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The Electronic Studio at the Technical University (TU) in Berlin celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2004. The conditions for an electronic music studio began to materialize around 1949 when Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt assumed his professorship in music history and expanded in 1952 with the initiative to establish a Master Sound Engineer program in Berlin.

Initially the task was to introduce samples of music and sound into lectures, using audiotape players and record players in a specially designed »studio lecture room.« However, Fritz Winckel, lecturer in the music history department since 1952, had more in mind. In 1954 he organized a series of lectures on the topic of »music and technology« in which it is likely that Berlin’s very first electronic concert was held. Beginning in the winter semester of 1954/55 he offered the lecture entitled »Studio Technology« and enabled the first studio production, specifically for the »Mechanisches Theater« (Mechanical Theater), a puppet show created by Harry Kramer in the Galerie Springer on Kurfürstendamm, with tape music in the style of Musique concrète and composed by Wilfried Schröpfer

The succeeding years were distinguished by organizational work and fundraising efforts for the creation of a research and production studio. In an exemplary act of initiative, Winckel managed to construct a »universal mixing desk« and fashion the first of the studio devices (laboratory and measuring devices, magnetophone, various filters, etc.). In 1957 he was named Professor and began lecturing on the scientific basis of language and music. In 1958 Boris Blacher began to experiment with the possibilities the studio offered. Around 1961, the spatial, technological and personnel-related aspects of the studio were merged and it became possible to initiate an archive for »experimental« music and organize regular industry exhibitions for studio technology. With Blacher as his guest, Stuckenschmidt began the first in his legendary exhibition series »Musik im technischen Zeitalter« (Music in the Age of Technology), which was produced and broadcast by SFB television.

The time from 1964 to 1970 was significantly shaped by the »Arbeitskreis für elektronische Musik« (Workgroup for Experimental Music, comprised of Blacher, Krause, Rüfer, Winckel) and Boris Blacher as »house composer.« The studio moved twice, each time into larger quarters. Aside from continued activities with electroacoustic music, Winckel organized concerts and prestigious international conventions. Following the first self-produced quadraphonic taped work »Skalen 2:3:4« from Boris Blacher in 1964, the studio, led by the Master Sound Engineer Rüdiger Rüfer in 1966, realized Blacher’s »Zwischenfälle bei einer Notlandung« (Incidents of an Emergency Landing) for the Hamburg Staatsoper, where for the first time entire scenes were designed only for music from speakers. In 1970 the studio produced Blacher’s »Musik für Osaka«, a spatial work originally designed for seven channels in the spherical German pavilion at the Osaka World’s Fair.

1970 was a year of unstable transform in the field, with parallels throughout all of Germany: The Siemens studio for electronic music in Munich, for example, was closed down, the general interest in electroacoustic music dissipated following impressions from Osaka – particularly among music theorists – and then new studios were established (Heinrich-Strobel-Stiftung in Freiburg, Folkwangschule in Essen). The TU studio was seriously endangered in 1975 when Blacher died, Winkel retired and Rüfer left Berlin. Manfred Krause was the last remaining lecturer and guardian of the department, supported by the new studio heads Folkmar Hein and Ingrid Bihler, who were on staff as researchers and lecturers.

In 1975 Frank Michael Beyer, Professor of Composition at the Hochschule der Künste (HdK), and Folkmar Hein founded the group »Klangwerkstatt« (Sound Workshop). The lasting success of this phase is evidenced by the continuation of the course of study, which at the time was contractually secured in a joint effort between the TU and the HdK and led to the appointment of Manfred Krause as Professor of Communication Studies in 1979.

The Electronic Studio was first opened up by virtue of its contacts to the international world of electroacoustic music, achieved mainly by the efforts of Herbert Brün and Jozef Patkowski, both guest professors at the HdK teaching in the TU studio. At the same time, cooperation developed with the Berlin Artist-in-Residence programme of the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst or German Academic Exchange Service). The concerts and studio productions which resulted around the time of 1980 can be distinguished as a veritable breakthrough for the TU studio, with far-reaching effects, including the establishment of the »Inventionen« Festival in 1982. By 1984, the world of computer music began to be thoroughly explored, thanks to generous contributions from Industry (which, by the way, successfully influenced the program of study, with the help of Guest Professor Klaus Buhlert) and as the result of extensive public activities both locally and internationally.

These developments culminated in the construction of a new studio in 1996. The facility was perfectly suited to every kind of modern spatial-acoustic stimulation and was used accordingly for teaching and research, composition and acoustic sound projection, and as a meeting point for students, lecturers and guests. Since 2001 it has been expanded to include a small wave field synthesis array.

 translated by John Jones