Maxim Starcke is a South African composer, multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, classical/electric guitar and electric bass), music producer, artist and educator, born and living in Cape Town.
He received a Bmus at the South African College of Music UCT in 2004, majoring in composition, classical guitar with a distinction in ethnomusicology. He was awarded the Meyer Levinson prize for best original composition in 2003. Later in 2012 Starcke received his Masters in Composition with distinction, supervised by Emeritus Prof Peter Klatzow and Dr Morne Bezuidenhout.
In 2011, during the research for his dissertation ‘Aspects of Landscape Music’, Starcke was awarded the UCT Jules Kramer overseas travel award to visit Norway where he interviewed electric guitarist Eivind Aarset. In 2010 he visited Yale University, USA, to interview American composer Ingram Marshall. Aarset and Marshall were both included as part of the study topic for his dissertation. During this time, Starcke composed a portfolio of works consisting of the electro-acoustic piece ‘Stroompie’ and orchestral works ‘Overberg Suite’ and ‘esCape’ (the latter two premiered by the Cape Town Goema Orchestra in 2012 and 2013 respectively). In August 2014 the Cape Town Goema Orchestra premiered his piece ‘Transcending Landscape’ for soprano saxophone and string orchestra at the South African College of Music.
New Music SA (the South African section of the International Society for Contemporary Music) commissioned Starcke to compose a 10 minute work for performance with the South African New Music Ensemble at the 2014 edition of the Unyazi IV Electronic Music Festival in Johannesburg. The South African New Music Ensemble (Jill Richards, Morne van Heerden, Frank Mallows, Waldo Alexander, Marguerite Spies, Brydon Bolton, conducted by Gerben Grooten) premiered ‘Stroompie: Continuo’ at the Goethe Institute on September 11th 2014.
In 2013, Starcke produced a live album with Ronan Skillen entitled ‘Forgery’ and is currently producing the forthcoming album ‘Incantations’ by Souls Of Ancient Fish, a collaboration with SA/Aus poet/journalist Ruben Mowszowski and African Music lecturer/icon Dizu Plaatjies. In 2016 he released two album, ‘Cape Dimensions’ (premiered at the Unyazi Festival 2016 with Brydon Bolton and Frank Mallows) and Offworld (launched at The Forge in Kalk Bay, which featured Matthew Rice and Byron R. Howell). 2017 so far has seen the release of the second Starcke+Skillen collaboration album entitled ‘Shapeshifter’. Launch performances of ‘Offworld’ and ‘Shapeshifter’ both featured film-maker/VJ Tom Glenn. During 2015-2017, Starcke produced the sound and music for ‘Karoo Disclosure’, a collaborative video-art exhibition held at the Iziko SA Museum that comments on the effects of controversial hydraulic fracturing (AKA fracking) prospecting in the Karoo. in August 2017, Mowszwoski and Starcke launched new surround-sound recordings for an installation at iMPAC Festival in Pretoria. These recordings are to be released as a new digital album.
Starcke has also worked and performed with SA jazz vocalist Lisa Bauer (performing at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2011 and on her SAMA-nominated album ‘Finding A New Way’); at several annual editions on the On The Edge of Wrong Festival; with Norwegian improvisors Morten Minot Kristiansen & Torgrim Mellum Stene in Oslo, Norway; with Øyvind Skarbø & MotSol at St Georges Cathedral, Cape Town; songwriter Matthew Rice; Starkravingsane; jazz/rock quartet Cascade; afro-funk group Alan Funk; toured Holland and Swaziland with afro-rock-pop project Hot Water; extreme metal band Damnatia; performance artist Leila Anderson (sound design for ‘Shlof shoyn mein kind’ performed at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown & ‘Exotic Alien’, EOW Festival); theatre director Sanjin Muftiç (short film ‘Stripped’); film director Ben Collins (short film ‘Screenplay’) and documentary film-maker Damien Schumann (music for new malaria medicine venture films), amongst many other events, bands and projects.