Portrait: Eva Reiter

Eva Reiter was born in Vienna and studied recorder and viola da gamba at the University for Music and Dramatic Arts.   She has a unique and varied performance practice, playing in numerous ensembles as a freelance musician in both early and contemporary music. Reiter is often involved in the performance of her compositions, and her work is heavily influenced by an eclectic approach to preparations of instruments, creating new sonic experiences for the interpreters involved.

Her compositional output is so far tailored towards small instrumental groups with electronics, drawn from her own rigour and experience as a soloist.  Reiter’s fascination in working with samples, machine sounds, motor loops is both an auditory and visual aesthetic, often differentiated against the sonic potential of the prepared instruments.  It is hard to recognise what is pre-recorded and what emanates live from the prepared instrumental constructions.  It borders on a machine aesthetic that is rhythmically processing a vital force in real-time, despite extensive measures in delay between an acoustic performance reality and micro sound colours generated through the use of microphones.  It is not a trance quality that drives the sound, it is more a wilful grabbing of sounds and palettes and a determination to order them according to rhythmic structures.

After finishing her studies in Vienna with honours she attended the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam, where she concentrated on contemporary composition, again completing her masters with honours. Her compositions have won a number of awards, for instance the SKE “Publicity Prize” in 2006, the “Queen Marie José International Composition Prize” in 2008, grants of the City of Vienna (2008) and the Federal Chancellery for the Arts, the 2nd Prize in the International Composition Competition of the City of Gmünd, Carinthia, and a starting grant from the Federal Chancellery for the Arts (Startstipendium), a working stipend at the “Akademie Schloss Solitude”. In 2009 her piece Alle Verbindungen gelten nur jetzt was one of the works selected for the Rostrum of Composers (IRC). The composers she has collaborated with and whose works she has premiered include Fausto Romitelli, Paolo Pachini, Bernhard Gander, Burkhard Friedrich, Gerd Kühr, Jorge Sánchez-Chiong, Agostino di Scipio, Francesco Filidei, Claire-Mélanie Sinnhuber, Giorgio Klauer, Raphaël Cendo, Marco Momi and Christian Fennesz.

Eva Reiter – Konter by mica

She is active as a soloist in contemporary music projects including Trio Elastic3 (with Tom Pauwels and Paolo Pachini), Duo BAND, with electric guitarist Yaron Deutsch and as a guest soloist with ensembles such as Klangforum Wien and Ictus Ensemble.  She has performed her own works at the festival Transit in Leuven, in the generator concert series at the Wiener Konzerthaus, at the Wien Modern festival, where in 2009 they featured her as “Fokus Eva Reiter” presenting the oeuvre of her work till now, the ISCM World New Music Days in Stuttgart in 2006, and the festival Ars Musica 2007 in Brussels. In 2008 Jeunesse Wien in collaboration with the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) organised a portrait concert in the main studio of the ORF.  Other national and international festivals include Münchener Biennale, Steirischer Herbst, Musikprotokoll im Steirischen Herbst Graz, Festival Unlimited Wels, Grabenfesttage Wien, Tage Alter music Berlin, Tage Alter music Regensburg, Wandelweiser and Cadenze Den Haag.

Her early music projects include the Netherlands Bach (Nederlandse Bachvereeniging), Ensemble Mikado, Le Baninage, Unidas where she works as a soloist and guest performer.  She has also played as a soloist with orchestras such as the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bruckner Orchestra Linz, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and is regularly invited by various festivals and schools to teach classes on early music.   With Ensemble Mikado (Vienna) she won the IYAP award in August 2004.  Her participation in various CD productions include Edition Wandelweiser Records, Channel Classics, ORF-Edition Alte music, Gramola.

Her pieces so far have often evolved out of interest in a sonic representation of physical states, for example Nasszelle (plumbing unit) for Paetzold Contrabass Recorder and Tape (2006) which explores the different layers of sounds in the process, those heard and unheard, of the decay of crystals in water molecules when ice melts.   In the melting of a crystal material, Reiter sees that the decomposition of a musical order is served: the musical material is what is exposed when the temperature influences and changes the matter.  When reaching the freezing temperature at the end of the piece, the micro structures of the newly formed crystals appear.  This piece moves very consciously along a knife’s edge between acoustic and electronic music, where the samples, machine sounds, motor loops lose their former cool, quasi raw properties and become modelled into a form of a sound sculpture, in the process of composing and in the particular performance situation where they are transformed in a contrapuntal construction of tape and live-sound.  It is almost rendered into a machine-like state by the necessary precision of timing between the live part and the tape, which is in some ways highlights the hidden but very present click-track construct often necessary for such a performance to be realised.

Exploring the thin line between acoustic and electronic music seems to be a characteristic of all my compositions. Attention is paid above all to the kind of material that creates the illusion of electronic sounds. Controlling and reflecting these processes, indeed cultivating a critical attitude towards my own work, is to me a fascinating and welcome challenge. Eva Reiter,  2011