The Austrian cellist Valerie Fritz is an explorer on her instrument. From electronics to gut strings, from the classical to the contemporary repertoire, she approaches a composition both with an open mind and a close attention to detail. She communicates with audiences in a similar way, curating her own concert programs and inventing new performance formats. Each of the styles in her wide repertoire benefits from her feeling for the whole.
As a soloist, Valerie Fritz has performed at festivals such as TRANSIENT Impulsfestival, the Schumannfest of the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, and the Mascarade Festivalino in Venice. She has prepared her programs in close contact with composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, Arturo Fuentes and Thomas Larcher. She is a member of Ensemble NAMES and plays regularly with the Camerata Salzburg and the Austrian Ensemble for New Music (OENM). “I’m not the sort to think in extremely technical terms – that all goes over my head,” she says. “To me, the most important thing is how it should sound. From there, I explore the work on my instrument and figure out how to do it justice.”
Valerie Fritz is a winner of the Berlin Prize for Young Artists and of the Mainardi Cello Competition and a fellow of the Académie Jaroussky in Paris. She currently studies cello at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Clemens Hagen. As the head of the International Society for Contemporary Music, Section Tirol, Austria, she also curates the concert series noiz//elektrorauschen. In workshops at schools and universities, she shares her fascination with new sounds with children and youth.
Valerie Fritz made her first forays into contemporary music as a child: At the age of eight, her mother composed her a piece, titled Geisterstunde (“The Witching Hour”), which introduced Valerie Fritz to contemporary music techniques. Since then, she has performed with the European Union Youth Orchestra and the orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy and taken part in the International Music Institute in Darmstadt and in the International Ensemble Modern Academy – a range of institutions which shows her versatility as an artist.
On stage today, Valerie Fritz sees herself as a sort of musical tour guide, sharing enthusiasm, knowledge, and her own experiences with the audience while giving the listener space to explore at her own pace. “I don’t want to say that a concert should ‘touch’ me, that sounds too romantic,” she says, “but I want to come out of it different from how I went in.”
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cover picture © Verena Bruening