AUTUMN 2018

The reverse side of the card sports her little brother’s wishes: “1. a food bol.” For a moment my eyes widen. A food bowl! How unusual! Do we not feed him properly? Then the penny drops: it’s a football! Second, “a toy car for too real people“. Last but not least, “a horse“, blue-coloured and alive, if Santa can hack this! As my grandfather would have said: “Fängt alt un ze spueren! (Now would be a good time to start saving!!)”

Wish lists for Santa have gone up in our house this week. Anything I dismissed over the past few months as “too large”, “too much”, “maybe something for Santa?” is now listed in large sparkly letters on a pink card fitted on the living room window so it can be inspected from all sides. Top of the list reads “1. Fitbit Ace – you now what I meen”. Apparently this is a considerate choice as Little E purposely asks for this luxury gadget from Santa and not for her upcoming birthday as “that way it’s free, Mummy”!

So what is on your wish list? Are you still contemplating the colour of your very own horsey? Then let me suggest a few fresh alternatives from Santa’s catalogue:

Category: Games –  Special Edition of Snakes & Ladders for 2-8 players. Ages 6-99.

Ever interested in transforming ordinary spaces into performance areas and involving anyone interested in sound and movement in contemporary music, I have created my very own version of the classic Snakes & Ladders board game.

It exists as a tabletop edition, suitable for the whole family around the Christmas table. Use real musical instruments or any objects, food bowls, footballs or simply your own body and voice.

The life-size edition, for which players become the pieces and move around on a oversize floor board might require clearing the decks, hanging the Christmas tree from the ceiling and possibly moving a wall or two to fit the 18 sqm score within the confines of your living room. If this is not an option for your Yuletide celebrations, keep it in mind for your next garden party, drama/music workshop or picnic in the park!

Luckily, you can also catch the life-size Snakes & Ladders at this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival where United Instruments of Lucilin will brave the snakes at Phibbs Hall for the first time on 20th November at 3.30 PM! Who is going to win? I will be there to take your bets!

Snakes & Ladders makes a perfect stocking filler for ages 6 to 99. Last orders for Santa’s rounds on 17th December!! Buy it hereTable-top Edition (normal and deluxe editions available). Life-size Edition (adult and kids size available)

Category: Books – Mit den Haien streiten (To Fight with Sharks) – CABYBARABOOKS

An exciting new book on women in Luxembourg since 1940 has just been published by Capybarabooks. An initiative of CID Fraen an Gender, the book boasts 27 academic essays covering women through History, Education, Politics, Media, Art, Identities and Feminism, as well as interviews with speci(wo)men.

Mit den Haien streiten emerges as an important new research body and a milestone in the field of Gender and Equality in Luxembourg. Turn to page 259 and you will get a glimpse into my own working life through the in-depth interview, “Komposition mit Kind und Kegel”, conducted by musicologist Danielle Roster.

For the bookish who read German and/or French, this is an enlightening page-turner for the holidays! I’d wish that Santa would leave a copy under every tree as a gift to humankind. Appropriately, I did to wear my best Christmas trousers for Véronique Kolber’s photos in the book. You have been warned!

Category: CDs – Monroe & Molly

Produced and commissioned by Artcatcher’s Katja RosenbergMonroe & Molly is a new 20s inspired music theatre work which I have composed to the words of Rosi Saaksmeier. The story tells the life of variété stars Walther and Molly Monroe, famous for introducing foxtrot to the Germans and running a theatre in Bad Oeynhausen during the interwar period. Being of Jewish descent, the couple fled the Nazis and soon found themselves running a bed and breakfast for travelling artists in London’s Brixton, where they spent the rest of their lives.

Last weekend, the production team met up in Berlin where Manuela Schuette and I gave a preview performance of the work for Molly’s niece, Gerda Piasta, who still lives there at the age of 104. We also had the chance to meet Walther’s great-niece from the Flechtheim side of the family and plan ahead for a recording of the Monroe & Molly album with the full band (voice, violin, clarinets, flugelhorn, accordion, piano and double bass) in January! If you think Kurt WeillTom Waits and off-kilter French For Cartridge, you can perhaps imagine the soundworld.

pre-order of the CD has just gone up although Santa will have to liaise with the Easter bunny for the delivery of the finished product. It will however help the production enormously to get some pre-orders in, as very few costs can nowadays be covered by gingerbread horses alone.

Category: Theatre/Opera – A Certain Sense of Order: On a Poem of Anne Sexton

My pocket opera created in collaboration with ticktock recently had its 7th performance at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas. The work will continue to tour in 2019 with performances at the Théâtre du Centaure/Luxembourg on 25th and 26th April. To the disappointment of my children, there won’t be any actual centaurs at the theatre but I can promise you two fabulous singers, Rosie Middleton and Sarah ParkinBooking is now open and I recommend reserving tickets sooner rather than later as capacity is very limited! Email: reservations@theatrecentaure.lu  Phone: +352 22 28 28 (answering machine).

We will also organise school performances during that week. Interested teachers should get in touch with me via email (catherinekontz@gmail.com). Minimum age recommendation 16. Performed in English.

Category: Sports – Three Legs and a Wheel

Indulge in a bit of cycling with my latest addition at Noutefabrik: Three Legs and a Wheel. This graphic score co-composed and first performed together with my daughter on the occasion of my father’s 75th birthday works either as a solo piano/cycle piece or as a duet with a “cyclist”.  Keep your bike tool kit handy as you will need a few screws, clips and spoke beads to prepare the instruments. Start practising now and by June you will be ready to take on the Alps! Available from Noutefabrik.

Category: Walks and City Guides – Fleet Footing: An Audio Treasure Hunt

Fleet Footing which launched in summer and sends you on an walk through the city tracking London’s famous hidden river Fleet, continues to delight locals and tourists alike. Walk it on your own on a nice autumnal day and it will feel “almost like a meditation”. Take your friends and family on a social outing and you share something off the trodden path!

The audio and map is available through bandcamp and iTunes where you can also gift the 17-track binaural album for someone you think might enjoy this sort of thing.

You can also book a guided group walk with my collaborator and wordsmith Sarah Grange and/or myself and meet the artists behind Fleet Footing as well as enjoying a story or an anecdote here and there about the work and the Fleet itself. If interested, drop me a line at catherinekontz@gmail.com to discuss dates and prices.

Sarah and I conceived Fleet Footing as a leisurely audio walk, but nothing stops you from riding the Hampstead-Blackfriars course on horseback or running the 10K with a Fitbit Ace tracker. Depending how much time you have, how you are on your feet and how many dogs or buggies your are juggling, you may want to do this in parts. And just to let you know, it also works as a pub crawl. In any case, it will be an experience to remember. Bandcamp (audio including maps), iTunes (audio only). More info and maps available here.

There you are! Lots of fresh ideas for Santa, only one click away… Of course, I made all of these, so I’m still here deciding on the colour of my horse. I guess with Mini E’s life-size blue exemplar, Santa will have a bit of a headache already…

The one thing I always need is more TIME – time to spend with family and friends, time to compose, time to think, time to practise, time to read, time to fill in funding applications, time to see shows, time to do Pilates, time to listen, time to fill in more funding applications, time to sleep, time to teach, time to exchange ideas, time to stop. I guess it’s another difficult one for the elves, but knowing Santa, I think at least he gets what I mean…

‘til next time,

Catherine