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Irmin Schmidt & Kumo


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          Irmin Schmidt born in May 1937 received a formal musical education and between 1957 and 1967 he studied under modern composers Karlheinz Stockhausen and Ligeti. Between 1962 and 1969 he conducted numerous orchestras including Wiener Sinfoniker, Bochumer Sinfoniker, Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Norddeutscher Rundfunk Hannover and the Dortmunder Ensemble für Neue Musik, which he founded. Schmidt also worked as a musical director at the Stadttheater Aachen and taught Musicals and Chanson at the Bochum stage school. Schmidt also gave numerous new music recitals and was amongst the first German pianists to interpret the work of John Cage. His compositions "Hexapussy" and "Ilgom" were premiered by Radio Stuttgart in 1967 and 1968 respectively. During this period he also composed music for various film and theatre productions.

His classical career was put on hold after a trip to New York in 1966 exposed him to emerging musical forms and ideas that led to him forming CAN in 1968. As the band's keyboard player, Schmidt's contribution to their groundbreaking career and the evolution of electronic music in general is formidable. When CAN was dissolved in 1978 Schmidt, relocated to the south of France where he established a studio and continued to compose and record over 100 film and television scores, a craft he had already become familiar with both before and during his work with CAN. This work is documented on CAN's "Soundtracks" LP (1970) and on his own solo soundtrack compilation, a 3 CD set entitled "Anthology:Soundtracks 1978 - 1993 "both of which are available on Spoon/Mute. His solo soundtrack features his fellow band mates Micael Karoli (guitar) and Jaki Liebezeit (drums).

In 1981 he worked with Bruno Spoerri and released his first solo LP "Toy Planet" followed by "Musk at Dusk" in 1987. Schmidt rejoined his former colleagues for the reunion album, Rite Time (1989) and followed this with another solo album, "Impossible Holidays" (1991).

In 1993, Schmidt was commissioned to write a fantasy opera based on Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy. The three act opera, with a libretto by Duncan Fallowell, was premiered at Wuppertal Opera House on November 15 1998 excerpts of which were released as a CD on Spoon/Mute in 2000

Thanks to Gormenghast, he met Kumo (UK musician Jono Podmore), sound engineer, producer and specialist in rhythm programming and immediately saw the potential for improvisational collaboration. They performed as Irmin Schmidt and Kumo for the Can solo projects tour. This project also toured events as diverse as the Montreux Jazz Festival, Sonar in Barcelona and the International Jazz festival in London and all to critical acclaim from their respective audiences. In 2001 Irmin Schmidt and Kumo released "Masters of Confusion" on Spoon/Mute.

Like his fellow CAN bandmates, Irmin Schmidt has been taking a keen interest in the re-mastering of CAN material for both the 2003 CAN DVD release and overseeing the re-mastering of the entire CAN back catalogue for re-release on Spoon/Mute.
June 2004 saw a new production of his Gormenghast opera staged at Völklinger Hütte in Saarbrücken, Germany, a colossal steelworks that is now a UNESCO world heritage site, together with performances at the Grand Theatre Luxembourg.

In 2006 - 2007 he composed ballet music for full orchestra commissioned by the Deutschen Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf. In 2008 the ballet was premiered in Düsseldorf and Duisburg.
This year also saw the release of the new Irmin Schmidt & Kumo album "Axolotl Eyes" (released world wide by Spoon/Mute/Warner/P-Vine) and he wrote the soundtrack to the new Wim Wenders film "Palermo Shooting", which is part of the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival 2008.

