The Studio for Experimental Music at the Berlin Technical University was founded in 1954 by Fritz Winckel. New music activities which already existed in Germany at that time served as models for this founding . For example the studio of the West German Radio (WDR) in Cologne - well known through the work of Stockhausen - as well as the now famous artistic scene which was happening in Darmstadt at that time, marked our studio´s own technical and aesthetic developments in this early period (for example through the application of serial composition techniques). Early on in its history the studio dedicated itself to certain technical developments such as the construction of its own mixing console.
In 1962 the studio acquired Boris Blacher as artistic advisor. Blacher was at that time director of the Hochschule für Musik Berlin (HdK), and it was upon his arrival that artistic development and actual electroacoustic music production began at the studio.
1964 saw the studio´s first self-sufficient production with Blacher´s work entitled "Skalen two:three:four" for four-channel tape (this is a polyrhythmic study with use of half-, third- and quarter-tones). Sudden productivity of the studio at this time is easily explained by the studio´s first move to a new space as well as by the improvement of the studio´s technical equipment (at this time the studio purchased, among other things, a 10-channel mixer as well as one four-track and two two-track tape recorders). A further moving of the studio in 1968, again resulted in a period of production and innovation, out of which arose work for the German pavilion at EXPO 1970 in Osaka. For this famous spherical auditorium - which is often referred in the writings of Stockhausen - our studio workers developed and constructed the multi-channel, remote-controlled light and spatial sound system. Three larger productions from Blacher also fall into this period (an large opera for the Hamburgische Staatsoper and a work entitled "Musik für Osaka").
Following these very active years at the studio, there came in 1974 sudden change. Blacher died, professor Winckel retired and the Tonmeister Rüfer moved to another studio. It was precisely at this time, the end of 1974, that my work began at the TU. At that time it seemed most advisable to form an outwardly open work group, which named itself "Klangwerkstatt", and which was formed of students from the Hochschule der Künste and the TU Berlin. In looking back, most of the10 productions from these Klangwerkstatt years (between 1975 to 1978) had exclusively didactic goals, and must in retrospect be considered more as studies than as true artistic productions. The Klangwerkstatt ceased to exist in 1978, but the co-operation between the TU and the HdK survived. These two colleges are close neighbours in the city, and with the students in mind it seems important to support this link between the technical and the musical.
In the summer semester of 1978, professor Herbert Brün taught at the TU upon an invitation from the HdK. He succeeded through uncountable, often difficult discussions, in establishing a conceptual and intellectual foundation upon which important compositional work could be carried out. Brün also was the first to work with computer music at the Technical University. Strangely enough, he did some early work on a Hewett & Packard-computer from the university´s optical institute - this quite early flirtation with computer music at our university was unfortunately short lived.
1978 also was an important year in our development, as the TU finally acquired long awaited professional tape machines, a SynLab analogue synthesizer and four studio speakers - equipment which was used until 1989 in our possession.
One year later, in 1979, Josef Patkowski, then director of the Warsaw Experimental Studio, came to teach at our "electronic studio" (as it was now called) - this visit again was arranged through an invitation from the HdK. At that time, Patkowski organized public concerts of electroacoustic music, and also presented foreign electroacoustic works. Patkowski was instrumental in initiating a policy of openness for our studio. During this same time, improved equipment, better instruction thanks to guest teachers and a general solidifying in the structure of the whole faculty, saw the beginning of a new period at the Electronic Studio. A professorship, vacant since 1975, was filled by professor Manfred Krause, and a new curriculum for studies in communication science finally came into being.
Since 1980, there has been a stark increase in production activity at our studio. Since that time there have been on the average some 12 to 23 major productions per year.
Since the purchase of a Synclavier II in 1981, and since the receiving of a VAX 11/780 in 1984, computer technology has played an evermore important role. This has been manifest in the use of digital techniques for analysis, synthesis and sound processing, as well as for the generation, editing and realization of music scores.
The previously mentioned openness of the studio also led in the early 1980´s to multiple concert activities and to an increased communication within Germany and Europe. These aspects of production and communication were manifest in Berlin mostly through the founding of the INVENTIONEN international festival, which we have organized since 1982 together with the Berlin artists program of the German academic exchange service, and, since 1984 with the additional collaboration of the Berlin´s Akademie der Künste. With INVENTIONEN´s ever-increasing volume of activity and its quality of presentation, it can now be said to be the most important festival of its kind in Germany until 1994. Along with concerts and exhibitions, the festival also has become the stage for certain research-oriented projects such as symposiums, workshops, lectures and publications, activities which allow a direct contact with university concerns. Programming for the INVENTIONEN festival has expanded over the years from pure tape music to video work, sound installations, as well as to multi-media productions with projections and live electronics. Over the past few years, the studio also has offered technical and artistic services to other cultural institutions in Berlin, above all, since 1990 when we acquired a professional sound-diffusion system which allows our studio near self-sufficiency.
A basis for the studio´s potential in artistic production has been provided through our official collaborations with other institutions such as the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the DAAD, the Akademie der Künste and the HdK Berlin. Thanks to such agreements, it has been possible for us to offer studio grants to independent composers. Apart from such official invitations to composers we also offer numerous other working possibilities for artists, in so far as we are able to support such activities and so long as these projects are of a non-commercial character. Since 1979 a contract exists with the HdK Berlin specifying our involvement in the formation of composition and tonmeister students. In the HdK´s most recent examination regulations for composition students, electroacoustic music has become an obligitory subject. Our studio will now be taking over teaching responsibilities in this area, a factor which will certainly influence the structure and character of our work in the future.
Our institute represents an important link between the human and the technical (this is indeed, for us, the definition of the word "communication"). We feel that technical developments should directly serve people, and above all, that these developments should serve through artistic applications. In such a relationship, and within the specific environment of the studio, one will find that technical concerns often cross over into areas of music research and phonetics, as well as into certain more specialized areas of music such as instrumentation, the science of instrument building, music acoustics or the teaching of composition. One also will notice how the technical stimulates the artistic and vice versa. Each influences the other.