A new electroacoustic composition

Message in a Bottle (2018)

For centuries the idea of a message in a bottle has inspired generations of poets, writers, artists to bring mysterious and intriguing love stories to life. This electroacoustic composition takes the listener on the journey of such a message, but not less mysterious, it follows the story of the sender too. If I wrote a letter, stuck it into a bottle and threw it into the ocean, I’d ask myself ‘What is the journey of this bottle? Where does it go?’ — In our dreams, this bottle can wander through time, to places all over the world, it can visit the deeps of the ocean, pass by creatures of our imagination. Just to find out it will be another rainy day when we wake up, another day waiting for that unlikely reply that we are so desperately waiting for. 

Tobias Wolf
Wolf komponiert Erpeler Prinzenlied

Die Erpeler Jecken haben lange auf diesen Moment gewartet: Die Große Erpeler Karnevalsgesellschaft (GEK) präsentierte bei der Prinzenproklamation am Sonntag das neue Narrenoberhaupt der Alten Herrlichkeit Erpel am Rhein. Als Prinz Bernd I wird Bernd Walbrück die Erpeler durch die jecke Zeit führen. Nach einem tosenden Empfang im Erpeler Bürgersaal dauerte es nicht lang, bis dem neuen Prinzen seine obligatorischen roten Schuhe, die Federn und die Prinzenkette gereicht wurden.

Das diesjährige Sessionslied und Prinzenlied stammt aus der Feder von Dirigent und Komponist Tobias Patrick Wolf. Den Erpeler verschlug es 2015 nach Schottland, wo er seither Musik studiert, doch hält der Wirtssohn stets Kontakt zu seiner Heimat und besucht regelmäßig Freunde und seine Familie in der weithin bekannten Gaststätte “Om Maat”. Das neue Karnevalslied “Erpeler Hätz” ist dem mit Tobias befreundeten Karnevalsprinzen Bernd und seinem Gefolge gewidmet, es wurde von Sänger Bernd Süßmilch interpretiert und am Sonntag pünktlich zum Sessionsauftakt im Bürgersaal in Erpel dem Publikum vorgestellt.

Tobias Wolf
Review: Hateful is the dark blue sky


ANYA McRAE: Violin Soloist
CAITLIN DIVER: Trumpet Soloist

Friday 2nd November, 2018 

Review by Alan Cooper:

The King’s Philharmonic Wind Orchestra is an auditioned ensemble based in Aberdeen open to all professionally-aspiring musicians. It presents a challenging repertoire of opera and orchestral classics, wind orchestra originals, as well as premières of commissioned compositions. The orchestra is dedicated to provide young composers with the opportunity to write for a large wind ensemble and to work with emerging solo artists. All of these ideals were very well represented in their 2018 Autumn Concert on Friday.

The patrons of the orchestra are Margaret Carlaw and Professor Derek Ogston. Their President is Professor Paul Mealor and Dr Robert Lovie is their Vice President.

Although it bears the title of Wind Orchestra, at Friday’s performance there were three cellists and a double bass player in the line up. They added a special rich smoothness to the orchestra’s sound blend.

Looking across the members of the orchestra, I recognised many first class musicians from previous university ensembles. There were star percussionists Brodie McCash and Peter Ney, the marvellous Ben Light on saxophone as well as Joe Stollery, composer as well as performer. On flute and piccolo there was Kirsty Campbell, with Sam Paul on French Horn and George Stokes on trombone. Nearly forty players in all directed and conducted by Tobias Wolf whose prowess as a conductor comes from studies in Germany and all across Europe. We were in good hands and indeed the sound of the band in full cry, as it were, was absolutely fabulous – rich, resonant and rare. The various sections of the orchestra were individually superb too. We were in for a truly sublime evening of great music – and so it turned out. I left the Butchart after the concert with a real spring in my step and at my age, that means a lot.

