Matthias Müller unites various talents in his person. So it is difficult to simply call him an organist, harmonist, etc.
One could summarize his life and work under one umbrella term: He is a real artist!
An artist in many ways. Be it of a musical nature, be it of an organizational nature, be it of a restoration nature or be it in dealing with fellow human beings and many friends around the world. Of which this and his family are most important to him.
He always went other ways, against the current of others. What some teachers had to groan about, but which often presented them with some hurdles - but ultimately always for the benefit and satisfaction of those who meet them.
In his hands the particular instrument to singing starts - he sees himself as a mediator between composer and listener. He studies the life of the composer to be played closely. His person takes a back seat when making music. Because he has a huge aversion to the current behavior of many musicians who have to show themselves through convulsive behavior and other strange emotional outbursts while making music. (Mostly the music is neglected). He's a real musician who doesn't need to represent himself through virtuosity. Always according to Rachmaninoff's motto: Melody is music, the basis of all music
And so many unknown masters can be heard from his fingers, often from Spain or the Basque Country and Catalonia. But also many small masterpieces by many other composers that nobody dares to play in a concert because they are "too easy". He always makes music with a lot of love and sensitivity.
He had contact with the piano, the harmonium and the organ from an early age. He also got to know leading specialists on these instruments just as early as Prof. Jan van Mol, organist and harmonist from Antwerp, Prof. Jaroslav Tuma from Prague, (one of the world's leading improvisers), Monserrat Torrent from Barcelona, the queen of Spanish organ music or Padre Paskal Barturen, passionist father from Bilbao and specialist in Basque music. He has maintained cordial contact with all of these personalities for over 30 years.
He was an organ student of well-known organists such as Edda Töllner from Sandkrug, Emil Wendler from Kempten and later Karl Maureen from Munich. Under her watchful eye he studied at the vocational school for music in Krumbach and at the Leopold Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg. He has been an organist and cantor since he was 12 years old. First in Sandkrug, then Varel, Munich, Augsburg, Osnabrück, as cantor of the Harlinger Land and later until 2019 in the Magdeburg area.
Everywhere M.M. musical life in the places of his activity. New choirs were founded, such as the Max Drischner Cantoreies in East and West. New concert series and festivals emerged. Well-known choirs were led by him, such as the large male choir Osnabrück Gretesch or, quite on the contrary, his normal musical direction, the Shantychor Varel. Especially as a choir director he has a good hand and feeling for the singers.
He learned this craft under important conducting teachers such as Emil Wendler, R. Zöbeley (Munich) and V. Voigt (Augsburg).
The same applies to his work as an organ and harmonium restorer.
The harmonium and organ restorer
As a longstanding organist and harmonist, he always has a critical eye on the work of organ builders and alleged "harmonium restorers".
One of his specialties are the inauguration concerts of newly restored organs. He knows very well how to present these with all their tonal possibilities but also always with music that the "normal" listener knows how to present.
Often, however, he found and finds instruments that shouldn't have been removed by an organ expert. And what annoyed and annoyed him even more are the often immense sums that the organ restoration has swallowed in an incomprehensible manner. Donations that would also elsewhere can be used.
He cultivated contacts with various organ builders at home and abroad from an early age. He helped here and there at an early stage or was called as a “test person” to demand everything from the organs in the last days of completion and, if necessary, to suggest changes or to correct errors.
He learned most of his knowledge from master organ builders D. Schingnitz, M. ter Haseborg or his long-time friend, pastry chef Feliz Novo from Medina de Rioseco.
He restored the first instruments from 1986 in Ribadesella (Asturias). This was followed by various harmoniums all over northern Spain and in the area south of Siena. He was always striving to increase his knowledge and skills.
Attended special courses such as making shellac polishes, gilding, turning, etc.
With the first work in 1986, he began to collect historical material. Bought countless harmoniums of both systems to cannibalize. Bought historical fabrics in markets and flea markets across Europe.
