Miscellaneous News

Premiere of «four stars and one dark nebula» in Oldenburg

Within the frame of the «23. Lange Nacht der Musik» my piano piece »four stars and one dark nebula« will be premiered by the German pianist Annette Kurz in Oldenburg on June 17. The work was awarded a second prize in the 21st Carl von Ossietzky Kompositionswettbewerb organised by the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg.

A primary goal of the composition competition was to find and present new works that are ideally suitet for discovering experimental playing techniques and expanding a student’s pianistic skills in that respect:

Die eingesendeten Werke sollen von geschulten Laien bzw. interessierten Klavierstudierenden gut zu lesen und aufführbar sein, um die Literatur experimenteller Spielweisen am Tasteninstrument kennenzulernen und als Erweiterungen des Klangspektrums erfahrbar zu machen.

Admittingly most of my piano pieces are quite hard to learn and require solid pianistic abilities in many ways—however, everything I write remains perfectly playable and several of my compositions have been staged by students thus far. It is very important to me that on the one hand no compromises are made with regard to what it takes to create a certain soundscape: If it means to be techically difficult it will simply turn out to become an arduous piece to learn—so what. We take things seriously and practising takes a lot of time, but if we love what we’re doing professionally, we love practising something very hard whenever the outcome is good.

On the other hand, I keep striving towards being a ‹friendly composer› in terms of notation. Perhaps, because of creating graphical works as an artist as well, I am definitely not interested in complexifying my scores graphically. That’s old school in my opinion, we have had that since the 60s of the very past century and I feel there isn’t any need to emulate this tradition any longer.

I’m really happy that my attempt of creating a piece that conveys my personal language uncompromisingly while being still attractive for young and less experienced piano students to learn was awarded a prize in composition. It means a lot to me, because if our music is not eligible for young musicians at all, they will just keep loving the old pieces forever, but not the new ones.

Miscellaneous News

«four stars and one dark nebula» awarded in Oldenburg

A short piano piece of mine with the title four stars and one dark nebula was awarded the second prize at the 21st Ossietzky-Kompositionswettbewerb in Oldenburg, Germany. The successfully submitted works of this year’s composition will be premiered in the summer term next year at the University of Oldenburg that carried out the international composition competition.

This year’s prize in composition was awarded to works for experimentally played piano (with or without live electronics). The selected works should be of medium difficulty in order to be playable by talented music students.

I’m very happy that my submitted work could persuade the jury. In the recent years, several works of mine have been played by music students and I really believe that it is important for composers to be able to write high-class music that can be played also by musicians not yet specialised in contemporary music. It requires our scores to be notated in a very clear and appealing way at the first place, too. I do feel honoured that one of my works has now been quasi officially lauded for being especially eligible as an educational work.

Miscellaneous News

«Jeux de lumière» in Regensburg and Vienna

A page of «Jeux de lumière»

The cellist and composer Tomasz Skweres will play «Jeux de lumière» for violoncello on October 16 and 28

There are two concerts coming up in October which I am particularly looking forward to: It’s a great honour for a composer when a truly excellent fellow composer such as Tomasz Skweres has decided to stage one of your solo pieces. Mr. Skweres is an award winning composer whose music is capable of capturing and affecting huge audiences while being very progressive and challenging in its compositional syntax at the same time. I do consider him one of the very best living composers of my generation.

Many great composers have been extremely good musicians as well. Think of Grieg, Brahms or Messiaen. I daresay that Tomasz Skweres contributes to this tradition, being the solo cellist of the Theter Regensburg’s orchestra and having played lots of solo recitals didicated to contemporary music.


On October 16, Tomasz Skweres will play my work Jeux de lumière at the Theater Regensburg in Germany. That seems like an ideal place for this piece which requires a dark stage and a strong light in order to project the player’s silhouette onto a wall during its performance. I’m really looking forward to listening to and watching this performance in Regensburg alongside works by Kérome Naulais, Rainer Stegmann and others.


On October 28, Tomasz Skweres will give a recital with music by Mateusz Ryczek, Manuela Kerer, Daniel Oliver Moser, Wolfgang Liebhart, Adam PorÄ™bski, Christoph Renhart and Tomasz Skweres at Vienna’s Alte Schmiede. The admission to this concert will be free—don’t miss the chance to visit the event. The Alte Schmiede offers a live stream too (please check their website) in case you’d like to join from outside Vienna.


Jeux de lumière was composed in 2015, thus being quite an old work of mine already. I wrote the piece for a recital organized by the ÖGZM. Having been completely discontent with the piece after its premiere, I thoroughly revised it in 2017 and … abandoned it. So it fell asleep somehow and I thought it will just add to the many skeletons in my cupboard (unplayed pieces). Recently it mysteriously awoke from its hibernation after winning an international call for scores by a Japanese cellist in 2021. Thanks to the fabulous interpretation of Hugo Paiva in Leipzig in the past December, I have placed new confidence in this piece. Originally I thought some of the virtuous textures simply would not work out as expected, but thankfully Hugo’s stunning performance proved me wrong. Writing a solo piece that requires virtuosity to a great extent for an instrument one does not play very well or one does not play at all (such as me and the cello) is always a balancing act. It’s very easy to write something completely unplayable, however it is not a good strategy to avoid making mistakes or to compose rather cautiously, too. Putting one’s head above the parapet is somehow necessary when a composer does not intend to repeat him/herself. I strongly believe that composing has got a lot to do with honesty. Not hiding behind something that we know would work out well, but trying to find new and personal ways and never stop studying the many possibilities any instrument offers. We have to risk unplayable pieces, there is no other way, I’m sure. In short, Jeux de lumière turned out to be a risky piece, both for the performer and its composer, and today I have made my peace with it.

«Jeux de lumière» played by Hugo Paiva in Leipzig
Miscellaneous News

Concert and lecture in Leipzig

On December 7, 2021 I will have the pleasure of following an invitation by the composer Bernd Franke to give a lecture at the University of Leipzig in the course of which I will present several compositions of mine. An introduction to my compositional language, my aesthetical strategies and thoughts about the shades of harmonical clarity in my works will be at the centre of the lecture. After it a lecture concert will take place at the Grieg Meeting Place (Grieg Begegnungsstätte Leipzig). In this concert, the Scottish pianist Gregor Forbes will perform the second book of XXI Orakel der Nacht and the cellist Hugo Paiva will play Jeux de lumière. I’m very much looking forward to enjoying this event and working together with the two outstanding musicians as well as talking about my music and discussing with the students in Leipzig.

See also:
Grieg Begegnungsstätte Leipzig
XXI Orakel der Nacht – Zweites Heft
Jeux de lumière

Orchestra Work

drei splitter des nordlichts

drei splitter des nordlichts
for symphonic orchestra (2016)

Das dreisätzige Werk für Orchester entwucherte wie riesige Farnblätter den Knollen meines Klavierzyklus »Aurora«. In einer utopischen Landschaft Klang gewordener Lichtfiguren atmet die Flora den Regen aus pastellenen Blau- und Grüntönen und lässt den Schwall aus Tropfen durch die Register des Urwalds hallen. Wir hören darin die Poesie der Regenfarben, die sich über das Blattwerk bis hinein ins dürre Geäst ergießt und das Rauschen des zerflossenen Nordlichts. Verzaubert von den Stimmen der Urgewächse kommen wir auf der Straße nach Ostia an den Rand des unendlichen Meeres.



9 minutes


April 22, 2017 â€¢ Weimar, Schießhaus • Jenaer Philharmonie • Markus L. Frank