Composer and painter: Friedrich Cerha (1926-2023) was both. Karsten Witt on his encounters with the artist since the 1980s.

I have known Friedrich Cerha since the mid-1980s. It was probably HK Gruber that introduced him to the Ensemble Modern, which I was managing at the time. In his works Keintate I + II and Eine Art Chansons he wrote a chansonnier part that was particularly suited to Nali Gruber, and which he still often performs. We soon invited Friedrich Cerha as a conductor and made guest appearances with him including at the 1988 Salzburg Festival. In the 1990s at the Vienna Konzerthaus I got to know the composer even better, and we regularly programmed works of his, both small- and large-scale. I have particularly vivid memories of the performances of his Langegger Nachtmusik III and a Webern programme he led with the Klangforum Wien.