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Winkelman Helena

(27. 02. 1974)

Winkelman Helena
Winkelman Helena
Hegenheimerstrasse 7
CH-4055 Basel
Schweiz

Tel: +41 (0)76 340 48 62
Internet: www.helenawinkelman.ch

Biography
Helena Winkelman was born into a musical family, her father being a Dutch/Italian flutist, her mother a Swiss harpsichord player.
She showed an exceptional musical talent very early and was educated accordingly. Having won national and international violin competitions at a young age, over the last years she has become a composer with an own distinct voice.
Her interest in jazz and renaissance music had her start composing in a postmodernist way, using different styles of music and switching procedures to create an extremely vital music full of humor and irony, concealing effectively the semantic abysses hiding beneath. (Herrgott und Teufel, 2001, an ensemble work of 33 minutes on the longest German anagram by Thomas Brunnschweiler is a good example)
Her interest in literature, psychology and philosophy do have a huge impact on her writing. Much of her music therefore is based on texts: She used for example the last song of Paradise from Dante Alighieri's Divina Commedia in a 45 minute work for vocal ensemble and three instruments: Canto 33. Her Alphorn concerto is based on an old Romanian Myth "Miorita" (the lamb) and for the Zeitkunst Festival 2011 in Berlin (Radialsystem) and Paris (centre Pompidou) she was putting poems of Tal Nitzan, Johanna Arp, Friederike Mayröcker and Irène Gayraud into music. Also the poems of Ungaretti have been a great source of inspiration for many of her works.
Her discovery of spectralism in works by Gerard Grisey, Georg Friedrich Haas and George Benjamin has fuelled the tireless artistic reinvention of forms and sounds she chooses to work with. "From the Ashes for Ensemble", the Impromptu for piano solo and Stasera for Trombone and piano are good examples. Her love for the spectral sound is also the reason she writes for harp in overtone - tuning. This can be heard in works like "Traumdeutung", Vestibula and Canto 33.
For some years during her studies she worked with the renowned Swiss folk musician Noldi Alder. Since then the influences of this tradition can be heard in her music - particularly in works like Fremdländler, Chill't horn and the Alphorn concerto.
Helena Winkelman has received commissions from the Harvard Musical Association, Boston; the International Music Festival Davos (Crédit Suisse), Switzerland; the Music Academy of Basel, the Sinfonietta Basel, the concert series "Ö" in Chur, the International Society for Contemporary Music Basle, the IMS Prussia Cove, Cornwall, England; the Lucerne Festival, the Münchener chamber orchestra, the Kammerorchester Basel and many soloists like Hansheinz Schneeberger, Thomas Demenga, Dana Ciocarlie, and others.
Her Compositions have been performed by the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Phoenix Basel, Musikfabrik Köln, William Bennett, the Faust Quartet and the Camerata Variabile Basel, her own chamber ensemble.
For her compositions she recieved a grant by KulturRaumSchaffhausen in 2003 and 2007.
Since 1998 she lives and works as a freelance violinist and composer in Basel, Switzerland. In 2008 -2009 she was for one year in London to compose exclusively - made possible by a grant from the foundation Landis & Gyr. For the winter semester 2012 she received a working space in Berlin from the Kanton Schaffhausen.
Helena Winkelman started to compose on a regular basis during a year of study in New York in 1997. Encounters with composer Dr. Philip Lasser (who still holds the teachings of the french Boulanger - school) and Stanley Wolfe were of much importance during this time. Back in Switzerland she studied composition at the Music Academy Basle with Roland Moser (2003- 2007 Diploma) and Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas. (2007-2008) Other musicians and composers with a great influence on her development were: percussionist and composer Pierre Favre with whom she studied for two years in Lucerne, composer György Kurtag whose masterclasses she visited on many occasions and Swiss violinist Hansheinz Schneeberger.


Work list
Immediation (1997)
for violin, tam-tam, Tibetan singing bowls and cymbals
This piece was written within several days and is one of my personal favourites. Since the instruments needed are very specific, no one except myself can perform it – I often use it for my solo recitals. It was premiered by myself at the vernissage of Brigitte Uttar Kornetzky in Altstätten. Although it is called Immediation, it is a great opening piece.
Duration: 3' 30"
Manuscript
"Presto" und "Tacet" (1997)
for piccolo flute, violin, violoncello, piano and percussion
These were the first pieces I wrote when I returned from New York to Basel. Presto and Tacet were premiered at the catholic church of Altstätten, where my friend Brigitte U. Kornetzky had an exhibition. She urged me to write these pieces and "Tacet" is dedicated to her.
