, oh, to break those chains for wind quintet (2017), K.P. and his angel for accordion (2017), Kommt her, Sternschnupper for prepared flute, prepared baritone saxophone, synthesizer, percussion and analogue electronics (2018), Dance of the Dream Men for percussion quartet (2018), nun schauervoll einmaling blickt es mich an for viola and accordion (2015–19), bellygoat boom for orchestra (2019), le vide à perdre for prepared trumpet, prepared trombone, bass drum, percussion, synthesizer, electric guitar, electric cello and electronics (2016–19), ce n’est qu’en nageant nu for piano (2019), craving your kiss for large hybrid ensemble (2020), sweep over me them dusty bristles, “musical situation” after Nietzsche, Freud, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Fats Waller, Parov Stelar and Da Punk for five musicians and electronics (2018–20), The incomparable milk of Wonder for double bass octet (2020–21).