Norbert Trawöger is eigensinnig

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Norbert Trawöger ist eigensinnig – ein Portrait | Black Curtain






Norbert Trawöger – a portrait




Norbert Trawöger is a colorful character who loves to wear black. He is the Artistic Director of the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, a flutist, the Artistic Director of the first Upper Austrian Cultural Expo 2024, teacher, author, and a father.


For the 200th anniversary of Anton Bruckner, we created and tailored a custom suit for him. In the interview, he talks about amazement and clothing, perseverance and doubt, Bruckner and boredom, and the potential of the uncontrollable to save the world.










Norbert Trawöger in the interview with eigensinnig wien





Norbert, would you describe yourself as obstinate?

Self-perception is tricky, but I certainly have a lot of sense for the sensuous, I have always been interested in the field of art and the realm of the human. In terms of pronounced individualism, I am definitely obstinate, I would say.


Does the world need more obstinate individuals?

I am quite sure of that. That is, in the sense that one discovers a passion that fulfills them, that one stays with it in all its consequences and thus helps to shape the world and their life. I find that very essential. To find a passion at all is something beautiful. It has to do with luck and opportunities and with the question of where you grew up. I am aware that I grew up in a resonant space that is not a given. I am aware that we live here in Austria in a box seat of world events. And as a musician's child, which I am, music was always there. In this sense, I would wish for many more obstinate people who are in their fire, their enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a human force that brings us together, that brings empathy, that is contagious. It is a powerful force.




Enthusiasm is a human force that brings us together, that brings empathy, that is contagious. It is a powerful force.




Today, you are dressed in a suit from eigensinnig wien – how did you and eigensinnig wien find each other?

My father's wife stumbled across it in the seventh district and said we absolutely had to go there. My wife and I went right away. And from the moment we arrived, there was this atmosphere. How you are received, how you are perceived, what the spaces are like. And of course, we were also thrilled by the clothing. It was clear we would return. A powerful spirit is palpable, there are strong, ever-changing products.

Norbert Trawöger in an avant-garde fashion suit from eigensinnig wien



We at eigensinnig wien have created and tailored an Anton Bruckner suit for you. How does it feel to let Bruckner get so close to you?

His music moved me already as an eight-year-old and is very close to me. To now wear him on my skin, and in a brilliant, unique design by eigensinnig is a dream that not only excites me a lot.


What importance does clothing have for you in general?

Clothing is important because, on the one hand, it puts you in the mood and posture for certain situations. It's a good feeling to be dressed in things that underline, express one's individuality. To agree with what one wears.

As a musician playing a concert, you have to put yourself in a certain place, into a uniform, and elevate your body posture – although I am for an open dress code in classical music, especially in the audience. You don't always have to get dolled up, it's about the event itself, and then I'm also fine if someone comes to the concert in jeans.


Norbert Trawöger plays, designs, writes, and speaks, as stated on your website. Thus, you embody a multitude of roles. You are the artistic director of the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, a flutist, the artistic head of the first Upper Austrian Cultural Expo 2024, a teacher, author, and father. What connects all these roles?

Passion, curiosity, and the fearlessness to try things and seize opportunities. It almost sounds as though I'm collecting functions. However, this portfolio is a vast bouquet of states that have simply come to be. At the heart, of course, is art, music—not only playing it but also talking about it, designing formats, curating, and organizing. Always out of excitement and a physical discipline to truly seize things, to be seized by them, and to persevere. It's an incredible amount of hard work, but also great joy.

My days are long; I know how much one often has to invest to achieve something, to network. There are many moments of doubt and despair. But I also love doubt. It's a motivator to persevere and to check if what one is doing still holds true. To explore how one can evolve to find a distinctive path to solve and fulfill tasks. I want to develop and transform until my last breath, and that's why Bruckner is a major theme in my life.



Norbert Trawöger plays, designs, writes and speaks.




I want to develop and transform myself until my last breath, and that's why Bruckner is a major theme in my life.




How did you come to Bruckner?

Aside from his music, I am deeply moved by him as a figure. Not being a child prodigy, but having a talent and seizing it, often under adverse conditions, with little resonance, with great failures, and persevering, revealing oneself piece by piece. To achieve the first real success at 60 and then to fail again in the next moment. I'm interested in this character not only biographically but in this perseverance, this development, and resilience. Bruckner knew where his heart burned – and he followed it. With a lot of discipline, hard work, much vulnerability, likely many sleepless nights.


Why is it so important to try things out?

I dare to say what distinguishes me is dedicating myself to my inclinations and passions with persistence and consistency. I even have a certain obstinacy in trying out things that appeal to me, even if I'm not sure. One day, a music theater collective approached me, asking if I wanted to play along. I had never played theater before, but I was interested. When requests come in that stir a certain nervousness and uncertainty in me, an excitement about the task, I've made it a habit to immediately say yes, and I actually do very well with that. Maybe a few weeks later, I think, what have you gotten yourself into? It involves exposing oneself, learning a lot of new things, and showing oneself on stage. It's a kind of nudity, stepping in front of someone, which I, of course, know as a musician – and after which one can also become a bit hungry. 


