Interview: Philipp Tröstl
Philipp Tröstl © Lukas Beck

Philipp Tröstl © Lukas Beck

Interview: Philipp Tröstl


Philipp Tröstl composes music and arrangements for jazz and classical ensembles. And he gives music a voice as part of productions and cultural political explorations, such as the recent analysis of Joseph Beuys’ legendary Club 2 appearance. He is currently writing the soundtrack for Georg Riha’s ORF series Über Österreich (“About Austria”). And he plays guitar. On the grassy picnic area in the Goldenes Quartier, he will play improvisations of both his own compositions and jazz classics.

Occupation Composer, musician
Lives in Vienna
Favourite childhood song “In die Berg’ bin i gern”
Earworm “Lemme Take You to the Beach” (Frank Zappa)
Plays Piano, guitar, backgammon

What’s a good earworm and what’s an annoying one?
Sadly even songs that you don’t like can become earworms! I find it annoying when you can tell that a song has probably been made to be an earworm. My worst earworm is “What’s up” by 4 Non Blondes, because I associate it with something negative, and because the verse has the same chords as the chorus.

Which earworm do you wish you had composed?
“Nessun dorma”. From the opera Turandot by Giacomo Puccini.

You write music for films and the theatre. Which place in Vienna inspires you to compose dramatic or funny tunes?
Mostly my own four walls, but also the Prater, the Danube Canal, the River Wien, the Kahlenberg Mountain, St. Stephan’s Cathedral.

Your compositions are played by the Viennese big band Nouvelle Cuisine, a jazz orchestra with one of the richest traditions in Vienna, which likes to mix up musical flavours. When you’re hungry, where in Vienna are you served good music along with good food?
I like to go to Viennese coffee houses where no music is played at all. The rustling of newspapers and hushed conversations are the most pleasant acoustic accompaniment when eating. A good combination of food and music might be a trip to the opera – preferably Turandot – and grabbing something hot from a Würstelstand (sausage stand) during the interval.

Dreaming sometimes feels like watching a film. Do you dream with a “soundtrack”?
No. Sometimes I dream about “really great, unknown music” – that I’ve composed in the dream – but I can never recreate it afterwards. Which is probably for the best, because it’s bound to be really hackneyed.

You are a guitar player, a composer and an arranger. Which three Viennese locations would you associate with the musical genres hip hop, new age and pop?
Hip hop: Wurstelprater (amusement park)
New age: Kirche am Steinhof (church)
Pop: Hundertwasserhaus

Which film’s soundtrack do you wish you had written?
The Third Man.

Philipp Tröstl is playing guitar from 11 a.m to 12 p.m. on 26th June for the Picnic in the City in the Goldenes Quartier.


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