The Feedback Studio Publishing House                                                    
1971 – 2010, Cologne

In 1970, the composers Johannes Fritsch, Rolf Gehlhaar and David Johnson founded the Feedback Studio. One year later, Fritsch and Gehlhaar established the Feedback Studio Verlag, a small publishing house, which Fritsch mainly managed on his own from 1975 to 2010. After Fritsch’s death in 2010, the Feedback Studio and Feedback Studio Publishing House were dissolved. Since then, the Feedback Papers which are still in stock have been administered by the edition johannes fritsch. The whole Feedback Studio CD series can be purchased from Cybele Records . Historic documents, such as tapes of the ‘Hinterhaus’ concerts, correspondences, or historic studio machines can be found in the music archive of the Berlin Academy of Arts (Musikarchiv der Akademie der Künste).

feedback-logo feedback-logo2


David Johnson, Johannes Fritsch und Rolf Gehlhaar David Johnson, Johannes Fritsch and Rolf Gehlhaar (1972)

History and Concept
After the 1970 World Expo in Osaka, three composers and collaborators of Karlheinz Stockhausen - Johannes Fritsch, Rolf Gehlhaar and David Johnson - founded the Feedback Studio in Cologne. This was followed in 1971 by the founding of the Feedback Studio Verlag – the very first publishing house owned by composers in Germany. The studio and publishing house were in a backhouse in the Cologne Belgium Quarter, in which Fritsch had set up a private studio for himself in 1967.

One year later, Wolf Vostell moved his studio into the backhouse and founded, together with Mauricio Kagel, Alfred Feussner, Friedrich W. Heubach and Gabor Altorjay, the LABOR e.V. for an interdisciplinary research of acoustic and visual events.

Das Hinterhaus der Genterstraße 23 The backhouse on Genterstraße 23 © Lena Fritsch

This association would soon made history as KOMBINAT. Later, Mauricio Kagel filled a room in the second floor with his collection of musical instruments, and the art collector Wolfgang Hahn stored art works in the basement, such as Daniel Spoerri’s famous Hahns Abendmahl. In the 1980s, the theatre educational centre TPZ moved in; today, it uses all rooms of the backhouse.

Both the Feedback Studio and the Feedback Studio Verlag did not view themselves as commercial business but rather as an artistic cooperative and an alternative centre for music. The publishing house represented up to 300 compositions by twenty composers. Its program covered electronic and live electronic works, computer music, pieces for large orchestras, and chamber music especially by Klarenz Barlow, Michael von Biel, Peter Eötvös, Silvio Foretic, Johannes Fritsch, Rolf Gehlhaar, David Johnson, Siegfried Koepf, Joachim Krist, Mesias Maiguashca, Michael Manion, John McGuire, Herbert A. Mitschke, Masahiro Miwa, Harald Muenz, Manfred Niehaus, Michael Ranta, Makoto Shinohara,Volker Staub und Caspar Johannes Walter.

© Alfred Koch

Johannes Fritsch im Studio 2 © Hermann and Clärchen Baus

Johannes Fritsch in the studio in the 1970s and in 2006

Intercultural Exchange: the Hinterhausmusik Concerts and World Music Conferences
Apart from the studio and the office room of the publishing company, the Feedback Studio floor had a small room for events, in which the legendary ‘Hinterhausmusiken’ (‘backhouse musics’) took place. Starting in 1971, they presented young composers of the Colognian and international Avantgarde, as well as traditional music from other cultures, such as Africa, China, Japan, India, Thailand and Mexico. The Hinterhausmusik concerts offered room for intercultural exchange; many lectures, workshops and concerts were realised in cooperation with Peter Ausländer or the WDR (Western German Broadcasting) or recorded by them. Moreover, four Worldmusic Conferences (in 1979, 1982, 1984 and 1986), organised in cooperation with the AG Musik in Ostwestfalen-Lippe, presented non-European music as well as unknown traditional folk music from Europe in classes, workshops, lectures and concerts. The lectures which were held at these conferences have been published as special editions in the Feedback Papers series.

The Feedback Papers and CDs
The Feedback Papers, 46 booklets and books, not only reveal the history of the Feedback Studio but also present an alternative viewpoint on the history of New Music through descriptions, analysis and essays. They include contributions by Klarenz Barlow, Michael von Biel, Cornelius Cardew, Johannes Fritsch, David Johnson, Siegfried Koepf, Helmut Lachenmann, John McGuire, Oxana Omelchuk, Robert HP Platz, Volker Staub, Kevin Volans, Wolf Vostell, Walter Zimmermann and many more. The Feedback CD series presents works by Fritsch as well as Klarenz Barlow, Michael von Biel, Peter Eötvös, Silvio Foretic, Rolf Gehlhaar, David Johnson, Siegfried Koepf, Mesias Maiguashca, Harald Muenz, John McGuire and others.


Print version