An Interview with Oskar Sala: By Norma Beecroft

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Oskar Sala
b. Thüringen, Germany 1910 – d. Berlin 2002

Interviewed by Norma Beecroft as part of her ebook, Conversations With Post World War II Pioneers of Electronic Music.
Recorded on audio cassette.
Digital transfer and editing: William Van Ree

Born in the small industrial town of Greiz in Thüringen, Oskar Sala was a highly talented youth playing a Mozart piano concerto at age 14, and Beethoven and Schumann with the town orchestra for his final high school examination. A student in Paul Hindemith’s composition class in Berlin in 1929, he became more interested in Friedrich Trautwein’s attempts at producing electronic sounds. While studying Physics and Mathematics at Berlin University, he took part in the construction of the first Trautonium invented by Dr. Trautwein, and began performing on this new device in 1930.

Oskar Sala, as performer and composer, took the Trautonium onto the concert stage, and soon began developing the instrument to his own needs resulting in the Mixtur-Trautonium, which was the focal point of his own electronic music studio. In addition to concert works, his archives contain hundreds of electronic compositions for film and television productions, as well as for ballet and stage presentations. One of the most notable of his many film scores was the soundtrack for Hitchcock’s The Birds, and for his original sound-picture compositions and his dexterity as a virtuoso performer on the Trautonium. He has received high international award, such as the Grand Prix from the Industrial Film Festival in Rouen (1960), and the Goldene Palme in Cannes in 1963.

You can read the transcript of the interview, along with interviews of 22 other electroacoustic composers, by purchasing the ebook here.