© Hyou Vielz
© Hyou Vielz

The founder of the LOFT Hans Martin Müller was born in 1952 in Geldern in the Lower Rhine region. His musical career (fipple flute) started in YMCAs’ recorder group in Kamp-Lintfort. Lessons on the Western concert flute and the saxophone were soon to follow, but from the very beginning his interested lay in contemporary music, which at that time was Jazz, Rhythm&Blues and Soul. In 1967 he played in his first band alongside the founder of the New Jazz Festival Moers Burkard Hennen. Additional groups followed until his own group Schacht IV became iconic in Moers in the early 1970s (see video). In 1971 he started to study mining after having completed a 1 ½ years practical underground in Aachen, but when after one semester he learned about the opening of a Jazz seminar in Cologne by Manfred Schoof and Peter Trunk, he decided to focus on music entirely for some time.

He soon moved to Cologne, where he lived just above the Jazz venue “Päff” for about 5 years. His particular talent however lay with classical music, since after being a music student for only about one year, he won the Cologne University award for flute in 1973. In early 1974 he became solo flutist of the Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz and in November 1974 assistant solo flutist of the Symphony Orchestra of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), where he continued to work until his retirement in November 2014.

Hans Martin Mülle 05/2009 @ the Cologne Philharmonic Hall © Hyou Vielz
Hans Martin Mülle 05/2009 @ the Cologne Philharmonic Hall © Hyou Vielz

In 1977 he became a principal teacher for flute at the Kölner Musikhochschule, which lasted until 2002 and established his reputation as one of Germanys most successful flute educators. For 8 years he was solo flutists at the Bayreuth Festival, he played in numerous chamber orchestras as a solo flutist or soloist and was a member of multiple different chamber music constellations such as the Consortium Classicum.

In addition to being a musician himself, he was a member of the managing board of the WDR Symphyony orchestra, a representative of the music professors and a member of the WDR staff council. Consequentially, he always had a political view on music. He intensified this interest by further studies in “culture management”, and in 1996/97 spent a sabbatical in New York City and Paris, with the Loft representing the result.

Hans Martin Müller 1997 im LOFT © Hyou Vielz

His enthusiasm for music in all its facets never left him, so one of the most active persons in Cologne’s free scene is man from the classical orchestra, and even that with full professionalism. He became an honorary member of the Kölner Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (KGNM) in 1998. Since December 2014 he is retired.

“There are some people who make a bigger contribution than an entire company.”
sound of #urbanana

In February 2015, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany honored him with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his honorary work. On the occasion of the 30th birthday of the LOFT in September 2019, he was appointed 1st honorary member of the Cologne Jazz Conference (Kölner Jazzkonferenz).

Urs Benedikt Müller 2018 @ LOFT © Max Daerr
Urs Benedikt Müller 2018 @ LOFT © Max Daerr

Some memories of a time without the LOFT still exist somewhere in his brain, but neither can he remember where he exactly stored them, nor is he sure whether it is worth keeping them: since the first hours in November 1987 does Urs Benedikt Müller – the son of the LOFT-entrepreneur Hans Martin Müller – actively participate in developing the LOFT. Although during the earlier years he was strongly attracted to the table tennis table in the 2nd floor, he soon became involved in the daily routine, i.e. programming and organizing concerts, taking care of the web-page etc.

After his Abitur (the end of highschool) at Gymnasium Kreuzgasse Köln – a school rich in tradition, already Alexander von Schlippenbach had finished highschool here – and the completion of his social service in Cologne, Urs Benedikt started to study Biology (Major: Genetics) at the University of Cologne in 2003. After he had spent some time abroad (University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2007), he received his Diploma in Molecular Genetics (“with honours”) in 2009 in the laboratory of Prof. Jonathan C. Howard, and in the same year started his PhD studies at the Institute for Genetics in Prof. Howards lab at the University of Cologne. During his research, he spent extended periods of time in the field in India, Brazil and Portugal, and upon return finished his PhD in Molecular Parasitology / Immunoparasitology in 2014 “magna cum laude“. In spring 2017, he left the University to dedicate himself completely to the LOFT for some time. Since 2017 he is the responsible for the program and since 2019 head of the artistic operations office at the LOFT. He is constantly working on improving communication and organization, and has become a defining figure both at the LOFT and in the Cologne jazz scene: from September 2016 to June 2018, he was one of three spokespersons for the Kölner Jazzkonferenz (Cologne Jazz Conference), the lobby for Jazz and improvised music in Cologne. From June 2018 to October 2022, he was a member of the board of the Kölner Jazzkonferenz e.V. association. In June 2021, his work was recognized by being awarded the German Jazz Prize as Club of the Year (2021) – voted for by the more than 1,300 members of the German Jazz Union (UDJ. In April 2023, the LOFT and Dr. Müller & his team were voted again Venue Of The Year by the UDJ at the German Jazz Award 2023.

Selected publications UB Müller:

Molecular mechanism for the control of virulent Toxoplasma gondii infections in wild-derived mice. Murillo-León M & Müller UB (shared authorship), Zimmermann I, Singh S, Widdershooven P, Campos C, Alvarez C, Könen-Waisman S, Lukes N, Ruzsics Z, Howard JC, Schwemmle M, Steinfeldt T.
Nature Communications 2019 Mar 15;10(1):1233. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09200-2

The impact of Toxoplasma gondii on the mammalian genome. Müller UB, Howard JC.
Current Opinion in Microbiology 2016 Aug;32:19-25. doi.org/10.1016/j.mib.2016.04.009 Epub 2016 Apr 26. Review.

The Toxoplasma gondii rhoptry protein ROP18 is an Irga6-specific kinase and regulated by the dense granule protein GRA7. Hermanns T, Müller UB, Könen-Waisman S, Howard JC, Steinfeldt T.
Cellular Microbiology 2016 Feb;18(2):244-59. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12499. Epub 2015 Oct 30.

Reciprocal virulence and resistance polymorphism in the relationship between Toxoplasma gondii and the house mouse. Lilue J & Müller UB (shared authorship), Steinfeldt T, Howard JC.
Elife. 2013 Oct 29;2:e01298. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01298.
 ***-rated (exceptional)

last updated: 04/2023