Peter Wittmann Kalal
Following initial training there as an orchestral tubist, Peter Kalal graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2012 with a BMus in Musical Arts, his senior thesis exploring Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk and its implications for contemporary stagings of the composer’s oeuvre. That same year, Peter received a BA in German from the University of Rochester, writing a thesis that examined temporal and ontological ambiguities in Kafka’s “Das Urteil.” Before coming to Columbia, Peter spent a year teaching English and studying at the University of Cologne.
Now in his fourth year in the PhD program of Columbia’s Department of Germanic Languages, Peter’s desire for an interdisciplinary study of music has brought him to focus on the composer, philosopher, and musicologist Theodor Adorno. His current research examines how Adorno’s various depictions of musical form relate to his conceptions of the new, the fragment, and the experimental. In his dissertation Peter will probe the connections between Adorno’s ideas and those of German aestheticians around 1800, with the hopes of shedding light on the formal procedures of select works of contemporary avant-garde music in the process.