Austria’s Young Composers: Judith Unterpertinger

Judith Unterpertinger primarily moves in the areas of improvisation, composition and performance art. She studied composition, piano and philosophy and was part of ensembles such as Der böse Zustand, Fruitmarket Gallery or Tütü. Among other things, the multifaceted artist also composed for the Janus Ensemble and the Koehne Quartet.


Judith Unterpertinger lives by the personal and artistic motto “I don’t have to do anything.” Consequently, she does not have to adapt to any mainstream – and it is definitely working for her. In her uncompromising investigations of mechanical, emotional and urban forms, she oscillates in the tension between composition, improvisation and performance. Depending on the composition or the commissioner, she adjusts the degree of freedom in order to achieve the desired expression. Even after her studies in composition and philosophy, she has never limited herself to either one of these fields, especially because the interaction with other people is essential for her. Therefore Unterpertinger, who also studied jazz piano (however has turned away from jazz for the moment), plays in ensembles such as, Fruitmarket Gallery (under Pritper-Tingerchard), duounbre and others. The borders between contemporary music, industrial, and other styles are just as well crossed as those between different art forms.

Furthermore, Unterpertinger takes pictures of people through the window of a coffee house and uses these photographs as a guideline for her compositions. She also sets the texts of Gerhard Rühm and Hertha Kräftner to music and works together with the choreographer and dancer Katharina Weinhuber.

Important Compositions

“The House … (part I) … of Leaves (part II)”

for two voices, (bass) flute, (bass) clarinet, the staircase of the ACF in London
(Premiere 2008 at Soundings/London)

“quasi amore love fields”
Promenade concert for 5 voices, chamber orchestra and two conductors
(Premiere 2009 at Klangspuren)


for string quartet and electronics
(Premiere 2010 at Klangspuren)



Photo Credit: Judith Unterpertinger © Christine Hinterkörner