The overall title of the concert “Hateful is the Dark Blue Sky” comes from a line in a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson used by Michael Merrill, one of today’s composers, from his Mariner Songs for Chamber Wind Ensemble. We were to hear this as the third performance in the concert. It was just one of today’s commissioned works by emerging composers played along with a selection of German Music ranging from J. S. Bach to music by the Film Composer Hans Zimmer and the popular songsmith Bert Kaempfert.  When I was a student you would not have got away with a programme like that but I am delighted that nowadays you can. There is only good music and bad music. It does not matter what part of the repertoire it comes from and today’s works were all most definitely the very best of their kind. Also, when I was a student writing music with tunes and consonant harmonies was a capital crime. I am so glad this is no longer true and all of today’s works were shining examples of tonal consonant music, something that made the concert a spine tingling pleasure to listen to.

The programme began with two marches very much in the German style. Fliegermarsch by Hermann Dostal (1912) was light and melodically positive with a bouncy rhythm that in this arrangement by Siegrfied Rundel, Tobias Wolf managed to pass over at full value to his players.

The Dramatic March Fantasy in a minor op. 69 (2016) by Rolf-Michael Steitz was a commission from Tobias Wolf. Darker than the first piece with strong playing by horns and trombones then scurrying playing by flutes and clarinets, it led to a passage introduced by tubular bells that quoted the Dies Irae before moving on to a ‘marche grotesque’ that was actually rather jolly. I was reminded of the Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens or even the finale of the Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz only for the imaginative spirit of these pieces. This was no copy or pastiche it was all Steitz’s own work.

Hateful is the Dark Blue Sky followed by Beyond the Sea by Michael Merrill began with a startling cymbal clash leading to rich full orchestra. Merrill’s composition, commissioned by Professor Derek Ogston showed a real mastery of orchestral colour. Beyond the Sea had a lighter texture with flutes and clarinets and tuned percussion featuring fine playing by Brodie McCash and Peter Ney.

To Morning for Wind Ensemble was another Tobias Wolf commission this time from Thomas F. Stearn. A resetting of a choral work, it still had the imprint of its background. It was conducted by Cade Terence Strathern.

There were two pieces in the concert by Thiemo Krass both of which were based on popular German folk tunes. They were both very attractive. In the first, entitled Lignum, there were particularly fine clarinet solos played by Struan Simpson oh, and I loved the whooping French horns.

The first half of the concert ended with another jolly German March, Berliner Luft by Paul Linke. All I needed was a stein of beer to swing along with this great music.

The second half of the concert opened with Tobias Wolf’s own transcription of the fanfare that opens Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. Brodie McCash was fantastic on the timpani.

Rebecca Taylor’s The Final Stand of Time (2018) another Tobias Wolf commission, was receiving its World Première. Rippling opening on woodwinds, attractive melody and jaunty rhythms were delivered with marvellous orchestral colour. Tobias called Rebecca forward to receive her applause after the piece. I have never before seen a composer so happy. Cheers Rebecca!

Another piece by Rolf-Michael Steitz was his Desire for Solo Violin and Gala Ensemble (2016). The soloist was Anya McRae. What we heard of her was beautiful but for much of the piece she was swamped by the orchestra. Next time perhaps a bit of amplification for the soloist would work better. These days this can be done unobtrusively.

Cade Terence Strathern once again took over the baton for Themes from The Last Samurai (2004) by Hans Zimmer. This went down particularly well and afterwards, Cade looked every bit as happy as Rebecca had done.

Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms in another Siegfried Rundel arrangement sounded fantastic with this orchestra. Caitlin Diver on trumpet held her own with the orchestra in a fine Bert Kaempfert arrangement of a medley of four of his ‘greatest hits arranged by Steve McMillan.

I have left until last the two special solo performances – one in each half of the programme. In the first half, virtuoso cellist Ignasi SoléPiñas who also plays in the orchestra and is a Lower Strings Musician at Sistema Scotland performed twoSarabandes from J. S. Bach’s solo cello Suites, first from Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 and then from Suite No. 5 in c minor, BWV 1011. My goodness, he certainly made his cello sing out beautifully in both. The minor Sarabande was emotionally powerful and passionate.