Duration: 10' 00"
Manuscript
Rondo with a Janus-Head (2000)
for violin and violoncello
This duo for violin and violoncello is with its light- hearted, jazzy refrains very close to the music of Dave Brubeck, but in its middle sections it very often drifts off into more experimental realms.
Duration: 8' 00"
Manuscript
Herrgott und Teufel (2001)
for 2 speakers, 2 percussionists, 2 shawms, violin, viola, violoncello and piano
This piece is probably the craziest thing I have done so far. It is dedicated to the two "Thomas's" that were involved in its creation: Thomas Brunnschweiler, who wrote the anagram that forms the basis of the piece, and Thomas Demenga who actually asked me to perform it at the International Music Festival of Davos. The first performance was in the old great room of the "Schatzalp" hotel near Davos and the players were: Samuel Wettstein, piano; Matthias Würsch and Daniel Stalder, percussion; Stéphanie Meyer, violoncello, Raphael Sachs, viola; Helena Winkelman, violin; Ann Allen and Isacco Colombo, shawms; Christoph Dangel and Lucas Roessner, speakers. They were all absolutely great, putting together an unbelievably hard piece in a very short time.
Duration: 33' 00"
Manuscript
Golem (2001)
for violin, tamtam, and two zymbals
"Golem" is a very dark piece - it has been written immediately after attacks on New York on September 11th 2001. Nevertheless there are very few dissonances since the Tamtam and Zymbals won't resonate with them. It is dedicated to my father with whom I usually play it.
Duration: 8' 00"
Manuscript
Gravitation I and II (2001-2002)
for violin and piano
"Gravitation I" is dedicated to Hansheinz Schneeberger. "Gravitation II I wrote a year later. It is a very extreme piece with its high technical and musical demands.
Duration: 13' 00"
Manuscript
VBG (fallen from the Mountain) (2001)
for violin and piano
This piece was written for Isabelle Ladewig, a friend and colleague of mine. The name of this piece originates from her falling from a mountain just before she should have come to Paris to play string quartet with me. It was premiered by her and Jan Schultz in Dec. 2001 in Winterthur.
Duration: 9' 00"
Manuscript
Two Miniatures on poems by Paul Celan (2002)
for violin and viola
Die Ewigkeiten
Der von unbeschriebenen Blättern abgelesene Brief
Duration: 5' 00"
Manuscript
Ciaccona (2002)
for violin solo
This piece is dedicated to Chiara Banchini. It is actually written for a Baroque violin, but it can also be performed on a modern instrument. The original template contained a recurring bass, which remains in wide sections of this piece - this harmonic anchor only dissolves into a virtuosic flageolet passage in the middle section.
Duration: 6' 00"
Manuscript
Ligaturae (2002)
for violin, tamtam, Tibetan sounding bowls (4) and a little bell
"Ligaturae" is a quiet meditation on a succession of I, IV, V ,I (played by Tibetanian bowls) It is dedicated to my mother Regula Winkelman.
Duration: 7' 00"
Manuscript
Sink (2003)
for orchestra, hapsichord and altus
Duration: 7' 00"
Manuscript
Rota Orat Taro Ator (2005)
for violin and piano
A work commissioned by the Harvard Musical Association, Boston. Performed in Boston and New York (Weill recital hall). Recorded by Radio WBGH Boston. A very difficult piece for both performers. It is based on a game of Tarot Cards - so the creative process had - at least in character and structure an aleatoric element.
Duration: 15' 00"
Manuscript
Fremdländler (2006)
for clarinet, violin, viola, cello, bass and Hackbrett
This work was written for the camerata variabile basle and first performed in october 2006 at the Gare du Nord, Basle. It is based on Franz Hohler's story "s'totemügerli", which is a nightmarish tale finding place in the mountains. It is told my made - up words, where the meaning can only be guessed. So also the music uses a lot of Swiss folk music materials twisted, quoted and abused in many different forms. It is a fun piece but very hard to play well.
Duration: 15' 00"
Manuscript
From the Ashes (2006)
for ensemble (celesta, harpsichord (amplified), old synthesizer (amplified), percussion/timpani, piccolo/alto flute/bass flute, eb-clarinet/bass clarinet/contrabass clarinet, trombone and alphorn/horn)
This piece is about the phoenix myth and the planet constellations of the first of July.
