***Disclaimer: The UK is currently in lockdown. This newsletter was written after two and a half months of homeschooling. We all react in different ways.*** 

 “There’s snafu in this shoe!” Plagues of pigeons have gathered to coo. At last, the moment has come for the metal beast to step forward: “Boo!” bellows the Ox, “I’m in charge now and I’m new. Here’s what we’ll do with this stinkeroo! From my point of view, that Rat has left things pretty puckerood! It will take many moons and a good few brooms to clean out every nook, by hook or by crook! I say: no more “poo at this zoo!” Whoops erupt amongst the PPU (pigeon-parents-united) – they lobbied for a swift return to school, because of strained relations with special friends oo and PVA glue. “What we need is a switcheroo,” the bovine honcho continues, “or, failing that, I will bamboozle you out of this SUSFU with a shot of my neat little brew. This will make all of you, strong as an ox too!” And without further ado it begins: the slow road towards twenty twenty-two.   

In Cahoots with Composers Edition  

I am delighted to announce that I have joined Composers Edition. My scores are now only a few clicks away. Oversized solo graphic scores sit with smaller formats for multiple voices and hands. More scores will be published throughout the year. Meanwhile, read all about it here.  

Not Too Cool For School  

As of this month, I am officially an artist-in-residence at King’s College London. I’m really quite excited to dive back into academia! I will work with Zoran Cvetkovic, Professor of Signal Processing in the Engineering Department, and Dr Enzo de Sena, to create new work using the spatial audio program they have developed, and to explore its possibilities within my creative practice. New adventures lie ahead! Read about it here!   

Hooray Hurrah!  

It has been exactly a year since we trialled the first 4 hours of 12 HOURS – a marathon for voice and electronics – at Kings Cultural Quarters/Somerset House in London. I am delighted to announce that I am shortlisted with this work for the biennial Quattropole Music Prize given out by the cities of Luxembourg-Metz-Saarbrücken-Trier. It’s a great honour to be picked out for this award as one of three finalists once again – Fleet Footing was nominated in 2019 – and I will be presenting an immersive experience which will expose audiences to the sound and colour bath that is 12 HOURS – albeit on a shorter time scale. So, mark 1st April in your diaries for a streamed event and have your headphones at the ready. More details on how to gain access to this performance via the Quattropolewebsite in due course.   


Once again, I am collaborating with S.L. Grange (Fleet Footing) to create a new psychogeographic soundwalk: this time we will be following the course of the river Alzette from its source in Thill (France) all the way to Esch/Alzette – the city in southern Luxembourg which will, together with its wider region, become European Capital of Culture for 2022. With the support of CNA, ensmble United Instruments of LucilinAdministration de la Gestion de l’Eau and Les Ensembles 2.2, and collaborators such as soprano Véronique Nosbaum and artist Ben Carter, we are looking to create with Wou d’Uelzecht a truly exciting adventure in sound and nature for everyone to enjoy! Bring on Esch2022!   

Zoom zoom zoom

…Bienchen “zoom heroom” – A silver lining perhaps of the pandemic closing theatres worldwide is that online performances have mushroomed to be consumed in your very own kitchen. Formats have changed and perhaps we have changed too, embracing the new and engaging with performing arts in different ways – one thing is for sure, whatever performances are happening within the current restrictions, they are made more accessible than ever before! Let’s make the most of it! Here are a few performances of my pieces which, pre-Covid, might not have happened in these shapes and forms : 

  • Pianist Cathy Krier was a guest yesterday on ARTE’s Europe@Home program which brings you right into violinist Daniel Hope‘s living room in Berlin. The program focused on music from Luxembourg and included an evocative performance of my North Sea, a movement from the Voyage with Don Quixote. It will remain online for a few weeks. You can also watch a new teaser of this suite for solo piano filmed by Anne Schiltz here. The score is available from Composers Edition.
  • On the other side of the Atlantic, pianist Naomi Woo will perform two other movements from Voyage with Don Quixote: North Atlantic Ocean I, and Nova Scotia in a broadcast performance on Saturday 20th March at 19.30 CST. The concert is part of The University of Winnipeg’s Virtuosi Concerts‘s series which has continued through the pandemic with support from the governmental Stay At Home Manitoba enabling broadcasts at no charge for the viewers. The recording canbe accessed via their website after the premiere for a couple of weeks
  • A wonderful performance of Three Legs and a Wheel for grand piano and bicycle recorded by Vertixe Sonora in Galicia a few months back is now online. This piece was co-composed with my daughter Emmylou Växby and is also published by Composers Edition
  • I recently took part in a round-table discussion at the cultural radio 100komma7 on the subject of “The effects of the pandemic on the creative process”. This program is in Luxembourgish and available on Apple podcast as well as at the mediatheque of the radio station. Avis aux amateurs. 

There are occasions when the ease of digital teleporting cannot replace the in-person experience in a theatre and so, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to witness the live performance of my game-piece Snakes & Ladders with the ensemble Lucilin at the Carré/Luxembourg, under the playful eye of director Lionel Ménard, but I can assure you it did happen – just check my Instagram account @catherinekontz and follow me there, if that is one of your playgrounds too.  

Back to school 

Two letters, one sound: “oo”! Perhaps it’s an easy one for you?! BUT – is it the stretchy or the bouncy “oo”? Today’s reinstatement of schools boosts most parents’ moods – although there’s a risk that the slightest achoo could doom the bubble too soon, and woosh them all home, again, to cocoon by the book, while doodling and googling pronunciations of “oo” – until they have cooked long enough, and their poorly coo-coughs have mutated into toothsome, microsoft oohs. Being cooped up scoops the gloop from the gobbledegook, and even makes room to zoom in on the diphthong of your choosing, especially the one that is oozing from the ultimate -ology: the zoology – and this, boohoo, brings us back to more “poo at the zoo”. Rookedigoo! Will there be blood in this shoe? Well, let’s hope for the best. 

Tread carefully now! ‘til next time,