Mathis Nitschke is an artist who works between disciplines. He combines his studies of classical guitar, visual arts and musical composition with theatre and opera, as well as for some years also coding. In collaboration with artists from various disciplines, Nitschke tries to give contemporary music theatre a new face.
His very diverse output was so far presented at galleries like the Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, or Storage by Hyundai Card, Seoul, cinemas/festivals like the Locarno Film festival, theatres like the Münchner Kammerspiele or Thalia Theater Hamburg and opera houses like the National Opera Montpellier. In his productions as a composing director, he likes to search for hidden or public places, which he transforms – as they are – into theatre stages.
Many of Nitschke’s artistic works reflect on the processes of creating and listening to music. In his musical compositions and productions he often starts with improvised or semi-improvised performances by flesh and blood musicians to capture not only their sounds but also their personality. When it comes to further processing, he likes to proceed experimentally and is a pioneer in new technologies.
As a film and theatre composer, he enjoys the trust of some of the most important artists, writers and directors of our time. At the same time he develops his very own access to music theatre, digitality and art in public space in self-produced works, funded by public and private institutions.
In his collaborations with institutions like the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra or ECM Records he explores the exciting border area to art mediation: He interprets the act of music listening artistically.
In 2015, Mathis Nitschke founded Sofilab, a Munich-based sonic design studio and innovation lab working at the crossroads of art, industry and technology.
After he started out playing the guitar and performing the sound mixing desk, Mathis Nitschke studied visual arts before he finally made his degree in music composition at the Royal Conservatoire Den Haag with Gilius van Bergeijk, Richard Ayres and Clarence Barlow.
Lectures and seminars with, among others, Heiner Goebbels, DJ Spooky, Jean-Luc Nancy, Michel Houellebecq, Mike Figgis, Peter Greenaway and The Brothers Quay during his post-graduate study at the European Graduate School (EGS), Saas-Fee, flanked his education.
Along this way, he developed a strong conceptual approach. He creates opera and music theatre, art installations, films and concerts, which are presented in theatres, galleries and festivals all around the world.
In Mathis Nitschkes works as a theatre maker the spectator not only watches, he is also being watched and takes part in the theatrical situation. In the music theatre trilogy in public space VIOLA / KATHARINA / ISOLDE (2015/16/19) the audience sits in shop windows and looks on the happenings on the square in front of it. At the same time the audience members themselves are exposed in the shop window and pedestrians look at them.
Integrating smartphones and headphones as an integral part of todays public life, Nitschke created an interactive audio tour for promenaders at the Munich river Isar: VERGEHEN (“Passing”, 2017), an opera which one has to walk. It lets the real world interact sonically with the virtual world. In the “Deutsche Bühne” yearbook of 2017, VERGEHEN was nominated in the best stage/space/costume categorie.
In October 2017, MAYA had its premiere: a Mixed-Reality-Techno-Opera in which central questions of post-humanity have been discussed. In the ruins of the heating plant Aubing Nitschke created a virtual cosmos parallel to the real world, on the basis of sound, music, augmented reality technology and digital art, in which the audience could move freely.
With his long-time collaborator light designer and director Urs Schönebaum he created the operas JETZT and HAPPY HAPPY, commissioned by the National Opera Montpellier (2012 and 2014). JETZT earned a nomination for ‘premier of the year’ in the Opernwelt yearbook 2013.
He is currently researching together with experience designers, AI researchers and theatre makers on the question of how to integrate learning machines (= artificial intelligence) as musicians or characters in theatre and publishes on this topic irregularly at https://mlure.art/.
FILM AND DRAMA
Mathis Nitschke works a lot in teams. In 2008, Mathis collaborated with the French author Michel Houellebecq for his movie adaptation ‘The Possibility of an Island’. In 2017, Nitschke composed and produced the music for Martin Farkas’ documentary film “Demmin”, and in 2019 for Christoph Boekel’s documentary film “The maelstrom of war – a family history”.
He regularly works in the most important german-speaking theatres like, among others, Münchner Kammerspiele, Thalia Theater Hamburg, Schauspielhaus Zürich, Burg-/Akademietheater Vienna or Schauspiel Köln with directors like Luk Perceval, Andreas Kriegenburg, Christof Loy, Thomas Jonigk, Ulrike Arnold, Karin Henkel, Christiane Pohle and others. Nitschke has a special interest in working with authors, notably Jonas Lüscher, Thomas Jonigk, Michel Houellebecq and Ulrike Draesner.
His music is often a result of combined improvisational practise. He maintains special working relationships with singers Martina Koppelstetter, Sarah Aristidou and Karen Vourc’h and musicians Santiago Cimadevilla, Anja Lechner, Goska Isphording, Mathis Mayr, Brice Soniano and Klaus-Peter Werani, among others.
In 2015, Mathis Nitschke founded Sofilab, a Munich-based sonic design studio and innovation lab working at the crossroads of art, industry and technology. Sofilab initiates projects and starts research on the topics of digital music practice, media and sound art, interactive communication, industrial sound design and audio-guided appliances.
AND BEYOND THAT
As a live sound designer, Nitschke performs the mixing desk not only in theatres but also at contemporary music performances in concert halls, such as the Musica Viva series of the Bavarian Radio Symphony orchestra. On occasion, in Solo and Ensemble projects, he performs as an improvising sound artist.
Drawing from early experience gained in commercial advertising production (Hastings Audio, Giesing Team) and a succesful career in film post production (Resident Evil, Luther) Nitschke also offers his services to corporations and live-communication agencies, resulting in image films (e.g. for BMW), Sound-ID’s (e.g. Airbus Group) or concert inserts and musical highlights (e.g. Linde Management conference, BMW Excellence in Sales).
He runs the website c.opera.net as a resource for contemporary opera, and he teaches and holds seminars and workshops at various German and Austrian conservatories (e.g. Musikkhochschule Trossingen, Hochschule der populären Künste Berlin, Fachhochschule St. Pölten).
For Celemony Software GmbH he works as the product manager for Capstan, a software for sound restoration which is able to correct wow and flutter purely digitally. He also counsels the company in their new product developments.