Clothing can make something visible, it can be an amplifier but also have a balancing effect. It can surprise, irritate, provoke. Aren't these all things it shares with music? What parallels do you see between music and fashion?

I haven't asked myself this question yet, but I find it fascinating to think about. Clothing envelops us, provides protection, makes us feel secure, makes something visible. It cuddles up to the skin, is very close to us, touches us, and expresses a lot – just like music. I become alert when someone says: I am unmusical. There are no unmusical people! Everyone listens to music, even the deaf hear music through their skin. Maybe someone can't sing certain pitches, but music, the audible, connects us.

In the audible, we belong together, just consider the word togetherness. There's hearing from each other, which also has to do with a sound, a noise. It might be calming, hearing someone in the next room, but not seeing them. Feeling that there's someone there. Or also, someone disturbs because they are too loud. Up to the music that puts us in a mood. There's nothing more fleeting than music, maybe that's where fashion differs from music. I take off and put on clothing, wash it in between. Music puts us in a certain mood, excites us, or simply envelops us because it's good that something is in the room, because it's pleasant. Then there's the total devotion of listening, an incredibly active activity, involving the whole body. And of course, music in the narrower sense is my daily experience space. There are many parallels. 


Norbert Trawöger in a tailor-made suit from eigensinnig wien



What is the wonderful thing about music?

I consider it an incredible miracle that we humans come together and play together. This act of coming together is an ancient act. The early humans clapped stones, sang and drummed around the campfire, they made flutes from branches. Music never gets boring, there's always something to discover, even if I've heard or played a piece hundreds of times. Music always amazes me. Amazement is a human process that can't be feigned, not manufactured. There's no false amazement in real life, either you're amazed or you can tell it's made up. Many other states I can play and in playing even feel to a certain extent, but not with amazement. 


Is there uncontrollability in amazement?

With uncontrollability, a term that comes from Hartmut Rosa, it's partly about being surprised. To marvel at the snow that falls. I once experienced this when I studied in Göteborg. There was a Brazilian who saw snow for the first time in his life at 40. A sacred moment! Especially in this uncontrollability, in what cannot be planned, what is not calculable, the primal human is palpable. That's where the spirit spreads, where emotion spreads, or even irritation. I have nothing against irritation, if something disgusts me or occupies me. Even a piece of music I may find unbearable and therefore it may not leave me alone, it touches my heart. This incubation time, this moment of irritation, I find quite precious. This uncontrollability is indeed something that could save the world, where we could save ourselves into. To have an awareness for moments of amazement that cannot be planned.




There is no false amazement in the right life.




Your last book is called “Spiel” (in English: Play). In it, you describe play as "self-forgetfulness, absorption, inner and outer movement, a state of possibility. Playing is serious, but does not take itself seriously." Can playing also make the world a little better?

I think so. The concept of play is an incredibly large one with many facets. I aim at the playing that we all bring with us when we playfully discover the world as children. When we learn to crawl and grab, spending hours with a piece of paper without needing anything else – and that from an intrinsic need, from a lust for discovery that lies at the base of every human. One enters a room of the useless and purpose-free, gets filled with something. As a musician, one has to train with a lot of discipline like a high-performance athlete so that something becomes playful, that one does something with a flick of the wrist, with ease. It's about achieving virtuosity.

As a flutist, which I am, it's my central primal mission to meet and surpass myself when I take the flute in my hands, which is very rare these days; I always have to create islands to return home. But also watching my children, how they have access to this world of magic, this world of amazement with all the possibilities that are in it. I believe to really solve problems and challenges like the climate crisis, we need to enter the field of research, of possibilities, of individual development. Especially because we feel ourselves in it. 



Norbert Trawöger playing the flute in a tailor-made suit from eigensinnig wien



Is doing nothing also important?

A sibling concept to playing is boredom. I consider boredom to be quite central. To surrender oneself, not knowing, wandering around, being in thoughts, being bored and in the next moment starting something or not starting anything, thus being lazy. This is something I still want to learn in my life. Motion often becomes a drivenness, that's why I intend to really learn doing nothing.


Stefan Zweig said: the pause also belongs to music.

Exactly, without pause, there's no music. The moment of fading, the moment before starting, those are the magical moments where there's silence. Silence does not mean soundproof space, it can be silence within, reverberation, lingering.




Norbert Trawöger in his tailor-made suit from eigensinnig wien


Norbert Trawöger is artistic director of the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, flautist, artistic director of the first Upper Austrian Cultural Expo 2024, teacher, author and father.
Link to his homepage:


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Black Curtain

This is the name of our portrait series in which we spotlight distinctive personalities. Individuals who are connected with us and who carry the avant-garde fashion of eigensinnig wien into the world. Often in the form of tailor-made creations from our in-house atelier.