Birgit Ulher

composer-performer, sound artist

Birgit Ulher has been living in Hamburg as a freelance musician, sound artist, and composer since 1982. Born in 1961 in Nuremberg, she initially studied painting and fine arts, which continues to exert a significant influence on her music. Ulher has developed a range of extended playing techniques for the trumpet, allowing her to craft a unique musical language centered around sound. She works with the trumpet, radio, metal foil and everyday objects, to produce electronically resonant sounds using purely acoustic means. Her particular interests lie in microtonal aspects, sound fragmentation, and the spatial dimension of sound. Beyond material exploration, she is deeply intrigued by the relationship between silence and sound.

Since 2006, she has been working with radio sounds fed to speakers, employing them as trumpet mutes. The trumpet simultaneously serves as both transmitter and receiver. Her solo work encompasses compositions with pre-recorded elements, such as "Traces" and "splitting 21" (a collaboration with Michael Maierhof), as well as compositions for sound installations, like "Reveille", created for the sound and light installation 'Wake Up' by Allora & Calzadilla, and concert installations like "Public Transport" and "Robo Tins."

Coming from a background in visual arts, she has cultivated a diverse artistic practice that spans acoustic and electroacoustic projects, solo performances, concert and sound installations, videos, conceptual pieces, and concerts in the realm of improvised/experimental music.

Ulher performs as a soloist and collaborates with a multitude of musicians, dancers, performance artists, and within various interdisciplinary contexts.She participates in international festivals across Europe, Latin America, Australia, and the USA, boasting a discography of approximately 40 CDs.

Selected festivals include Moers Festival, SoundOut, and NOWnow in Australia, Konfrontationen und Kaleidophon in Austria, Tsonami Festival in Chile, Umbral Festival in Mexico, High Zero and FONT Festival in the USA, Warsaw Autumn in Poland, Szünetjel in Hungary, Densités in France, Perspectives in Sweden, and LEM in Spain.

From 1993 to 2001, she organized the Real Time Music Meeting festival and is a co-founder of the Verband für Aktuelle Musik in Hamburg (VAMH).

Since 2008, Birgit Ulher has delivered numerous lectures and workshops at institutions such as SAIC - School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Hochschule für Musik Basel, Queen's University of Belfast, and Galeria Mérida in Mexico, Area Sismica in Italy, among others.

For her artistic work, she has received various scholarships and commissions:
Musikerinitiative Schweiz working scholarship in Boswil with the Ensemble Sixty Five in 1994
Casa Zia Lina in Elba, Italy, Thyll-Dürr Foundation in 2001 and 2003
QO-2 Werkplaats in Brussels in 2010
Künstlerhaus Lukas in Ahrenshoop in 2015
AIR Mexico City - Audition Records in 2016
AIR Krems, Austria in 2017
Hamburger Kulturstiftung in 2020
Dorit & Alexander Otto Stiftung and Hamburgische Kulturstiftung in 2021
2020/21 and 2023 Neustart Stipendium Musikfonds e.V. Berlin.

Commissioned compositions:

"Reveille" for the sound and light installation 'Wake Up' by Allora & Calzadilla, which was presented at the Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago, the Walter and McBean Gallery at San Francisco Art Institute, the Serpentine Gallery in London, Kunsthalle Zürich and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

"Traces" for the sound and light installation "FLOW" by Luftwerk (Goethe Institut in Chicago)

FONT Festival New York: "Bell Miners´ Bridge."


katarakt festival 2023, Hamburg
Alternativa Festival 2022, Prague, Czech Republic
New Adits Festival 2022, Klagenfurt, Austria
Ensemblia Festival 2021, Mönchengladbach
FONT-Festival of New Trumpet Music 2021, New York
Som Desorganizado 2021 / Sonoscopia, Porto, Portugal
XXIII Ciclo de Música Contemporánea 2021, Museo Vostell Malpartida, Spain
Moers Festival 2020, Moers
Soundout Festival 2019, Canberra, Australia
The NOW Now Festival 2019, Sydney, Australia
Make it Up Club 21st Birthday Celebrations 2019, Melbourne, Australia
No Idea Festival, 2018, Austin, Texas
katarakt festival, 2018, with Tritop, Hamburg
Konfrontationen, 2017, Nickelsdorf, Austria
No Idea CDMX, 2017, Mexico
katarakt festival, 2017, with Radio Tweets, Hamburg
Colour out of Space, 2016, Brighton , UK
3nd Anniversary Umbral, 2016, Mexico City and Oaxaca
Mesto žensk Festival, 2016, Ljubljana
Festival Internacional de la Cultura Maya, 2015, Mérida, Yucatan
2nd Anniversary Umbral, 2015, Mexico City and Oaxaca
concepts of doing, 2015, Berlin
katarakt festival, 2015, Hamburg
EUPHORIUM Mini-Festival, 2014, Leipzig
High Zero Festival, 2013, Baltimore,
Sonic Circuits Festival, 2013, Washington D.C.,
Altera Festival, 2013, Naples, Italy
katarakt festival, 2013, with Stark Bewölkt Quartett, Hamburg
Tsonami, 2012, Valparaiso, Chile
Perspectives Festival, 2012, Västeras, Sweden
blurred edges festival, 2012, Hamburg
Teni Zvuka Festival, 2012, St. Petersburg
katarakt festival, 2011, with Nordzucker, Hamburg
Blow Up, 2010, Oslo
Festival Musiques Innovatrices, 2010, St. Etienne,
Seattle Improvised Music Festival, 2010,
Densités Festival, 2009, Wesnes-en-Woevre,
Edgetone New Music Summit, 2008, San Francisco
Soundfield Festival, 2007, Philadelphia
FONT Festival of New Trumpet Music, 2007, New York
Kaleidophon Ulrichsberg, 2007, Austria,
Festival für improvisierte und komponierte zeitgenössische Musik, 2006, Basel
Ausklangfestival, 2006, Hörbar Hamburg
On the Outside Festival, 2006, Newcastle with Daniel Carter, Roy Campbell, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Gail Brand, Pat Thomas and Gerry Hemingway amonst others.
blurred edges, 2006, Hamburg,
i and e Festival, 2006, Dublin,
High Zero Festival, 2005, Baltimore, Maryland,
Plain Music Festival, 2005, Warsaw
Suoni e Sound, 2002, Elba
Festival Unerhört, 2001, Wendland
Jazzwoche Hannover, 2000
Szünetjel Festival, 1999, Budapest (Tim Hodgkinson, Albert Márkos, Johannes Bauer, John Edwards, Rhodri Davies, Dieter Ulrich, Söres Zsolt)
LEM Festival, 1999, Barcelona
Warsaw Autumn, 1998, International Festival of Contemporary Music
European Improvisation Orchestra (with Tim Hodgkinson, Albert Márkos, Martin Klapper, Krzysztof Knittel, Raymond Strid, amongst others) Radio- and TV broadcast
Konstanzer Jazzherbst 1995 und 2001
HumanNoise Congress 1995, Wiesbaden
Jazzfestival Schaffhausen 1995
Rote Fabrik, Zürich 65 (Dorothea Schürch, Marianne Schuppe, Hannah E. Hänni, Co Streiff, Birgit Ulher, Stevie Wishart, Claudia Ulla Binder, Robyn Schulkowsky), Radiobroadcast DRS
Canaille Festival 1992, Frankfurt
Jazzfestival Hannover


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