Duration: 45' 00"
Manuscript
Dante: Aus dem Inferno, fünfter Gesang (2006)
for violin solo and effect apparatus
This work is the first piece of a series of works that have yet to be written - in the end it will be a kind of cyclus for different instruments in different formations - all based on Dantes Divina Commedia. It is a project that will take years to complete.
Duration: 10' 00"
Manuscript
5 Haiku (2007)
for bass-baritone, string trio and guitar
These short pieces are dedicated to the great Swiss singer Kurt Widmer. They are very thoughtfully crafted miniatures, my most intense attempt to make philosophical thought communicate through musical structures.
Duration: 14' 00"
Manuscript
Canto 33 (2007)
for vocal ensemble (solo countertenor, 9 male voices, 9 female voices) and three instruments (harp, percussion and contrabass clarinet)
Texts: Dante Alighieri
My first sacred work. This piece is based on the 33rd song of paradise (Divina Commedia) by Dante Alighieri. It is a very demanding work for the choir as it is very spectral and contains microtonal passages.
Duration: 45' 00"
Manuscript
Impromptu (2007)
for piano solo
This spectralist piano work was written for french pianist Dana Ciocarlie.
Duration: 12' 00"
Manuscript
Vers l'ouvert (towards the open) (2008)
for orchestra
This is my first orchestral work, a commission by the Basel Sinfonietta. It is based on an experiment with associative lines of thought. It is a very demanding work for the orchestra. The basic harmonic concept is mainly spectral.
Duration: 16' 00"
Manuscript
Stasera (heute abend) (2008)
for trombone and piano
"Stasera" is the title of a peom by Giuseppe Ungaretti.
Duration: 16' 00"
Manuscript
Pulsed Rainbow (2008)
for organ and dancers
Duration: 9' 00"
Manuscript
Praelu-Duell (2008)
for 2 Violinists in tails
A piece which demands quite some acting skills of the players - one has to act dying (falling with the fiddle while playing needs some practicing) the other needs to shoot his opponent. Quite dramatic and incredibly funny. It is dedicated to my old friend and mentor Hansheinz Schneeberger with whom I also play it.
Duration: 10' 00"
Manuscript
Song of the Reed (2008)
for alto flute/piccolo and string quartet
A huge quintet based on a wonderful Poem by Rumi (13th century, Persia). The melodic material is derived from three Indian raags (Puriya Danashri, Marwa and Iman Kalyan). Spectralism is once again of great importance - as is polymetrics.
Duration: 30' 00"
Manuscript
Appel à la licorne (2008)
for 12 hunting horns and one french horn
It is a commission by the festival of the forests, close to Paris. It could not be performed, because of its rhythmical difficulties and the fact that most of the players there don't read music. One year later it was played by professional natural horn players and it was great fun.
Duration: 4' 30"
Manuscript
Scenes of a marriage (2008)
for soprano saxophone and bass clarinet
This piece is a musical joke and a very personal wedding present to Karin Dornbusch (clarinet) and Sascha Armbruster (saxophone). The piece musically portrays individual characteristics of these two musicians and some of the things couples love doing together like: conversation, touch, copulation, sleep, fights... the succession of these activities can be freely determined by the players while performing.
Duration: 7' 00"
Manuscript
Sehnsuchtslied (2008)
for soprano and piano
Texts: Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger
This lied is based on a poem by Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger. It is dedicated to my composition teacher Roland Moser.
Duration: 7' 00"
Manuscript
FOLLIA (2008)
for recorder(s), bass viol and harpsichord
This piece is dedicated to the American writer and poet Eloise Segal who was a dear friend during my stay in New York at a student. The piece is very much in reference to a short and important conversation we had, shortly before her death.
Duration: 15' 00"
Manuscript
Vestibula (2009)
for harp in overtone-tuning, clarinet(s), flute(s)
It is based on six Poems by Giuseppe Ungaretti, a poet very close to my heart whose poetry I know already for a long time. These six miniatures are very particular - and I like their strange sound - resulting from the overtone tuning of the harp - very much. They are as emotinal as they are alien(ating). They are all dedicated to personalities which have been of great importance for my musical development: György und Marta Kurtag, Claudio Abbado, Klaus Unger, Edwin Villiger, Hansheinz Schneeberger, Georg Friedrich Haas.
