Volker Straebel is a musicologist, composer, and curator. He grew up in Berlin (West), Germany, and received his M.A. in musicology, philosophy, and library studies from the Technical University of Berlin. After a career in music journalism, Volker served as a curatorial advisor to the annual large-scale music festival MaerzMusik (Berliner Festspiele, 2002-14). In 2009, he was appointed Director of the Electronic Music Studio at the Technical University Berlin. In 2015, he became the Director of the interdisciplinary Master program Sound Studies and Sonic Arts at the University of the Arts Berlin – a program that he fundamentally reformed and shaped. Since 2021, Volker serves as the Dean of the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts.
Volker’s academic work, which focuses on experimental music and sound art, and his artistic practice and curatorial pursuits are interwoven and complement each other. He edited a volume of early piano music by Morton Feldman (C. F. Peters) that presented some works for the first time in print, and edited, with Julia H. Schröder, a volume of research on John Cage (Hofheim: Wolke, 2012). He published, among others, analytical writings on Alvin Lucier, Phill Niblock, sound installation art, and media-specific music.
Volker’s compositions and performances range from amplified jackstraws to inaudible infrasonic pieces. He has a fondness for conceptual work. Among Volker’s larger productions are realizations of indeterminate scores by John Cage (Urban Circus on Berlin Alexanderplatz, realization of Circus on based on Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin for speaker and 48-channel tape, with Hanns Zischler, 2001; Aachen Musicircus on Europeras with Europera 4 and Fontana Mix, composed realization, with Ludger Engels, Theater Aachen, 2006; Song Books with Concert for Piano and Orchestra, with Joan La Barbara, Ne(x)tworks, Die Maulwerker, 2012).