Hans Otte

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Hans Otte born Hans Günther Franz Otte (December 3, 1926, Plauen – December 25, 2007, Bremen) was a German composer, pianist, radio promoter, and author of many pieces of musical theatre, sound installations, poems, drawings, and art videos. From 1959 to 1984 he served as music director for Radio Bremen. From the early 1960s onwards, Otte frequently presented contemporary experimental American composers in his Bremen radio festival pro musica nova, among them in those days completely unknown people like John Cage, David Tudor, Terry Riley, and Lamonte Young. From 1959 on, Otte lived and worked in Bremen, Germany. His catalogue of works contains more than 100 works.

Hans Otte had studied in Germany, Italy, and at Yale University in the United States. His teachers included the composer Paul Hindemith and the pianist Walter Gieseking.

Some of Otte's works, especially his extended suites for solo piano, are characterized by very minimal means but are nevertheless quite subtle and sophisticated in their architecture and expression. Das Buch der Klänge (The Book of Sounds, 1979–82) and Stundenbuch (Book of Hours, 1991–98) are his best known works in this vein, and Otte often performed them himself. His last public recital was given in Amsterdam in 1999. Recordings of these works, with Otte as performer, are available on CD.

In his works, Otte drew significantly on European and Asian spirituality, integrating various prayers into the fabric of the music.

In 1991 his work "KlangHaus" became a permanent interactive sound installation in the Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen in Bremen, Germany.[1]

Pianist, composer and sound artist Hans Otte is still undervalued in Europe, and the Anglo-American cultural scene just starts to notice him, as Ingo Ahmels states in his bilingual study »Hans Otte – Klang der Klaenge/Sound of Sounds« (book+DVD+cd, Schott, ISBN 978-3-7957-0586-2). Dr. Ahmels' study of his biography and artistic work highlights Otte’s view of life and his aesthetical orientation, providing the fundamentals for an adequate reception.

At the centre of the book are the solo piano cycles »Das Buch der Klänge« (The Book of Sounds, 1979–82) and »Stundenbuch« (Hours Book, 1991–98) as well as the related sound installations »Atemobjekt« (Breath Object, 1970) and »NamenKlang« (NameSound, 1995).

In addition, the publication includes digital media containing sound examples and excerpts from the Otte Media Pool (OMP), and for the first time the authorized catalog of works (Otte Werkverzeichnis, or OWV). (See external links)

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