Duration: 16' 00"
Manuscript
Trio "Moirai" (2009)
for violin, cello and piano
This trio is based on the three mythological women, Klotho, Lachesis, Atropos. Klotho spins the thread of life, Lachesis measures it and Atropos cuts it off - so they are the three agents of destiny. It is a complex and very challenging trio.
Duration: 25' 00"
Manuscript
String trio "Per correr miglior acqua" (2009)
This string trio is based on the first canto of the "Purgatorio" by Dante Alighieri's "Divina Commedia". It therewith is part of my (life) long project to put possibly much of Dantes divina commedia into music - always using different groups/instruments/settings - according to the poem.
Manuscript
Satanica (2010)
Chamber opera / music theatre
for bass-baritone and actress, piccolo/flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, percussion, bandoneon, piano (scordatura) synthesizers, double bass, violin and live electronics (Max)
Duration: 45' 00"
Manuscript
Extravagancia (2010)
Chamber opera
for mezzo-soprano, bass-baritone and an ensemble of 7 musicians: bandoneon, sythesizer, clarinet/s, flute/s, double bass, violin and percussion (set, mallets, timp)
Based on a piece by Rafael Spregelburd, Buenos Aires.
Duration: 90' 00"
Manuscript
Chill't Horn und Quodli Beat (2010)
for dulcimer, clarinet, violin, viola, double bass
Two short works for an ensemble of folk musicians (with some experience in contemporary music). "Chill't Horn" is very slow with a lot of harmonics - a scordatura of the string instruments is needed. "Quodli Beat" makes fun of Techno music. It is based on different folk dances from my home town of Schaffhausen. Both pieces need pickups. Reverb apparatus is needed for "Chill't Horn" and simple amplification for "Quodli Beat".
Duration: 12' 00"
Manuscript
In an old park (2010)
for marimbaphone, pf, s/a sax, acn, e-gtr, perc
This piece features parts of an old waltz from St.Gallen and houses, in addition to trees, birds, a pavillon, overgrown pathways and other things, a forest monster...therefore not for the fainthearted...
Duration: 16' 00"
Manuscript
Quadriga Quartett (2011)
for string quartet
String Quartet in 4 Movements.
First movement: all four strings in unison.
Second movement: only two voice counterpoint in a devilishly fast SCHERZO.
Third movement: on Mandelstam poems (fragments) is throughout 4-voice counterpoint and polymetrics.
The fourth Movement is almost entirely set in 8 voices- often in parallel motion.
It is very very demanding for the performers - technically and in synchronisation.
Duration: 26' 00"
Manuscript
Sic amicus amicum fugit - Trio (2011)
for horn, violin and piano
Duration: 11' 00"
Manuscript
Baumgespräch (Tree Talk) (2011)
for two solo celli and chamber orchestra (strings only, but min. 5.4.3.3.1)
Duration: 11' 00"
Manuscript
Traumdeutung (Interpretation of dreams) (2011)
for harp in overtone tuning, clarinet, flute and string quartet
Texts: Johanna Arp, Irène Gayraud, Friederike Mayröcker, Tal Nitzan
Four poems of four poetesses - Johanna Arp, Irène Gayraud, Friederike Mayröcker and Tal Nitzan were the basis of four short, fragile and haunting pieces. The compositions use the texts as a living element during the performance. Ideally the poetesses read them while the pieces are played.
Duration: 20' 00"
Manuscript
Miorita (2011)
Double Concerto
for alphorn, trumpet, büchel and cow horns
Can be extended by 40 minutes: A prologue to the actual performance of this piece exists as a graphical score and allows the participation of children. This extension uses similar materials to the double concertos and some of the orchestra members and soloists also take part in it.
Duration: 20' 00"
Manuscript
Bandes Dessinées (2012)
for chamber orchestra (strings only - min. 6.5.4.3.1)
A very fun and virtuosic piece about three hungry animals. It is based on a graphic sketch which I drew in 10 minutes for a string trio of friends in Amsterdam who asked their audience for graphic scores and then would sightread/improvise them on the spot.