In the second half, concert pianist and University piano tutor Joseph Fleetwood standing in at very short notice for William Gray who had hurt his hands gave a strong romantic performance of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in c minor Op.13. The first movement was powerfully dramatic. He made the melodies in the second movement sing out from the piano but best of all I enjoyed the clean clear and incisive playing of the final Rondo allegro.

This was a first rate concert. It was being recorded to be streamed live to an audience in Germany. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did.
(Alan Cooper)

Tobias Wolf
New work performed by French ensemble 2e2m

Conductor and Composer Tobias Patrick Wolf has recently finished a new work for Flute, Clarinet, and Cello. His composition was performed in a composition master class at the University of Aberdeen with the French ensemble 2e2m who specialise in performing contemporary music, and who are a forerunner and one of the most important ensembles in their field in Europe.

A UNE RÉPÉTITION (At a rehearsal)
pour flute, clarinette et violoncelle (2018)

Dedicated to Thomas Joseph Jowett. Written for a composition master class with the French Ensemble 2e2m at the University of Aberdeen on the occasion of their participation in the Sound Festival 2018 in Scotland.

Dédié à Thomas Joseph Jowett. Écrit pour une master classe en composition avec l'ensemble 2e2m à l'Université d'Aberdeen en Écosse à l’occasion de leur participation au Sound Festival 2018.

This work caricatures the process of rehearsing a new work, and performing it to an audience. The sections with free tempo as well as instructions in the score leave a lot of room for an expressive performance, over-exaggerating the habits and stereotypes of instrumentalists. Extended techniques such as nail pizzicati, blowing air through the 􏰀Flute, or foot stomping help to achieve a comical effect. I would like to encourage the performers to think about this piece not only as a musical, but also a theatrical work.

Cette œuvre est une caricature du processus de répétition d'un nouveau morceau et de sa représentation devant un public. Les moments avec un tempo libre ainsi que les directions inscrites laissent place à une représentation expressive où les habitudes et les stéréotypes des musiciens seront exagérés. L'usage de techniques étendues comme le pizzacati avec l'ongle, souffler de l'air dans la 􏰀ûte ou encore taper du pied aident à créer un effet comique. J'aimerai donc encourager les musiciens à interpréter ce morceau non pas seulement comme une œuvre musicale, mais aussi comme un œuvre théâtrale.

Tobias Wolf
Erpeler Jung auf dem Weg nach ganz oben

Tobias Patrick Wolf ist ein echter Erpeler Jung. Sein Elternhaus steht im Herzen der Alten Herrlichkeit. Papa Peter und Mama Vesna sind Wirte der Traditionsgaststätte „Om Maat“. Er ist in Erpel zur Schule und hat seine ersten musikalischen Gehversuche im Erpeler Tambourcorps absolviert, das er auch für einige Jahre musikalisch leitete. Außerdem wurde er 2014 in den Gemeinderat gewählt. Mehr Erpel geht eigentlich nicht.

Zum Artikel der Rhein-Zeitung hier klicken.

Tobias Wolf
Wolf awarded Carlaw-Ogston Conducting Bursary

Music Student at the University of Aberdeen, Tobias Patrick Wolf has been awarded with the Carlaw-Ogston Conducting Bursary 2018/19. The bursary is intended to contribute to the costs of a conducting opportunity outwith the university and is awarded yearly to an undergraduate who is assisting in the direction of a university ensemble an has shown a particular interest and talent in conducting. 

Tobias Wolf will be going to Edmonton, Canada in early 2019 to further his development as a conductor with renown choral conductor Dr Michael Zaugg, Musical Director of Pro Coro Canada. This year's holder of the Conducting Bursary, Tobias, has worked with Michael Zaugg before, in a conducting Masterclass during a residency at the University of Aberdeen culminating in a performance of Thomas Lavoy's large work 'Endless' with the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir, the UoA Percussion Ensemble and the Edinburgh Quartet.

