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Composer in residence

Meet the artists: Wolfgang Plagge

Portrait of the composer Wolfgang Plagge

Written by: Maria Tripodianos


Wolfgang Plagge. Foto: Paul Johannessen.

Come and visit Wolfgang Plagge’s composer’s home

Plagge was Kode’s composer in residence in 2021. In the lead-up to the premiere of his work “In Arduis”, we were offered insights into how the composer works: How does he go about developing a composition?

Does the process require peace and quiet, or distraction? And as one of our greatest living composers, does he have any reason to fear that his work will be misunderstood when at last it is performed?

Composer in residence 2021: Wolfgang Plagge

Wolfgang Plagge (b. 1960) has become a familiar figure thanks to a long and successful career as composer, performer and music communicator. Since his debut as a pianist in 1972, he has built a reputation primarily as a composer, despite regular engagements as a performer both at home and abroad. Plagge has now composed over 180 works in genres ranging from the liturgical to the symphonic.

This is the first time Kode has appointed a composer in residence. Plagge’s residency has been given the working title “Follow the work”. The mission of this project is to give the public an opportunity to observe the evolution of a composition from inception to premiere.

In Arduis

The work “In Arduis” has its premiere in Troldsalen on Sunday 31 October 2021. It will be performed by Christian Grøvlen, pianist and director of Kode’s composers’ homes.

The title of this new piano sonata is Latin and means “in difficult times” – a clear reference to the arduous circumstances the global community has had to endure in 2020 and 2021.

Plagge builds the work on two motifs of three notes each: F–A–E, a motif familiar from the Romantic period and which stands for “Frei aber einsam” (free but lonely), and G–B–S (= G–B-flat–E-flat), a reference to Grieg, Bull and Sæverud, the three composers whose former homes Kode looks after.

“The work is based on an eye-witness account of a world beset by problems and challenges of a kind the people of today have never seen before. People are enduring loneliness, isolation, and spiritual tension. It is a tension that is both painful and incredibly stimulating to creativity,” Plagge says.

About the film

This portrait is part of a series of video productions entitled “Follow the work”, the project that supplied updates about Plagge, our previous composer in residence.

Camera and editing: Paul Johannessen

Producers for Kode: Maria Tripodianos and Anette Basso