Ascenseur pour l’échafaud – by the great french director Louis Malle. Paris. Jeanne Moreau stumbling through the night … Rain … Grainy black and white … then … THE MUSIC … Miles Davis.
I was 16 and living in the middle of Germany. Thought about studying physics … or something with … After watching this I wanted to write filmmusic. And play jazz.
And that’s what I did, studying the double bass at the best music university of the country. Immediatly I was busy: Big Band, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, … Suddenly Kurt Edelhagen (German equivalent of Quincy Jones) wanted me for his Big Band. And Friedrich Gulda. With Don Cherry. I played with Sagmeister and Küttner – two crazies of my own age – and the Goethe Institut sent us around the whole world.
But, … I still wanted to write my own music….
An incredible coincidence, … I shared an Appartement with a graphic designer for germany’s biggest tv station: WDR. Not next floor, but next room! And one day she asked me if I’d like to write a bit of music for them. And that I did. Hundreds of jingles, beds, documentaries, ….
But, … I still wanted to play jazz ….
Manfred Schoof – my Professor – wanted me for his band. And told Klaus Doldinger about me. Suddenly I was in Munich all the time. And played with PASSPORT. And Brian Auger. And Art Farmer, Billy Cobham, Alphonse Mouzon…. With Alex Schlippenbach I played Carnegie Hall.
But, … Ascenseur pour l’échafaud … I still wanted to write film scores. Not just playing Doldinger’s und Schoof“s soundtracks in the studios. As much fun as that was….
But that was difficult in Cologne. So I moved to Munich full time, …. and was immediatly booked for three movies by germany’s top director Jo Baier. And Konrad Sabrautzky. And Xaver Schwarzenberger, Olaf Kreinsen, Caroline Link, …. who I travvelled to the Oscars with in 1996. Our movie Beyond Silence was nominated! But the Oscar we were to get just a few years later for Nowhere in Africa. When we didn’t fly to Hollywood….
Writing the score for more than 200 feature films is impossible while working as a touring musician.
The old guys have a (german) saying: „You write, you stay!“
So I focused on composing. I also wanted to have a family. Very difficult for touring musicians, not so much for a stay at home composer.
Since then I live in Schlehdorf, right next (20 meters) to the alpine mountains. And to balance the brain-centric composing I am an active member in the Bavarian Mountain Rescue.
Writing music is not so different to writing scripts. Conducting has similarities to directing. 2010 I won two US film awards as a director – but 2014 an executive of ZDF, told me I am too old for directing…..
Strange, … at 59 I thought I was slowly joining this broadcasters audience age group….
So I am back playing concerts. With my own film scores. And writing new scores. An getting elected onto the board of GEMA.
Because …. Ascenseur pour l’échafaud … I still want to play Jazz. And write film music.