Pro Coro Canada is one of the finest choirs in the world and one of only a few professional choirs in Canada. Under the direction of Dr Michael Zaugg, the choir is widely recognised for its critically acclaimed tours, recordings and their work with emerging singers, composers and conductors through their Emerging Artist Program. 

Tobias's career in the music industry started with a position at the Beethovenfest Bonn and a liaison with international participants including the world’s most renowned orchestras, soloists and conductors. He studied in Cologne and Bonn in Germany before moving to Aberdeen to further his studies in music at the University of Aberdeen from 2015. He is Assistant Conductor of various university ensembles, Director of The King's Philharmonic Wind Orchestra, and he has as the recipient of the James Lobban Conducting Scholarship worked with the Aberdeen Bach Choir, Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts and well-established soloists from around the world. He has as a Tenor taken part in Royal-wedding-composer Paul Mealor's recording of 'Immortal Memory', a TOP 3 UK chart album, and he has performed for the Royal family, including HM The Queen and TRHs the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Tobias Wolf
Sing, Sing, Sing 2018 raised over £24,000!

Following on from the success of Sing, Sing, Sing event's in 2016 & 2017; Fiona Kennedy, Laura Pike & VSA were delighted to present the return of the event on the 20th May 2018 in
The Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen.

Taking part for the third time were ‘AABacus Harmonies’, a choir made up of employees of Anderson Anderson & Brown in Aberdeen, as well as their friends and families. Under the direction of conductor Tobias Wolf they prepared songs to be presented in the event in support of a good cause. The commitment and enthusiasm of all involved has made this spectacular event possible which has raised in excess of £24,000 and is still rising daily. All money raised will once again go to support VSA’s Mental Health Services and vulnerable adults on their journey to recovery.

VSA provide vital support and services to people of all ages across four core areas: Children and Families, Adult and Community, Education and Learning, and Carer’s support. They support people’s physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing through a range of residential and outreach support services.


Tobias Wolf
Tobias Wolf appointed Director of a new Choir in Aberdeen

Tobias Wolf was appointed the new Musical Director of the newly formed Braeside and Mannofield Community Choir. The Braeside and Monnofield Community Council has been working working with the West Locality Leadership Group in establishing a Community Choir in the area. The formation of a choir has a number of benefits to individuals and the community as a whole. The initiative was well supported by thirty attendees of in the Choir's inaugural meeting.

With their new Music Director Tobias Wolf they have found a German Conductor and Composer who studied in Cologne and Bonn in Germany before coming to Aberdeen in 2015. His career in the music industry started with a position at the International Beethovenfest Bonn and a liaison with international participants including the world’s most renowned orchestras, soloists and conductors. Tobias conducts ensembles at the University of Aberdeen and is Director of the Aberdeen based King’s Philharmonic Wind Orchestra. As this year’s James Lobban Conducting Scholar, he worked with Aberdeen Bach Choir, performing with Soloists Dame Emma Kirkby and more. He has toured countries all over Europe as a trumpeter and has as a Tenor taken part in the top 3 UK classical charts album ‘Immortal Memory’ with Royal-wedding composer and Professor of Composition in Aberdeen, Paul Mealor. He has performed for members of the Royal family, including HM The Queen and the Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, The Duchess of Rothesay. The choir have started rehearsing with Tobias already and the first meetings were a great success. All involved are excited and looking forward to the future ensemble work together.

Braeside and Mannofield Community Choir meets at Airyhall Library every Tuesday at 6.30pm. All interested are welcome, there are no auditions and no previous experience required. The choir is keen to ensure that the objective of the group was to meet, sing and socialise and learn develop musically exploring a broad range of repertoire in a variety of genres. 

The more people who come along, the more fun the evenings will be - so, if you are interested in singing, playing a musical instrument or helping the choir in some other way get in touch or just come along to a rehearsal.  If you want more details then email Audrey Harvey on audreyharvey@talktalk.net.


Tobias Wolf