Renald Deppe was born in Bochum in 1955. He is teaching at the Anton Bruckner University Linz (ABPU) and the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MDW).
He studied clarinet and composition at the Folkwang University in Essen and received his further musical education in Berlin and at the University of Music and the Performing Arts, Vienna. He has played saxophone and clarinet in ensembles for classical, contemporary and improvised music.
Deppe was the founder and the artistic director of several festivals and cultural initiatives. Parallel to his work as promoter, curator and concept designer of music projects aside from a mainstream catering to listening habits, Deppe made himself a name as a composer of several commissions.
His work focuses on chamber music, music theatre, graphic-sheet music, interdisciplinary project design, installations and sound graphics. With his ensemble "Capella con Durezza", founded in 1992 and bringing together artists from all kinds of domains due to its varying instrumentation, Deppe systematically develops theme-oriented programmes (Kurt Weill, Charles Mingus, Bert Brecht, Duke Ellington, Second Viennese School, anthem, German Schlager, Hugo Wolf etc.), in which multimedia techniques (film, literature, performance) are employed in addition to jazz embellishments, as well as principles of contemporary music and its improvisation techniques.
As a musician, Deppe performed at several international festivals (Saalfelden, Berlin, Moscow, Sofia, Krakow, Budapest, Rome, St. Petersburg etc.), his graphic sheet music has been displayed repeatedly in galleries.
Here is Honaronline’s exclusive interview with the master:
What musical instruments do you prefer to play?
My instruments are: Clarinet, Saxophon & Piano.
Tell us about folk music in Austria?
In Austria Folk Music has deep roots: it is music for every day, for every situation in our life: funerals, marriages, birth, parties, celebrations, ceremonies… We have Folk Music in/after the church service, on the fields, at home, at the football stadium, at the top of our mountains…at every public place. It’s a very lively thing: it needs no music hall/auditorium, no festival: no other kind of Museum… Austrian classical Art Music was strongly influenced by our Folk Music: Listen to the music of J. Haydn, F. Schubert, W.A. Mozart, J. Brahms, G. Mahler, H. Wolf, A. Berg… In Austria we have an old tradition of Brass-Band Music, in the country and also in towns… This is very important: in a social way (to play & to communicate together) and for all young musicians: they can make a lot of important experiences on the instruments (and hundreds of mistakes). We have also a strong Choir tradition & special String-Music Formations, specially at home…a kind of “Folk Chamber Music” in some regions of the Alps.
How about younger generations? Do they like folk music?
Yes. We have a lot of young musicians which are developing the old things in a modern way. But it doesn’t mean: they are playing “global” Fusion-Folk… Of cause this kind of Supermarket-Music exists also in Austria: especially for tourists… It’s a (dangerous) high commercial game/fake… Good music never dies. It is permanent changing and changing…: as well our Folk Music. But we have to try never to forget/lose our roots: and practice them also…: but not only… In Austria every Music University has one “Folk Music Institute.” It’s ok. But much more important is: to practice Folk Music in “Reality”: at any time, for every occasion, at all public situations and: at home… Much more important than Universities (in every respect) are our public “Music Schools” for children: we have a lot: and they are not expensive (it’s very important): they are financed by our local municipalities…: here you can also learn a lot about Folk Music. These Music Schools are also absolutely necessary for Classical Music too.
Any support from authorities in charge of such activities?
It’s not usual to be encouraged by the “Country”: and until now: it is not necessary… To build up a public “Music School System” of high quality for everyone (with well educated teachers). That’s important/necessary/essential: these things need (enough) money, attention and care…: from the “country”. This is a kind of absolutely necessary “Basic” in our times… “Music Education” for everyone. (Not only for professionals) Otherwise music is getting elitist…: and old, grey, vainglotious, snobby…
Since 1974, you have been to Iran and are familiar with our music. Tell us more on that.
In every country we have musicians which are only interested to earn money. In every country we have musicians which are not interested in education. In every country we have musicians which are too lazy to develop themselves or projects. In every country we have musicians which are not interested to be courageous. In every country we have musicians which are not interested to search new (and old) things. In every country we have not only musicians: we have politicians, professors, scientists, farmers, doctors, workers, priests, wives, husbands, engineers, children and adolescent people…: all kind of friends (and Not-Friends). With all these imperfect aspects, features, qualities, properties, capacities… In every country, in every nation, in every continent, in every family… So: In Iran, Austria, Pakistan, Sweden, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, India, Spain, Afghanistan, Portugal, Syria...: everywhere: the fundamental problematical difficulties are the same… (of course: with different local circumstances…) The most important thing: In every country we need musicians (human beings) who are at all times interested to search/change/protect new (and old) things. Which are interested in permanent education. We need no “Masters”: we need to stay human: that means: to have many defects, imperfections, mistakes… We all have to learn to live with these things. And we all have to work on it at any moment. This is my experience, my certain inside when I’m working in Austria/Iran, west of the moon & east of the sun.
Have you ever had any concert in Iran?
I have a lot of concerts in Iran, alone & together with Iranian Groups/Musicians/Artists. And I’m teaching & learning a lot in Iran (and from Iranians in Austria): since the King of Kings Khosrow II was born.
Recently, you were once in a concert by Aliakbar Ghorbani. How was the experience?
I try to hear this concert not with “European” ears. I try to hear this concert as open minded as possible. I try to enjoy the magic of old Iranian instruments. I try to discover the Iranian Roots in this music. And (I can only speak for myself) the most important question hearing this concert: What were/are they looking/searching for…? In all aspects it will be very interesting (like for every orchestra with folk music traditions): how to manage the long & winding road of new (and old) sounds in artistical terms. I enjoy the concert. And I’m waiting for the future…for the next concerts…, for next questions, because questions are more important than answers.