Biography Details English
Biografie Details Deutsch
Discography & Soundtracks / Discografie und Filmmusiken
Soundtracks / Cinema and Television
Filmmusik / Film und Fernsehen
Soundtracks with Can / Filmmusiken mit Can
Theatre scores Theatrer Theatermusiken
Theatre score with Can Theatermusiken mit Can

Biography Details

1957 - 1964 Studies in Music:
Dortmund Conservatory (Piano and French Horn)
Essen Folkwang Academy (Orchestral conducting: Heinz Dressel, Piano Masterclass: Detlef Kraus, Composition: G. Ligeti)
Darmstadt Summer-school for New Music 1962 & 1963
Mozarteum Salzburg (Orchestral conducting: Istvan Kertesz)
Cologne Music Academy: New Music course (Composition: K.H. Stockhausen, L. Berio, E. Brown and H. Pousseur)
Cologne University: Music ethnology
Awards for Conducting:
Folkwang Leistungs-Preis 1963
1st Prize Mozarteum Salzburg 1964
Bundesauswahl Junger Künstler 1965

1962 - 1969 He conducts numerous orchestral concerts with the Wiener Sinfoniker and Norddeutscher Rundfunk symphony orchestra amongst others, and concert series of contemporary music with the Bochumer Sinfoniker and the Dortmunder Ensemble für Neue Musik which he founded. He performs piano recitals specialising in contemporary music, most noticably bringing the work of John Cage to the German audience.
1966 - 1968 He works as a musical director at the Stadttheater Aachen and teaches musical and chanson singing technique at the Bochum stage school. He also composes music for various film and theatre productions.
1967 His composition Hexapussy premiered in Frankfurt.
1968 His composition Ilgom premiered by Radio Stuttgart.
1968 - 1978 He founds the group Can who he works exclusively with for the next 10 years, releasing 18 albums with extensive international touring. With Can he continues his work for film and television, completing 21 filmscores for directors such as Wim Wenders, Samuel Fuller and Jerzy Skolimowski. In 1971 Can recieves the Goldene Europa award for their score to the German TV series Das Messer and the title song Spoon.
1981 He moves to the south of France, where he sets up his own studio and continues to work as a composer and producer releasing 3 solo albums: Toy Planet (with Bruno Spoerri) 1981, Musk at Dusk 1987, Impossible Holidays 1991, and recording scores for over 70 film and television productions (including the series Rote Erde), and for numerous theatre productions. A triple CD box set Anthology Soundtracks 1995, documents his soundtracks from 1978-1993.
1982 He composes Orchestermusic I-IV commissioned by the city of Hamburg and conducts the orchestra of the Norddeutsche Rundfunk at the premiere in Hamburg.
1994 Under a commission from the Wuppertal Opera House he begins work on the the fantasy-opera Gormenghast, based on Mervyn Peake´s trilogy, libretto by Duncan Fallowell.
1998 15th of November 1998 sees the world premiere of the opera Gormenghast at the Wuppertal Opera House.
1999 February, premiere of Gormenghast at the Musiktheater Gelsenkirchen.
1999 - 2000 He continues writing film scores and performs many concerts in numerous european cities together with Kumo (Jono Podmore: engineer, programmer and sound designer for Gormenghast) as part of Can-Solo-Projects. Work begins on their first album.
2001 After extensive touring in Europe (including the Sonar festival, Barcelona, and the London Jazz Festival) the first Irmin Schmidt and Kumo album Masters of Confusion is released worldwide on Spoon/Mute records in September to unanimous critical praise. Irmin Schmidt and Kumo compose a specially comissioned sound installation Flies, Guys and Choirs for the "elektronic" festival, Barbican Centre, London.
2003 Along with his surviving band-mates receives an Echo lifetime achievement award in Germany.
2003-2005 Continues writing film scores and touring with Kumo (France, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany).
Oversees remastering of the entire CAN catalogue together with Holger Czukay and Jono Podmore (Kumo) for re-release on Spoon/Mute.

2004 Stages his Gormenghast opera at Völklinger Hütte in Saarbrüken, Germany, and at the Grand Théatre Luxembourg.
2005-2006 Continues writing film scores and together with Kumo produces Japanese artist Mito Ichikawa's solo album dot i/o
2006-2007 Composes Ballet music for full orchestra commissioned by the Deutschen Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf - La Fermosa choreographed by Youri Vamos.
2007 Completes the second Irmin Schmidt & Kumo album Axolotl Eyes
Composes another 3 soundtracks.

