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THE UNEXPECTED EXPERIENCES: Peter Michael von der Nahmer

Peter Michael von der Nahmer (“Mike”) is a composer and sound researcher based in New York City. He has written over 30 works for music theater and dance, and over 100 works for concert and film; many have received national/international awards, and been performed around the world.

Mike’s barrier-breaking, eclectic background explains his passion for music both as artistic expression and as a means to connect disparate cultures. His desire to be an agent of radical connection – to literally create harmony out of apparent dissonance – is his defining motivation. It also defines his work in music therapy, where he seeks to connect art and science.

What stands out to you as being the piece of music that has changed the game for the industry?

I think there are several pieces in different genres and forms that have brought important influence to music, if they “changed the game for the industry” is difficult to answer. What does it mean to change the industry?

I think the main purpose of the music industry is to make money and so everything that does is a win for the industry.

You are a game changer yourself... how do you want to change the game with YOUR music?

Again, I am not sure “game changer” is at least for me the right way to put it. What am I trying to change within the given system?

I have never been as interested in following other people or trends but rather for I would find interesting or engaging. I always felt if I write like someone else, I am just a bad copy of that other composer and I find it much more interesting to figure out what my own voice is. I have also never been connected to just one field or genre but rather the projects and if I find them interesting. I will write an opera today, tomorrow a musical, then a film score. It’s always up to what kind of projects are brought to me and I find something that fascinates me about them or something that deeply connects with me in a storytelling way.

How are you putting together your next project?

As a composer I pretty much work mostly for hire. Again, that can be any genre. I do enjoy the orchestra, opera houses, directors, dancers, writers, painters, and other artists. Collaboration is a key element for me and the people I am working with. It has to be an inspiring playground in which we all stay true as artists but still create that new piece of art that connects our strength in numerous ways.

So once I receive a call for a commission, I either have a team, for example when I work for an orchestra or opera house or I get a job and I assemble my own team of writers and other artists, depending on what is asked for.

Who are you collaborating with?

I do collaborate both with artists in all fields as well as with scientists.

Who are you giving credit to when it comes to how this upcoming music is being made?

If you’re asking from a composition point of view, I usually don’t collaborate with other composers, but I do work with actors, singers, musicians, and they are usually all credited.

Biggest lesson so far this year that you are taking into this summer?!

Catch the sun early or it might get cold quickly…

What is something EPIC you're doing this coming year to contribute to your art?

I am working on several projects that are currently in the early stage of development. Among them is a collaboration with the SETI-Institute (part of NASA) called “The Thinking Universe” that asks the questions of if the universe thinks and if it does, how does it think? What are the patterns that can be found around us on earth and in the universe? Do stars communicate with each other? Is there a language within the universe and if yes what words are used? Is the communication of the universe different to how we communicate with each other? If we could listen to the universe, what would it tell us? And finally, is there music or sound within the universe and how would that sound?

You are just EPIC! Give us everything we need to keep up!

Not sure I am epic.

Leave our audience a word or phrase on how they could live their best lives too!

Engage with everything and it might lead to unexpected experiences.

Social Media:


Twitter: @mikevdnahmer


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