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IMAGINARY REAL - Sophia Körber

Composers: Arsalan Abedian, Afshin Motlaghfard, Joachim Heintz, Martyna Kosecka


23.08 at 19:30


Körber's musical theater piece "Imaginary Real" explores the world of dreams through different stories. She sings five sections with music by five different composers from three different countries: Germany, Poland and Iran. VoxLAB board member Martyna Kosecka was invited to compose "Split" specifically for Sophia Körber as part of the musical theater work "Imaginary Real". The world premiere of "Imaginary Real" took place in Hannover, Germany, on 09 October 2021, at the Sprengel Museum Hannover.

"Ich ward mein Lied" - Arsalan Abedian (IR/DE)

Based on an ›imaginary‹ text, the composition slowly unfolds from the ›unreal‹ to the ›real‹. The original poem by Kurt Schwitters (›Ich sing mein Lied‹, around 1913) was transformed into an imaginary text using Caesar cipher. The letters E, R and Z (derived from the word and term ›MERZ‹. invented by Schwitters) were added to this new text full of consonants. The ›real‹ lyrical poem was transformed into a Dadaist, ›unreal‹ concrete poetry, which is performed like a sound poem. In the second half of the piece, the original text was alienated using a different approach: The words created by ›MERZ‹ became new words (anagrams) by subtracting and rearranging the letters. In this section, however, the poem returns to its ›real‹ state at the end. The electronics are influenced by Schwitters' idea of ​​the ›Simultangedichts‹. The composition was created in collaboration with the soprano Sophia Körber and is characterized in many ways by her versatile voice and her unique interpretation. 

"Gham-angiiz" - Afshin Motlaghfard (IR)

This lied for soprano and electronics (fixed media in 4 channels) was based on a poem called Sorrowful (Gham-angīz) by the contemporary Iranian poet Reza Zaahed.


Just say
How to get back
Towards the beginning
And to the presence of the silent sun
that they have dimmed
And embraced with the dead stars
At the very end
How do they count so much agony
Why do they prepare these continuous agonies

"ir:re:real" - Joachim Heintz (DE)

Pronouncing the German word irreal [unreal] with some faltering or stumbling, the word that comes out is irrereal [insanereal]. And it is insane — the real. And doesn't it also quite often stumble and falter, the real, the effective? Stumbling between here and there, between this and that reality, which we still cannot grasp, between the seemingly unreal, which is (in particular in the age of electronic media) indeed very real. 

In the dream that is put on stage in irrereal, a singer stands with closed eyes and wearing headphones in front of the audience and speak-sings the sentence: "Everything is real." She speak-sings the single phonemes it is made of, taking long pauses. Almost the whole time, what the audience hears is not her real voice, but her voice coming from two loud speakers that are arranged in front of her. Is she still really singing, or is she lipsynching and the sounds are coming from somewhere else, are not really here at all? And when, by electronic transformations, the audience hears more than one tone, which one is real and which one is transformed?

"Split" - Martyna Kosecka (PL/NO)

"Split" is a composition that balances in the domain of real and unreal, between the dream and reality, both musically and conceptually. It expresses doubt, uncertainty, and fragility towards the act of living and the needs that come of what we want, but what we experience at first and what we cannot grasp at the end. The poem by Edgar Allan Poe, entitled "A Dream Within a Dream," presents precisely the discourse of identifying yourself in the contemporaries of our existence. It becomes deconstructed and defragmented between the soprano, its live-processed sound, and the accompanying fixed media sound landscapes in a way that the actual sound source becomes undiscoverable. However, the voice, driven by the poem's words, always remains a driving force in creating an entitled split - of realities, dreams, and the very self.

Meet The Artists


The German soprano Sophia Körber is internationally active as an opera, concert and oratorio singer. In 2020, the Vorarlberger Nachrichten praised her "magical tones" as Servilia in Mozart's La clemenza di Tito at the Landestheater Bregenz, Austria. She is a prizewinner in the national vocal competition Bundeswettbewerb Gesang Berlin and the winner of the Treviso Giovani Musicisti international competition in the Contemporary Music category. In the 2022/2023 season, she will again sing the lead role of Gerda in Die Schneekönigin (World Premiere) by Samuel Penderbayne at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the high coloratura soprano role in SIRIUS by Stockhausen at the Stockhausen Foundation in Kürten. Recordings and radio broadcasts for BR, NDR Kultur, ORF and Deutschlandfunk document her concert work.

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 Afshin Motlaghfard

Afshin Motlaghfard (Shiraz, Iran -1991) began his music studies in violin under the instruction of Kaveh Keshavarz. Then he attended the theory and composition classes of Ali Radman. In 2014 Motlaghfard graduated from the Azad University of Shiraz with a bachelor’s degree in composition, and after that, pursued his studies in composition with Mehdi Kazerouni and Ashkan Behzadi. Alongside his composition career, Afshin is a self taught pianist and he has performed and organised numerous piano recitals and electroacoustic music events in Iran.


Martyna Kosecka is a Polish composer, conductor, performer, and researcher in new music, based in Norway since 2019. She studied composition and orchestral conducting in the Music Academies in Kraków and Katowice, in Poland. Through her strong connection with Iran's culture and art, she is dedicated to promoting contemporary Iranian music through the activities of co-founded Spectro Centre for New Music and artistic co-direction of Tehran Contemporary Music Festival. In her music, she experiments with alternative tunings, microtonality, and electroacoustic processing of sounds. With engagement and curiosity, she plays with the perception of time and focuses on extracting timbral qualities of each individual sound through a microperspective approach. 

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Arsalan Abedian was born 1983 in Tehran. In 2007 he graduated from Azad University with a Bachelor’s degree in composition and in 2011 from Tehran University of Art with a Master’s degree in the same field. He continued his studies at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media (where he obtained a Master’s degree in Electronic Music in 2014 and a Soloklasse Konzertexamen degree in composition in 2016). Abedian studied composition in Iran i. a. with Kiawasch Sahebnassagh and in Germany with Oliver Schneller, Joachim Heintz, Ming Tsao and Gordon Williamson as well as taking composition seminars with Rebecca Saunders and José María Sánchez-Verdú.Abedian has been received among other stipends, a one-year composition scholarship (2018 – 2019) from the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture, and his works have been played by several ensembles. The DEGEM (German Society for Electroacoustic Music) has published two of his works in its CD-Edition (CD 13 Grenzen, 2015 as well as CD 14 Escape, 2016).  He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in musicology in Hanover.


After studying Literature and Art History, Joachim Heintz began his composition studies with Younghi Pagh-Paan and Guenter Steinke in Bremen in 1995 at the Hochschule Fuer Kuenste. During the course of his studies in Bremen, he worked intensively in the electronic music field and with mixed media such as video. He is currently the head of the electronic studio FMSB in the institute for new music - Incontri - at the HMTM in Hannover (Hanover University of Music Drama and Media). He has also been teaching Audio-Programming at the HfK Bremen for many years and is still a member of the Theater der Versammlung in Bremen. He composes both for instruments and electronics, for concerts, sound installations, performances and as theatre music. He is an active member of the Open Source community, in particular in the development of Csound and CsoundQt. As head of the Hanover Society for Contemporary Music (HGNM) he initiates and hosts workshops, discussions and concerts as encounters between traditional asian instruments and contemporary music.

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