2008 Release of Irmin Schmidt & Kumo Album Axolotl Eyes
Premieres in Düsseldorf and Duisburg of La Fermosa
Composes Filmscore for the new Wim Wenders film Palermo Shooting (official selection Cannes 2008)


Biografie Deutsch

1957 - 1959 Konservatorium Dortmund Klavier (Fritz Büker) Abschluß: Klavierlehrerdiplom Waldhorn (Orchesterschule)
1959 - 1964 Folkwang Hochschule für Musik Essen Klavier : (Meisterklasse Detlef Kraus) Dirigieren : (Heinz Dressel) Abschluß: Diplom für Orchesterleitung summa cum laude Folkwang Leistungspreis Komposition : (u.a. György Ligeti)
1962 + 1963 Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik
1964 Mozarteum Salzburg : Dirigierkurs Istvan Kertesz Abschluß : 1.Preis
1964 - 1966 Musikhochschule Köln : Kölner Kurse für Neue Musik: Komposition (K.H. Stockhausen, L. Berio, E. Brown, H. Pousseur) Universität Köln : Musikethnologie
1965 Dirigierpreis : Bundesauswahl Junger Künstler 1965
1962 - 1969 zahlreiche Konzerte als Dirigent (u.a. mit Wiener Sinfoniker , Sinfonieorchester des NDR, eine Reihe mit Neuer Musik mit den Bochumer Sinfonikern, sowie mit dem von ihm 1962 gegründeten Dortmunder Ensemble für Neue Musik) und als Pianist (führte als einer der ersten Werke von John Cage in Deutschland auf).
1966 - 1968 Kapellmeister Stadttheater Aachen. Dozent für Musical und Chanson an der Schauspielschule Bochum
1967 Uraufführung der Komposition '"Hexapussy" in Frankfurt
1968 Uraufführung der Kompositon " Ilgom" Radio Stuttgart.
1968 - 1978 gründet die Gruppe CAN und arbeitet 1o Jahre nur mit ihr Veröffentlichung von 18 Alben und umfangreiche internationale Konzerttourneen außerdem Fortsetzung seiner Arbeit für Film- und Fernsehen mit CAN : 21 Filmmusiken u.a. für Wim Wenders, Jerzy Skolimowski, Samuel Fuller
1971 CAN erhält für die Musik zur Serie "Das Messer "und den Titelsong "Spoon" die Goldene Europa
seit 1981 eigenes Studio in Südfrankreich Veröffentlichung von 3 Solo-Alben : "Toy Planet" (mit Bruno Spoerri) 1981, "Musk at Dusk" 1987, "Impossible Holidays" 1991 über 70 Film- und Fernsehmusiken (u.a. 14-teilige Serie "Rote Erde") und mehrere Bühnenmusiken, dokumentiert auf 3 CD-Box : "Anthology Soundtracks 1978 - 1993, erschienen 1995
1982 Kompositionsauftrag der Stadt Hamburg Orchestermusik I - IV : Uraufführung 1982 unter eigener Leitung mit NDR-Rundfunksinfonieorchester
1993 Kompositonsauftrag der Städtischen Bühnen Wuppertal für die Fantasy Oper Gormenghast nach der Trilogie des englischen Autors Mervyn Peake, Libretto:Duncan Fallowell
1998 Welturaufführung der Fantasy Opera Gormenghast, Opernhaus Wuppertal Schillertheater NRW am 15. November 1998
1999 am 20. Februar 1999 Premiere der Fantasy Opera Gormenghast im Musiktheater Gelsenkirchen
1999/2000 als Duo zusammen mit Kumo (Jono Podmore : Toningenieur, Programmer und Sounddesigner für "Gormenghast") Konzerte in mehreren europäischen Städten im Rahmen der "Can-Solo-Projects-Tournee"
2001 Veröffentlichung des Albums "Irmin Schmidt & Kumo: Masters Of Confusion" mit umfangreicher internationaler Konzerttätigkeit (u.a. Barcelona Sonar Festival, London Jazz Festival), Uraufführung der Klanginstallation "Flies, Guys and Choirs" von Irmin Schmidt & Kumo im Barbican Centre in London im Rahmen des Festivals "Elektronic" (Auftragsarbeit)
seit 2002 weiter internationale Konzerttätigkeit des Duos (u.a. Jazz Festival Montreux, Festival Printemps de Bourges, Straßbourg : Festival Musica, Paris : Cité de la Musique)
2002/2007 erneute umfangreiche Tätigkeit für Film- und Fernsehen (22 Filmmusiken)
2003 CAN wird mit dem ECHO für ihr Lebenswerk ausgezeichnet.
2004 Neue Produktion von GORMENGHAST Premiere : Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte 2. Juni 2004 und Grand Theatre Luxembourg Premiere am 1. Juli 2004
2005 Kompositionsauftrag der Deutschen Oper Am Rhein für die Musik zum Ballett "La Fermosa". Libretto u. Choreographie Youri Vamos.
2006 Zusammen mit Kumo Produktion einer Solo-Platte des japanischen Künstlers Mito Ichikawa
2007 Produktion der zweiten Irmin Schmidt and Kumo album "Axolotl Eyes" (Veröffentlichung: Mai 2008).
Weitere 3 Filmmusiken.

