Christian Utz was born in Munich on 27 October 1969. He studied composition, piano, and music theory in Vienna and Karlsruhe; 2003/2004 he was guest professor at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz/Austria, where he is now professor for music theory and music analysis. In 2000, Utz received a PhD degree at the Institute for Musicology at Vienna University with a thesis on New Music and Interculturality. From John Cage to Tan Dun (published in 2002 by Franz Steiner Verlag Stuttgart / Germany). In 1998, he founded AsianCultureLink to enhance intercultural exchange between European and Asian countries. He initiated collaborations between Taiwanese/Chinese and European musicians and composers. His research project on the “Relationship between Traditional and Contemporary Music in Taiwan“ in 2000 was supported by the Fondation Sino-Française pour l'Education et la Culture, Taipei. Utz gave a lecture series on Music as Intercultural Discourse at the National Institute of the Arts, the National Taiwan University and the Fujen Catholic University in Taipei. In 2002 he gave a series of lectures in Shanghai and Beijing on the German-Jewish composer Wolfgang Fraenkel and on his own music. He has been guest editor of ‘Traditional Music and Composition’, an issue of the journal “the world of music” (Vol. 45/2). Utz frequently presented papers at international conferences, his compositions have been performed by leading ensembles and musicians worldwide.
Christian Utz had basic composition lessons with Russell Smith, Agatha Pyzel and Kay Westermann before studying composition, music theory, musicology and piano in Vienna and Karlsruhe. Dieter Kaufmann, Diether de la Motte, Wolfgang Rihm and Erich Urbanner were among his teachers. Some of his most important artistic experiences include courses with Mauricio Kagel, Luca Francesconi, Brian Ferneyhough, and Salvatore Sciarrino. He has been invited to the most important European seminars of new music, the Session du composition Royaumont/F (1998), the Stage d'informatique musicale IRCAM/Paris (1999), the 14th international composition seminar in Boswil/CH (2001) and the composition seminar of Ictus Ensemble Bruxelles (2002). Utz has received numerous grants and awards including the composition price Stuttgart (1999), residencies in Wiepersdorf/Germany (1996), Schreyahn/Germany (1999) and Akiyoshidai/Japan (2001) and the Austrian State Scholarship for composition (1998, 2002).
Already in early phases of his artistic development, Utz tried to free compositional concepts from conventional boundaries by exploring concepts spanning the fields of music and theatre, composition and improvisation, instrumental and electronic music (YES, DAS DEMASKIERTE UNIVERSUM, LICHTUNG). In many projects he has also been actively involved with creating and producing video art, visual media, dance and stage design. His long-term experience with electronic music first led to a number of radiophonic and acousmatic pieces (LICHTUNG, TIME FREEZE) and later to the integration of instrumental improvisation (or composition) and realtime sound processing controlled by the computer program MAX (MOSAIC, DIE ZELLULOIDLEICHEN VON MARRAKESCH, ÉLOIGNEMENT, SITE, UNSICHTBARES THEATER).
Since 1998 intercultural collaborations and concepts have become the centre of Utz' compositional activities. His intensive study of East-Asian instruments and languages in a number of pieces (KREISE, KOINZIDENZEN, INTERFERENCE, SITE, TOGETHER//APART) led to an increasingly complex texture, in which Asian and European idioms are connected with each other on several levels or develop on autonomous paths. The intensification of intercultural collaborations currently forms the most prominent part of Utz' artistic aims. With his organisation AsianCultureLink he has been able to take some remarkable steps in this direction and he sees this as a meaningful complement to his compositional work.