Josef Haller

Josef Haller


Senior Lecturer for piano (ME/IME) and new musicDepartment Music Education Innsbruck

The South Tyrolean pianist and composer Josef Haller underwent classical piano training, but his curiosity and thirst for fresh sounds soon led him to contemporary, experimental, and electronic music and ultimately to the world of jazz.

From a young age, he has been involved in improvisation and composition, trying to leave behind the constraints of classical conventions and break down outdated genre boundaries in favor of a style-crossing eclecticism. His interest in various music genres such as metal, prog rock, art pop, electronica, minimal, hip-hop, new music, “world music”, funk, and jazz stems from a desire to connect seemingly musical opposites in various projects that cannot be dismissed with the word "crossover". The mutual fertilization of this diversity of musical expression leads him in turn to idiosyncratic interpretations of classical music, which Haller wants to approach not as a museum piece but with the liveliness, freedom, and self-conception of today's music.

As part of the Ensemble WirkWerk and in a duo with the Tyrolean cellist Valerie Fritz, he regularly travels with mixed programs of classical, contemporary, and electronic music in Austria and abroad. As a co-founder of the young Innsbruck concert series noiz//elektrorauschen, Haller curates events in various areas of experimental sound art, from instrumental composition and improvisation to electroacoustic music, noise, and ambient to visual arts, performance, and sound installation.

Haller received his first musical education at the local music school and at the C. Monteverdi Conservatory in Bolzano with Prof. Andrea Bonatta. From 2012 to 2017, he studied instrumental pedagogy at Mozarteum Innsbruck, as well as piano concert performance (Sebastian Euler) and composition (Franz Baur) at the Tyrolean State Conservatory. He then continued his education at the Royal Academy of Music Aarhus (Denmark) with a master's degree in piano with a focus on contemporary music (Søren Rastogi and Martin Qvist-Hansen) as well as composition (Niels Rønsholdt and Simon Steen-Andersen). From 2019 to 2021, he complemented his education with a course in jazz piano at the Tyrolean State Conservatory with Stephan Costa. He attended master classes with Arie Vardi, Tamara Stefanovich (contemporary piano music), Teppo Koivisto, Christoph Hammer, Kirill Kashin, and Jens Elvekjær, among others.

Haller won 2nd prize at the Wendl&Lung Young Pianist Competition Vienna, the Lothar-Bandermann Prize of the Vienna Young Pianists, and the Audience Prize of the Piano-Academy Eppan. In the piano duo with Raphaela Selhofer, he was a special prize winner at the International Johannes Brahms Chamber Music Competition. Furthermore, the duo achieved 2nd prize at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Rome and won the selection play of Musica Juventutis.

His compositions have been performed at the ORF Landesstudio Tirol, Klangspuren Schwaz, TransArt Festival Bolzano, Zeitimpuls - Tyrolean Days for New Music, Hong Kong-Vienna Music Festival, Easter Plays Sterzing, Pulsar Festival Copenhagen, and Panorama Festival Aarhus. In 2016, he received the Hilde Zach Composition Scholarship from the city of Innsbruck as well as a composition scholarship from Kraftwerk Neue Musik Tirol. A selection of his works has been released on two CDs by Petrichor Records and Helbling/Naxos. Since 2020 he teaches piano (ME/IME) and contemporary music at Mozarteum Innsbruck.