Florian Schulte

In the course of the contemporary witness’s discussions Gundula Wilscher interviewed Gertraud Cerha, a pioneer for contemporary music, in the Archives of Contemporary Arts on 9 November. Apart from Friedrich Cerha and Kurt Schwertsik, whose collections are processed at the Archives of Contemporary Arts, the composer, chansonnier and conductor HK “Nali” Gruber participated in the panel.

Gertraud Cerha, who had celebrated her 90th birthday in summer, gave insight into her childhood and life as an adolescent referring to the exciting periods in the late 1950s and 1960s during which she founded the ensemble “die reihe” together with Kurt Schwertsik and her husband Friedrich Cerha.

Addressing her gift of an “almost photographic hearing ability” she meant: “I heard a lot and putting it into words was part of my job.” Her numerous professions, be it pedagogue, researcher, presenter, music manager, music mediation enabled her to follow her major concern to introduce the Viennese audience to contemporary music.

The musicologist Gundula Wilscher hosted the evening and presented an exclusive selection of material from the Archives of Contemporary Arts: private photographs, business correspondences and drafts of speeches, but also a television appearance at a French course broadcast by the ORF, documented Gertraud Cerha’s great commitment.  

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