Götz Naleppa

was born in East Prussia in 1943. Due to the war, he grew up in Berlin and Stuttgart. High-school-graduation in 1963. Studies of Drama, German Literature and History of Art in Berlin and Madrid, 1970 doctor’s degree in philology at the Freie Universität, Berlin; Thesis on ‘Early forms of the religious theatre in Spain – its development and remnants in the contemporary theatre (the ‘Loa’ of La Alberca)’.

Assistant producer at the theatre Schiller-Theater in Berlin for 5 years, during the directorship of Boleslaw Barlog.

Freelance activities as producer of theatre and radio plays, as author and translator (Spanish, English and French).

From 1970 on director of radio plays and editor in the radio play department of the Radio in the American Sector of Berlin ‘RIAS Berlin’. 1977 senior editor at radio-play department of Südwestfunk. 1978 return to RIAS-Berlin.

In the 70s, Naleppa was substantially involved in the development of the documentary play (‘Originaltonhörspiel’) and the dummy head radio play (‘Kunstkopfhörspiel’). Due to the collaboration with George Tabori he focused more and more on the actor in his radio play directions. In the 80s he turned towards musical and experimental radio play forms and towards sound composition.

Own sound compositions starting in 1983, first with the German sound project "Transit Communication". From 1996 on own solo pieces and compositions.

Teaching assignments at the Technical University and the Academy of Fine Arts, both in Berlin; followed by workshops and direction work in Latin America.

From 1994 to 1996 he set up of the radio play departments of Deutschlandradio (Cologne/Berlin) as head of the radio play departments of both broadcasting centers. He founded the weekly slot "Klangkunst" (sound art) at Deutschlandradio.

1996 producer and editor for Deutschlandradio Kultur (responsible editor for sound art)

Götz Naleppa left Deutschlandradio end of 2008. Work as freelance director, sound artist and composer.

Götz Naleppa was several times President of the jury of "Prix Phonurgia Nova" and "Prix Pierre Schaeffer" and permanent Member of the Advisary Board of New York Festivals.

Numerous prizes for radio play direction and sound composition: many times Radio Play of the Month ‘Hörspiel des Monats’, Prix Europa, Prix Marulic, Prix Italia, Gold Medal of New York Festivals in 2008, 2014 and 2018 - among others).

‘Radio people’

from the program-booklet 5/2003 by Deutschlandradio:

‘Radio? I did not inherit it. At the beginning it looked rather like a theatre career: at the age of 16 setting up of a school theatre in Stuttgart, supernumerary at the opera house, then students’ theatre, studies of drama, assistant producer of the director Boleslaw Barlog at the theatre Schiller/Schlosspark-Theater in Berlin for 5 years, taking the rehearsals of Beckett, Kortner, Schweikart, learning the theatre handicraft rising from the ranks, in addition to studies and the doctor’s degree.

And then, when my teacher Barlog left: one of the numerous breaks in my life: I turned away from theatre and towards a new medium, unknown to me: radio play. A representation due to illness of a RIAS producer gave me the chance. Which button do I have to press if I want the actors behind the pane to hear me? Imperceptibly, the new medium seduced me from the optical perception into listening, listening actively. The heard sounds don’t they penetrate into layers of the human being inaccessible to the sight?

Meeting a new great teacher, George Tabori, was striking for me. We lived in ‘the wild 70s’ of the the RIAS radio play department, experiments: collages, documentary play, dummy head, team work, all these forms where a mirror of the revolt of 68. And Tabori spoke of listening actively, respecting the actor, curiosity and liveliness. Maybe that this was the time when I understood what it means to be a producer as I see this vocation today. But it was above all the head of the radio play department Gerhard Niezoldi’s tolerance and humaneness, an unadjusted person with an antenna for talent and quality, which permitted this productive time of apprenticeship.

When he left, the years of apprenticeship were followed by years of migration, guest direction of radio plays at many ARD radio broadcasting stations. And then there was the fall of the Berlin Wall and, shortly after, the RIAS had ceased to exist. – Another break. The situation now called for taking responsibility, not only for one single radio play manuscript, one radio play production, but for a whole radio play department, at first for Deutschlandfunk in Cologne, then for both Radio Play departments of Deutschlandradio in Berlin and Cologne. This meant to do without my own artistic work for the benefit of the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ radio play program, setting up a new department in Berlin, composed by East and West, where everybody could learn from everybody; an exciting and exhausting experience. Once the setting up was completed and the structures were created – there was another break: renunciation of the management of the radio play department and return to my own artistic work and above all - the concentration upon a secret love: sound art, the musical aspect of radio play.

Imperceptibly, music accompanied me during my whole professional life, beginning with the supernumeraries at the Stuttgart opera house, when I bore gold bars onto the stage for the singer Wolfgang Windgassen in the opera ‘Rheingold’, via nights with Pink Floyd and The Beatles’ White Album in the 60s on to the foundation of the experimental radio play formation ‘Transit Communication’ with jazz musicians at the beginning of the 80s. Only later I noticed how much my secret love music participated in every one of my radio play productions. And now the broadcast ‘sound art’ by Deutschlandradio Kultur, every week 55 minutes of sound composition at midnight, boundless, unheard-of; text – sound – music? Again the well-known place between the seats: uncomfortable and unsuitable for sleeping. What did Tabori always require during the rehearsals? ‘Do remain curious!’ When I grew older, this curiosity rather increased, and also the wish to pass on what I have learnt – in universities and in workshops, in order to promote the next generation – maybe to express my thanks to my great teachers. Before this background my favorite broadcast, the newcomers’ workshop, has been created, which is not dedicated to the masters of sound art, but to the immature, the gifted, the searching artists, the young row makers and troublemakers. Isn’t the German word ‘Unruhe’ (balance spring) for the small part making the clock go round the same as for restlessness?

(Götz Naleppa)

"Magic in deeper layers"

Der Tagesspiegel from 20.12.2013

"Götz Naleppa is one of the best-known makers of radio-plays in this country. On Christmas Eve he will be 70. A pre-celebration in Friedenau..."

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