Obtains the very best leather material from Spain, which many envy him for. Has a huge selection of papers, fabrics and felts in all thicknesses and colors.
In his work, he attaches great importance to preserving the original parts of the instruments. Otherwise, defective or missing parts are replaced with original or identical materials, sometimes after a long, meticulous search.
This meant that he was appointed to various museums and collections or theaters. Whereby one can refer to harmonium restorations in the Robert-Schuman-Museum in Zwickau, Stadtmuseum Döbeln, various local museums, Neuköller Oper, Theater Braunschweig or Theater Eisenach and others. Restoration has also been carried out in southern Brazil.
He has already repaired and restored organs of all sizes and in various countries including the former GDR. Particularly noteworthy is the large four-manual organ in Gijon San Lorenzo or the historic organ in San Andres in Seville.
His color "restoration" of shabby-looking zinc pipes, as they are often found in organ brochures, is much praised. If a new building is too expensive, a much cheaper color refreshment is a good idea. MM was lucky enough to have found a Rühlmann color recipe. This paint is applied in several layers with fine Chinese brushes. They then look almost like real lead pipes and even have a slightly softer sound. Many organ experts can confirm this.
One of his specialties is the reanimation of organs and harmoniums that have not been played for a long time. Particularly with these organs, particular meticulousness and patience are necessary.
Thus, the special type of organ restoration that made him famous should not go unmentioned. Since its first restoration, he has drawn people from the organ environment, organists, parishioners, children and disabled people into the work on the organs. Explains what you can and may do and how and what not.
In this way, new friendships developed in many places and the local people got a completely different feeling for their "organ". Of course - M. M. carries out certain work himself, but there are jobs where a layperson can also contribute.
At home and abroad, quite a few organs and harmoniums have already been restored or repaired well below the "normal" price. Special mention should be made of the organs in Klein Ammensleben, Klein Mühlingen, Marchegg, Markthof, Gijon ...
As a musician, Matthias Müller has been in the public eye since childhood. At the age of 12 he took over his first organist service in Sandkrug near Oldenburg. The first activities soon followed in northern Spain (Asturias). His first concert activities on the piano followed at the age of 16. At 17, on the recommendation of Dr. Ude and the composer Peter Koch at the vocational school for music in Krumbach / Swabia where he stayed for three years. There he received helpful lessons from Cantor Emil Wendler from Kempten as well as piano lessons from concert pianist Pavol Kovac. During this time, many of the first concert activities on the organ in Swabia and northern Spain. The school education ended with the church musician C-exam and the designation: State-certified conductor of amateur music.
He then took over the position of cantor at the Michaelskirche in Munich-Lochham.
In his time in Munich, which lasted over 8 years, he began an active concert career in Europe as a pianist, organist and Harmonist.
He especially devoted himself to the songs of Rachmaninoff, whereupon he was highly praised by the Süddeutsche as a connoisseur of Rachmaninoff. He gave many recitals with the Polish soprano Anna Milczarek. And Japanese recitals with Takako Shigahira.
Together with the artist Dieter Hess from Munich, he published the set to music and illustrated fairy tale “The Selfish Giant” by Oskar Wilde, which can be performed in children's and adult concerts and has already been heard in various countries.
Very early on, he began a lively concert activity in Spain. His first activity with a Spanish orchestra took place in Barcelona in 1990 under the conductor and friend Angel Colomer i Colomer. Countless invitations to organ festivals followed, of which the festival in Medina de Rioseco deserves a special mention, where he has been at home for over 20 years. He knows almost all organs in Asturias and Castilla Leon and has already played many of them in concert. For around 10 years there have been many contacts and concert venues around Seville and Palencia.
The following can be mentioned as a keyword:
- Concert at the Schauspielhaus Berlin with the Pomeranian Philharmonic
- Concerts with the orchestra of the Bilbao Conservatory in Poland, GDR etc.