2008 Veröffentlichung des neuen Irmin Schmidt & Kumo Albums "Axolotl Eyes"
Premiere in Düsseldorf und Duisburg des Ballett's "La Fermosa"
Schreibt Filmmusik zum neuen Wim Wenders Film "Palermo Shooting" (Cannes Film Festival 2008)



Discography and Soundtracks / Discografie und Filmmusiken
Solo Releases / Solo Veröffentlichungen

1980 FILMMUSIK Vol. 1 (Spoon)
1981 FILMMUSIK Vol. 2 (Spoon)
1983 ROTE ERDE (Teldec)
1984 FILMMUSIK Vol. 3&4 (double CD) (Spoon)
1985 HERR SCHMIDT (Virgin)
1989 FILMMUSIK Vol.5 (Reporter) (Virgin)
1981 TOY PLANET (Spoon/Virgin/Mute)
1987 MUSK AT DUSK (WEA/Spoon/Mute)
1995 ANTHOLOGY - SOUNDTRACKS 1978-1993 (3 Cd boxset) (Spoon/Mute)
2008 IRMIN SCHMIDT & KUMO - AXOLOTL EYES (Spoon/Mute/Warners/P-Vine)


Soundtracks / Cinema and Television
Filmmusik / Film und Fernsehen

1965 Zwei wie wir - (Karl Hamrun)
1978 Messer im Kopf (Reinhard Hauff)
1979 Der Tote bin ich (Alexander von Eschwege)
1980 Im Herzen des Hurrican (Hark Bohm)
1981 Flächenbrand (Alexander von Eschwege)
1980 Endstation Freiheit (Reinhard Hauff)
1981 Die Heimsuchung des Assistenten Jung (Thomas Schamoni)
1982 Der Mann auf der Mauer (Reinhard Hauff)
1984 Flight To Berlin (Christopher Petit)
1983 Ruhe sanft Bruno (Hajo Gies)
1984 Es ist nicht aller Tage Abend (Herbert Wolfertz)
1979 Neues aus Transkastanien (Karlheinz Freynick, TV, 4 Episodes)
1983/1986 Rote Erde I & II (Klaus Emmerich, TV, 14 Episodes)
1985 Kein schöner Land (Klaus Emmerich, TV, 4 Episodes)
1985 Alle Geister kreisen (Peter Przygodda)
1986 Tatort: Freunde (Klaus Emmerich)
1987 Reporter (Klaus Emmerich, TV, 6 Episodes)
1991 Pizza Colonia (Klaus Emmerich)
1993 Tatort: Morlock (Klaus Emmerich)
1995 Der Mörder und sein Kind (Matti Geschonneck)
1995 Die Angst hat eine kalte Hand (Matti Geschonneck)
1992 Negerküsse (Maria Theresia Wagner)
1996 Der rote Schakal (Hajo Gies)
1997 Schimanski: Hart am Limit (Hajo Gies)
1998 Zucker für die Bestie (Markus Fischer)
2002 Bloch 1 - Schwarzer Staub (EdwardHerzog) Bloch 2 - Ein begrabener Hund (Peter Schulze-Rohr)
