These photos give a very small insight in what happened in my life. Most composer’s lives begin on a little pot. Only Beethoven kept this pot during his entire life, mostly under his grand’ Piano. Can you imagine the disgusting smell during his performance of the ‘Hammerklavier Sonate’? After I had jumped out of this chamber pot, it took me a while to understand what I wanted to do.
The next photo shows me as a mature pubertarian, during the Darmstadt Courses of 1959 (together with Heinz Klaus Metzger and Sylvano Bussotti).
On special request of Stockhausen, I attended his composition course of that year. Somebody took a photo outside Darmstadt. I must have been in deep thoughts, working on my first Orchestral piece “Variation” then. No theme, no variations: the piece is its own permanent variation. An attempt to make ‘serial’ procedures more flexible.
1961 was a crazy year. After having conducted Ferdinand Kriwet’s theatre piece “Offen” at the Ulm Theatre, (under the wise guidance of its director Ulrich Brecht) some of the ‘experimental’ poets met in an Ulm Gallery. From left to right: Gerhard Rühm (under the shower), Claus Bremer (under the water crane), Ferdinand Kriwet and Konrad Boehmer (keeping the tap of that ‘camp painting’ under strict control).
I met Ferdinand Kriwet about 1960. We collaborated on several pieces (amongst which our dirty cantata “Jugend”, 1968). The photo shows us in Düsseldorf, working on one of Kriwet’s ‘Hörtexte’).
What a pleasure to meet my good old friend Luigi Nono in Innsbruck (in 1968, the year!). We both did our decent lectures and composition courses, but outside of the official rules, we had a lot of fun (and discussions about the world revolution, which is still on the agenda). During some years Nono had been composition teacher at the “Cursos Latinoamericanos de Musica contemporañea”.
Latin America has inspired him for some of his majors compositions. When he wanted to quit the job, he proposed me. The photo shows the newly-fledged teacher among the students (1972, in Piriapolis, Uruguay). Half of the discussions were about music, the other half on politics: believe me!
In 1978 my very respected colleague Helmuth Lachenmann joined me at the Latin-American Summer courses. I remember some very exciting discussions with him. During a beautiful summer day somebody made this photo in Tiradentes (Brasil).
In April 1979 I went to North-Korea (on invitation of one of their cultural institutions). I was received as an “official” (red carpet and girl with flowers when stepping out of the plane; even the “Pyongyang Time” mentioned my presence!) I had talks with the Ministers of Culture, Education and Foreign Affairs (you will find my talk with the Minster of Foreign Affairs in my Collected writings, Volume 2). This photo shows me with the Presidential Board of the North-Korean Composer’s Union. After we understood, that we are equal human beings, the ice melted down very quickly. See them laughing…
In 1983, the Hamburg “Körber Foundation” honoured me with the First “Rolf Liebermann Price” ever. They made it a decent and relaxed day. The photo shows Olivier Messiaen and me, looking in the same direction (which has happened rarely in our lives!).
The next photo shows a pleasant dinner with (from left to right) the late August Everding, Loki Schmidt, the great and pleasant Rolf Liebermann, the sub-Mayor of Hamburg, former Chancellor of the German Federal Republic, Helmuth Schmidt, Miss Körber, and in front: Konrad Boehmer, discussing world politics and a North-German recipe for a pudding with Loki…
We jump to 1984. An exciting week in Albuquerque, where they did some of my pieces. Christopher Shultis was the motor behind all that. On the photo you see the Great Ernst Krenek (left), Percussionist, composer and music theorist Chris Shultis and me.
Conducting the rehearsals of “Apocalipsis cum Figuris” in Donaueschingen, 1984.On the left side you see the wonderful Dutch pop singers Ernst Jansz and Henny Vrienten, completely dedicated to this musical adventure.
1987: talk with Morton Feldman in Middelburg. We disagreed on nearly all points, but, as I knew he was going to die (which happened 2 months later) I behaved in an extremely decent way.
In 1989 I did a lecture in Darmstadt. During a funny concert, an Australian composer distributed condoms. Brian Ferneyhough did not know what that was and tried desperately to unpack the little gift. Most composers die because they never used condoms. I hope that Brian has succeeded to unpack the gift in the meantime…
When I visited Iceland in the autumn of 1989 (on invitation from the ‘serious’ and ‘popular’ composers unions to make peace between both) my good friend Valgeir Gudjonsson and I went to that famous Reykjavik ‘White House’ (where Reagan and Gorbachev had put an end to Cold War). We shook hands before that same building, hoping to bring to an end the stupid war between ‘pop’ and ‘art’ music.
Last decennium of the 20th century: religious tsunamis were bursting Europe again. I tried the impossible. Konrad, the sworn-in atheist walking above the waters. It works…
In the summer 1999 the wonderful Phorminx Ensemble produced my ‘Qadar’ for a cd in the Bloomline Studios of Leo de Klerk. During a break, we made this nice photo. (Leo is the tallest in the middle).
In the summer of 2009 Nicolas Hodges performed my “Orpheus Unplugged” (text: Albert Ostermaier). After the concert these two cherished friends kidnapped me… to the next pub.
As the Catholic Church has specialized in all forms of sex during the last decennia, I decided to seduce (and to marry) a holy man from that club. Since 2000 years they are immensly rich. In 2006 I found my ideal lover on a bench in a Cologne Hotel (a previous monastery). Brother Martin was a wooden replica of his former earthly life. Makes things easier to get ones hands on the money of ‘Rome’ without permanent disputes with your wooden lover…
In 2007 something dramatical happened in my life. It had pleased Her Majesty, the Queen of the Netherlands, to confer on me the Royal order of “Officer of the Order of Oranje”. The most important advantage: All my English colleagues have to call me “Sir Konrad” from now on. The disadvantage: My dearest friend, the composer Willem Breuker immediately tried to deprive me of the high decoration.
A week before that Royal Decoration, I returned from North Korea, where I posed before the gigantic statue of the late president Kim Il Sung. But I also had talks with high governmental officials concerning the rights of their authors. During that stay I was invited at the newly built “Kim Wong Gyun” conservatory of Music. As I was told, this impressive, wonderful building had been designed entirely by Kim’s son Kim Yong Il.
In the Golden Book I invited him to come over to Europe to built at least 10 of these wunderful conservatories of music here. Look how I am writing my – slightly ironical – text in their Golden Book.
2009, back to the future. Returning from a lecture-trip to Dresden, I passed through the “Bergisches Land” (East of Cologne), where I have spent the most happy years of my childhood. In that beautiful little house in the hamlet Durbusch (it had other colours in my time) I learned from the wunderful communist couple Aenne and Willy Lindenberg more about ethics and justice than at every later moment in my life.
A day before my trip to Durbusch, my dear friend Wolfgang Hamm made this photo. Once upon a time we edited the “Sozialistische Zeitschrift für Kunst und Gesellschaft”. The photo shows that I am still young enough to restart the adventure (or at least: to keep to its ideals), even after some very big and good glasses of Whiskey from Wolfgangs abundant cellar…