- 1994 course in Bologna for the interpretation of old masters with original fingerings
- Since 1990 recitals with the Sevillian tenor and friend Pedro Cuadrado
- Concerts with the Colombian baritone Carlos Mera Euler
- 1994 concert with the baritone Ivo Berkenbusch at the Bellapais International Festival in Northern Cyprus
- Prominent organist at Blutenburg Castle
- 2019 Philharmonic Essen and the historic town hall with harmonium and orchestra
- Lecturer in various organ or harmonium courses in different places in Spain
Since 1986 he has been busy with its repair and restoration and since then has given up to 60 concerts a year as a soloist or with various ensembles on the harmonium. He has a large number of historical, very valuable instruments. The oldest of these is the same as the composers Robert and Clara Schumann had or an identical construction by Debain, as also used by Rossini. That is why Müller is often invited as a soloist to interpret the “Rossini Mass”. Through decades of searching, he was able to collect a rich archive of documents on the harmonium as well as around 600 volumes of original literature for it. It is his own not to interpret the repetitive "standard literature" for harmonium. Especially with the often rustic or funny salon music for harmonium, he has already won over many listeners from the harmonium.
As a child, people recognized his great abilities as a pianist, as he played Schubert's works at an early age. During his student days he was in great demand as an excellent sight-reading player, which he may still be today. For years, however, his focus has been on composers from Spain, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Russian masters and Francis Poulenc.
MM began composing piano works early on. This was also his salvation when he had to leave the grammar school in Varel in 1984 and he was recommended to the BFS in Krumbach. He works the romantic tonal language and has composed various works for piano, organ, choir or solo instruments. Together with the rock band Mob Rules he created their famous song "Black rain" and sang it himself.
The music critic
Simply written reports about concerts were always a horror for MM, as they never reflected the real events and the quality of the concerts. So it came about that he worked with a somewhat satirical humor for the Munich Merkur, the Augsburger Allgemeine and the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.
The festival director
- Rühlmannorgel Festival www.rühlmannorgel.de
- Festimusical in castles and churches in Bourgogne and Spain www.festimusical.com
- Confluenz Festival on March and Danube between Vienna and Bratislava
- Organization of concerts and holidays on the Camino de Santiago in Spain www.elcaminomusical.info
The estate owner:
From the Bach researcher Dr. Paul Kast took over the estate of the Silesian composer Max Drischner. Dr. Kast was Drischner's son-in-law and chose Müller, as he has been responsible for spreading Drischner's work since playing the organ for the first time.
He also took over the estate of the Rühlmann organ builder dynasty from Zörbig after the death of his friend and neighbor Albrecht Rühlmann. Here, too, he has been taking care of the worldwide knowledge of this very important family of organ builders for over 15 years. He still uses the original tools and other important documents, thus important specialist knowledge, in his organ workshop.
In addition to several poems that he wrote privately, he also wrote contributions in public works. For example in the new edition of the famous MGG music lexicon, specialist journals for organ music (via Drischner or Rühlmann) or he worked with the well-known Dutch author Karin Anema.
The language lover.
Inspired by his parents' many trips abroad and the friendships on site, MM learned new languages very quickly. His knowledge goes so far that he can translate into five languages at the same time. He has a special love and knowledge of the Dutch, Spanish, French and Italian languages, which he speaks fluently. He has already interpreted for EU congresses in Spain.
As a lover of good, simple cuisine and with the help of the many local churches and restaurants, MM has been organizing culinary-musical study trips to Saxony-Anhalt, Spain and also on the Camino de Santiago in Spain for many years. Small groups as well as choirs can register for this.
La famille musical
Personally and musically important to him are his musical friends, some of whom he has been working with for more than 30 years and who come together again and again at concerts and festivals to give excellent, celebrated concerts.
These include Pedro Cuadrado, tenor from Seville, Cristel de Meulder, soprano and Bart Wils, Bajan from Antwerp, Rodrigo Jarabo, histor. Plucked instruments from Valladolid, Santos Vibot, harmonium, Madrid, Jaroslav Tuma, organ, Prague and Jan van Mol, organ and harmonium, Antwerp.