The early years
Lutz Koppetsch was born in the German town of Aachen in 1976 and grew up in Krefeld. His mother provided a musical environment, having learned classical guitar and piano. She was happy to note how readily her young son would sing, deciding early on he should attend music lessons. Forced to choose between xylophone and recorder, he opted immediately for the woodwind instrument. He was however not happy with the instrument. Inspired by a neighbour, he took up the clarinet. And when he met his teacher, the Hungarian saxophonist Laszlo Dömötör, he soon knew where his heart lay.
During his time at school Lutz Koppetsch travelled each week from Krefeld to Amsterdam, just two hours away, in order to study with Arno Bornkamp at the “Conservatorium van Amsterdam“. Here he felt for the first time how it might be possible to project the expressive, aspects of the saxophone sound, the colours and timbral potential as it were. Bornkamp had soon helped Lutz emerge from his musical shell and was then able to set him on his way. Expression was the watchword.
After leaving school, Lutz Koppetsch moved in 1997 to Amsterdam and joined the class of Arno Bornkamp, comprising but 16 students. There followed four exciting years, ones in which he expanded his horizons enormously. The exchange of ideas with other classmates was rapid and a healthy sense of competition was encouraged. He was awarded his diploma in 2001, passing instrumental and pedagogical studies with artistic merit.
Journeyman years in Amsterdam and Paris
Lutz Koppetsch then decided to study for a master’s degree at the “ Conservatorium van Amsterdam”. He also took up the chance to be part of an exchange programme with the “Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris”. Here he entered the class of Claude Delangle, and experienced the lightness of being we so often connect with the French school of saxophone playing.
He was so fascinated by this sound, that he entered the Conservatoire National de Region de Versailles, studying with V. David, a pupil of Delangle. In the environs of Paris, he submersed himself in the French method, one that brought out the brilliant sound of the instrument and which propagated the philosophy of “clarité de la composition”. In 2003 he completed these studies, being awarded the “Prix de Perfectionement à l’unanimité”. There followed two further years’ study back in Amsterdam.
Competitions, bursaries and prizes
As a member of the saxophone quartet “Saxemble”, Lutz Koppetsch was four times winner of Germany’s renowned competition for young musicians “Jugend Musiziert”. He continues to play with the ensemble. In 1997 he obtained first place for solo performance and was awarded the “Hans-Sikorski-Gedächtnis-Preis” for the best interpretation of a contemporary work. He then decided to become a professional musician.
In 1999 he won 2nd Prize at the “Third International Saxophone Competition Gustav Bumcke”, and in 2000 the First Prize at the “First International Competition for Saxophone Ensembles Gustav Bumcke” in Dortmund. In 2001 there followed the Third Prize at the “50th ARD International Music Competition” in Munich, a success which elevated him to one of the most important saxophonists in Germany.
Lutz Koppetsch received a bursary from the “Deutscher Musikwettbewerb“, the “Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben” and was offered a place at the “Young Artists Concerts 2004/2005” of the German Music Council. His studies in France were supported by the “ZEIT-Stiftung”.
On stage – with orchestra, quartet playing, duos
His experience as an orchestral musician date back to his youth, Lutz Koppetsch having been a member of the “Landesjugendblasorchester NRW”, and the “Bundesjugendorchester” as well as the “Orchester der Jungen Deutschen Philharmonie”. He was soon playing with many renowned ensembles, including: Ensemble Modern Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Symphoniker, Essener Philharmoniker, Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Radio Sinfonie Orkest Hilversum, and the WDR Sinfonie- und Rundfunkorchester. Lutz Koppetsch benefited greatly from these opportunities. He was fascinated, too, by the way that the saxophone could so easily be integrated into larger instrumental ensembles.
As a member of “Saxemble”, we enter a different sound world. Lutz Koppetsch has developed as a player just as the group has done. They have performed at the “Schleswig-Holstein-Musikfestival”, at the “Rheingau-Musik-Festival”, at the Festival Mecklenburg-Vorpommern“ as well as at the “Düsseldorfer Altstadtherbst”. Lutz Koppetsch also plays with the “Alliage Saxophone Quartet“, just another of his musical activities, other members including Professor Daniel Gauthier from the Musikhochschule in Cologne, and Martin Hilner and Sebastian Pottmeier. The name of the ensemble is taken from the French “alliage”, translatable as “alloy”, whereby the intended meaning is the way copper and zinc can melt to form a saxophone. The quartet counts original compositions as well as transcriptions and arrangements of music form earlier eras among its repertory.
Lutz Koppetsch has appeared throughout Germany and the rest of Europe, and has undertaken tours to Japan, the USA, Central America, North Africa, and (in the Summer of 2004) to South America (Argentina) as well. It was here that he realised how music can break down cultural barriers. “It is in these poorer countries in which one encounters such an enthusiasm for music”, he comments, adding “the people can absorb the musical message much more easily than we do, whether is be Salsa or classical European music.” On his trips abroad Koppetsch has made many a rich encounter – when a musician travels the length and breadth of country, something special will surely emerge.
It was during the winter semester 2002 that the call came, from Würzburg, Lutz Koppetsch taking up a position at the Musikhochschule there. Students had heard him play at a Berio concert in Amsterdam, and asked him whether he might apply for a position in Würzburg. His playing and didactic intentions convinced not just the other members of staff but the students, too. Again, he considers it a challenge to be such an important part of the world of the saxophone in our times.
Lutz Koppetsch & La piccola banda
Together with his new ensemble "La piccola banda", Lutz Koppetsch features a crossover program between classical and folk music in the fascinating combination of a solo saxophone with violin, viola, violoncello, double bass, harp and accordeon.
The first CD, released with Speltral Records, is titled "Far Away". The second album (in preparation) is dedicated to the magic of the night.
© Peter Blum
Hanke World Premiere
Lutz Koppetsch was scheduled for November 2020 to premiere the new saxophone concerto by Stefan Johannes Hanke, together with the SWR Sinfonieorchester under the direction of Ingo Metzmacher. Due to the Covid 19 policy, the premiere (Stuttgart Liederhalle, Freiburg Konzerthaus, Cologne Philharmonic Hall) had to be cancelled.
The premiere is to be rescheduled for this year. The new dates have not yet been released.