In Memoriam Peter Oswald (1953–2017)

Martin Rummel's picture
published by Martin Rummel
on August 5, 2017

When the news that Peter Oswald had died reached our office, in the morning of Thursday, 3 August 2017, it was one of these bizarre events that are not really a surprise, but nevertheless a shock. Andreas Karl, our COO, who was Mr Oswald's assistant for many years, had spoken to him on the phone only hours before he died. He was recovering from heart surgery in Bad Mitterndorf, and ready to go back home, full of ideas – as most times –, but that was not to happen: A cerebral hemorrhage ended Peter Oswald's life abruptly in the early hours of that Thursday.

 

Much has been said about his professional career in general and his passion for contemporary music and young composers in particular. Working with Peter Oswald was fascinating, yet not always easy: His creative and passionate mind kept wandering between facts and ideas, from projects to utopia and from ideas to deep philosophical questions. Oswald's intellect and knowledge of history, philosophy, music, literature and many other things was mindblowing – a conversation with him could take more energy than going to the gym. We can only imagine what it must have meant for him to be himself, burning with so much intelligence and bursting with so many ideas. His ongoing and increasingly worrying health problems, a constant up and down throughout the decades, might have been an outer symptom for his inner struggle.

 

Of his many adventures and projects, KAIROS is probably the one that has made the biggest ongoing impact on the contemporary music scene worldwide. We are grateful for what he has left us and will be proud to keep his memory in honor. For those fluent in German, "Neue Musik kommentiert" is the best way to remember Peter Oswald's passion for new music and its composers.