Duration: 15' 00"
Manuscript
Resonance of rock (Felsenresonanz) (2012)
for string trio, sheng (Chinese mouth organ), daegum (Korean bamboo flute) and changgu (Korean drum)
Duration: 11' 00"
Manuscript
Zauber und Bannsprüche aus alter Zeit (2013)
for vocal ensemble (8 female voices) and instruments (dulcimer, vn, vc, db, cornett, perc)
Texts: Traditionelle Texte aus Lettland und der Schweiz
Duration: 38' 00"
Manuscript
4 Danses suisses (2013)
for four-handed piano
Duration: 14' 00"
Manuscript
Repertory
Helena Winkelman: Praelu-Duell for 2 Violinists in tails
Helena Winkelman: Appel à la licorne for 12 hunting horns and one french horn
Helena Winkelman: Extravagancia for mezzo-soprano, bass-baritone and an ensemble of 7 musicians: bandoneon, sythesizer, clarinet/s, flute/s, double bass, violin and percussion (set, mallets, timp)
Helena Winkelman: Chill't Horn und Quodli Beat for dulcimer, clarinet, violin, viola, double bass
Helena Winkelman: Satanica for bass-baritone and actress, piccolo/flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, percussion, bandoneon, piano (scordatura) synthesizers, double bass, violin and live electronics (Max)
Helena Winkelman: Sehnsuchtslied for soprano and piano
Helena Winkelman: Baumgespräch (Tree Talk) for two solo celli and chamber orchestra (strings only, but min. 5.4.3.3.1)
Helena Winkelman: Pulsed Rainbow for organ and dancers
Helena Winkelman: Gravitation I and II for violin and piano
Helena Winkelman: Canto 33 for vocal ensemble (solo countertenor, 9 male voices, 9 female voices) and three instruments (harp, percussion and contrabass clarinet)
Helena Winkelman: Sink for orchestra, hapsichord and altus
Helena Winkelman: Impromptu for piano solo
Helena Winkelman: FOLLIA for recorder(s), bass viol and harpsichord
Helena Winkelman: Quadriga Quartett for string quartet
Helena Winkelman: In an old park for marimbaphone, pf, s/a sax, acn, e-gtr, perc
Helena Winkelman: Trio "Moirai" for violin, cello and piano
Helena Winkelman: Stasera (heute abend) for trombone and piano
Helena Winkelman: From the Ashes for ensemble (celesta, harpsichord (amplified), old synthesizer (amplified), percussion/timpani, piccolo/alto flute/bass flute, eb-clarinet/bass clarinet/contrabass clarinet, trombone and alphorn/horn)
Helena Winkelman: Rondo with a Janus-Head for violin and violoncello
Helena Winkelman: Fremdländler for clarinet, violin, viola, cello, bass and Hackbrett
Helena Winkelman: Vestibula for harp in overtone-tuning, clarinet(s), flute(s)
Helena Winkelman: Herrgott und Teufel for 2 speakers, 2 percussionists, 2 shawms, violin, viola, violoncello and piano
Helena Winkelman: "Presto" und "Tacet" for piccolo flute, violin, violoncello, piano and percussion
Helena Winkelman: Song of the Reed for alto flute/piccolo and string quartet
Helena Winkelman: Resonance of rock (Felsenresonanz) for string trio, sheng (Chinese mouth organ), daegum (Korean bamboo flute) and changgu (Korean drum)
Helena Winkelman: Rota Orat Taro Ator for violin and piano
Helena Winkelman: Golem for violin, tamtam, and two zymbals
Helena Winkelman: Bandes Dessinées for chamber orchestra (strings only - min. 6.5.4.3.1)
Helena Winkelman: Traumdeutung (Interpretation of dreams) for harp in overtone tuning, clarinet, flute and string quartet
Helena Winkelman: Immediation for violin, tam-tam, Tibetan singing bowls and cymbals
Helena Winkelman: Ligaturae for violin, tamtam, Tibetan sounding bowls (4) and a little bell
Helena Winkelman: Miorita for alphorn, trumpet, büchel and cow horns
Helena Winkelman: 5 Haiku for bass-baritone, string trio and guitar
Helena Winkelman: Ciaccona for violin solo
Helena Winkelman: Dante: Aus dem Inferno, fünfter Gesang for violin solo and effect apparatus
Helena Winkelman: Scenes of a marriage for soprano saxophone and bass clarinet
Diskographie
Bibliography
Gartmann, Thomas: "Ich möchte weg von der Fixierung auf klanglich-figurative Oberflächen". Im Gespräch mit der Komponistin Helena Winkelman, in: TonAufTon 1 (2012), S. 4 – 5
Fatton, Andreas: Explosives Stilgemisch. Helena Winkelmans Bühnenprojekt "Envidia" in der Basler Gare du Nord, in: Dissonanz 113 (2011), S. 79-80 [Internet]