2003 Bloch 3 - Tausendschönchen (Christoph Stark) Bloch 4 - Silbergraue Augen (Markus O. Rosenmüller) Ich werde immer bei Euch sein (Markus Fischer) Tatort : Wenn Frauen Austern essen (Klaus Emmerich)
2004 Bloch 5 - Ein Fleck auf der Haut (Stephan Wagner) Bloch 6 - Schwestern (Edward Berger Der Stich des Skorpions (Stephan Wagner) Schneeland (Hans W. Geißendörfer) Die Affäre Kaminski (Stephan Wagner)
2005 Bloch 7 - Ein krankes Herz (Michael Hammon) Bloch 8 - Der Freund meiner Tochter (Kilian Riedhof) Bloch 9 - (Michael Hammon)
2006 Bloch 10 - ( René Heisig)
2006-2007 Paparazzo - (Zweiteiler)(Müller & Seelig)
2007 Bloch 11 - (Thorsten Naeter) 2007 Bloch 12 - (Kilian Riedhof) 2007 Einsatz Hamburg : Die Letzte Prüfung - (Stephan Wagner 2007)


Soundtracks with Can
Filmmusiken mit Can

1968 Agilok & Blubbo (Peter Schneider,)
1969 Kamasutra (Kobi Jaeger,)
1969 Mädchen....nur mit Gewalt (Roger Fritz,)
1969 Das Kuckucksei im Gangsternest (Franz-Josef Spicker,)
1970 Millionenspiel Tom Toelle,)
1970 Deadlock (Roland Klick,)
1970 Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski,)
1970 Ein Großer Graublauer Vogel (Thomas Schamoni,)
1970 Cream - Schwabing Report (Leon Capetanos,)
1973 Die letzten Tage von Gomorrha (Helma Sanders,)
1973 Alice in den Städten (Wim Wenders,)
1971 Das Messer (Rolf von Sydow,, 3 Epidodes)
1975 Eurogang (TV-Serie, 4 Episodes)
1972 Tote Taube auf der Beethovenstraße (Samuel Fuller)
1979 Als Diesel geboren (Peter Przygodda)
1991 Until The End Of The World (Contribution to Musical Score/ Wim Wenders,)


Theatre scores Theatrer

1983 LEBEN GRUNDLINGS FRIEDRICH VON PREUSSEN LESSINGS SCHLAF TRAUM SCHREI von Heiner Müller Schillertheater Berlin - Regie: Klaus Emmerich
1985 WALLENSTEIN von F. Schiller Schillertheater Berlin - Regie: Klaus Emmerich
1988 VICTOR ODER DIE KINDER AN DER MACHT von Roger Vitrac Theater der Freien Volksbühne Berlin - Regie: Klaus Emmerich
1992 BAAL von Bertolt Brecht Niedersächsisches Staatstheater Hannover - Regie: Klaus Emmerich
1992 WUNDERWORTE von Valle Inclan Deutsches Theater Berlin - Regie: Armin Holtz


Theatre score with Can
Theatermusiken mit Can

1969 Prometheus (Heiner Müller, Uraufführungm, Schauspielhaus Zürich)