Volker Bertelmann is a classically trained composer/pianist from Germany who currently resides in Düsseldorf. Having studied classical piano for ten years, his work as Hauschka is based upon a playful exploration of the possibilities of the " prepared " piano...
A disruptive intervention into the preconceived idea of the piano as a pure-toned instrument: by clamping wedges of leather , felt or rubber between the strings; preparing the hammers with aluminium paper or rough films; placing crown corks on the strings, weaving guitar strings around the piano’s guts, or pasting them down with gaffa tape...
His resulting tracks are composed both originally and charmingly. The results are vivid, unconventional pieces made in a spirit of playful research-enthusiasm. Rather than striving for any purist academic perfection, Volker’s playing seems as much informed by modern electronica or Indonesian gamelan as it is by any classical cannon. With the aid of his interventions, the piano becomes as much a machine for generating rhythms as it does for melody.
Now and again Hauschka utilises additional, non-piano sounds such as synthesizer, drum machine, electric bass, or other acoustic instruments like vibraphone, strings or brass. His pieces may be seen as small rhythmic sound-vignettes or just quiet ballads which have their roots in east-asian harmonies, the minimalism of Reich, Glass, Nyman, etc., and also in Satie or Ravel.
[ Hilary Hahn ] Lexington, Virginia.
At the age of 31, Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn is one of the most compelling artists on the international concert circuit. She was named “America’s Best” young classical musician by Time Magazine in 2001, and appears regularly with the world’s great orchestras in Europe, Asia, and North America. Highlights of Ms. Hahn’s 2008-2009 season include the recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and some of the Bach arias with singers Matthias Goerne and Christine Schaefer.
Despite being a classical violinist Hilary Hahn is also involved in other music genres. She collaborated with Josh Ritter, a folk-rocker. They made a tour in which she played classical pieces for solo violin, he sang songs from his albums, and they also played together.
Hilary Hahn was born in Lexington, Virginia. From ten to seventeen she studied at Curtis with the legendary Jascha Brodsky - the last surviving student of the great Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaÿe - working closely with him until his death at the age of 89. In May of 1999, at the age of 19, Ms. Hahn graduated from Curtis with a bachelor of music degree.
2012 Collab' With [ Hilary Hahn ]What do you get when you combine a Grammy Award-winning violinist, a world-renowned composer on a hacked piano, and an incredible Brooklyn-based stop-motion animator? Only the awesomest handicraft tide pool on the Internet. Grammy winning American violinist Hilary Hahn and German modernist composer Hauschka recently collaborated to produce Silfra—an album combining the violinist's virtuoso talents and the composer's "prepared piano." That is, a piano that has been modified to strike various implanted objects—bottle caps, bells, and other miscellanea— rather than the intended chords. The track "Bounce Bounce" is what inspired animator Hayley Morris to create this video.
"I really wanted to capture the energetic and spontaneous feeling of the song itself, and honor the collaboration between Hilary Hahn and Hauschka," Morris told IFC Fix. "When Hauschka performs he takes different recognizable objects and places them into his piano to alter the sound. I wanted to take the same approach as the music's creation and have the materials themselves create a narrative and look." Morris employed a variety of found and recycled materials—from doilies to driftwood—to construct the underwater scene, then added the lighting effects by hand.
"For each scene I animated about 10 objects at once frame by frame including the shadows that move across the shot," Morris added. "I like my work to be tactile and textured and for my art work to pick up the light in interesting ways." No computer effects whatsoever were used in the film's production. [IFC via Cartoon Brew]
The Transcendentalism EP – released as a highly limited white-label 12” and as digital download – accompanies the triple-headline Transcendentalists European tour as a showcase and celebration of FatCat’s 'post-classical' imprint 130701 Records. Featuring brand new, exclusive works from all three artists, backed with specially-selected live recordings of special versions and new arrangements of existing pieces, Transcendentalism represents a musical snapshot of Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka and Jóhann Jóhannsson as the tour approaches: Hauschka performs with touring partner Samuli Kosminen (aka múm’s masterful, Finnish-Icelandic percussionist), O’Halloran and Jóhannsson both realign previously-recorded material to string quartet arrangements in keeping with their respective live sets for the tour.
O’Halloran donates us ‘An Ending, A Beginning’ and a stunning new version of his 2006 piece ‘Opus 28’ (originally found on his second Piano Solos LP) featuring New York’s ACME String Quartet. Hauschka’s contributions – a skipping and melodious new composition entitled ‘Spark’ and an improvised live piece taken from 2011’s Brighton Festival 130701 showcase – demonstrate the breadth and colour with which he collaborates with guest percussionists. Jóhann Jóhannsson is represented by a recent re-write of film-score piece ‘Glíma’ (taken from 2007’s Icelandic feature Bræðrabylta) and a jaw-dropping, KCRW-recorded live interpretation of a second soundtrack composition that sees LA’s Formalist String Quartet perform parts originally written for brass, with breathtaking results.
On record, each artist here occupies their own unique outcrop of the broad-reaching 'post-classical' field. Where Dustin O'Halloran's hauntingly evocative string arrangements and solo piano pieces gently, quietly break hearts, Hauschka (aka Dusseldorf-based prepared-piano player Volker Bertelmann) experiments playfully and exploratively with timbre and rhythm, allowing extra-textual clicks and tics into his sonic journeys through organic / electronic modernist piano. Jóhann Jóhannsson, contrastingly, offers a study of stillness and richness of texture - soft electronics and restrained, harmonic use of large-scale ensembles subtly permeate and underpin his own sonic collages.
Formed on July 13th 2001 (hence the superficially cryptic name), FatCat’s 130701 imprint was initially intended as a home for Montreal’s Set Fire To Flames and their non-traditionalist, drone / field recording-laced take on classical instrumentation and ‘post-classical’ compositions. Since those first releases, via critically acclaimed albums from Parisian minimalist composer Sylvain Chauveau and the much-celebrated Max Richter, 130701 has come to represent a fine stable of some of the most recognisable names in the field. The imprint has, more recently, delivered records from the three artists undertaking the Transcendentalists tour: Hauschka’s jaw-dropping classical / techno crossover Salon des Amateurs, a wholly unique and original take on dance music, written for prepared piano, orchestral instruments and drumkit; the elegant and hushed beauty of Dustin O’Halloran’s studio LP for piano, electronics and strings entitled Lumiere, and Vorleben, a follow-up live album for solo piano; and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s The Miners’ Hymns, released in May 2011 - the powerful soundtrack to Bill Morrison’s found-footage documentary on the mining communities of Northeast England and their tragic end, recorded live in the Durham Cathedral (a focal point of the film) by a 16-piece brass ensemble.
Though having debuted the combination of all three artists at a packed, bar-setting performance in Reykjavik’s oldest wooden church Frikirkjan for 2011’s Iceland Airwaves festival, the Transcendentalists tour and EP will mark the first time Dustin O’Halloran, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Hauschka have hit the road and released together. A set of artists connected not only by complementary approaches to composition and performance (or even by sharing a label), but also by the philosophical ideals found in Transcendentalism: a sense of self-reliance in their respective dual roles as composer and performer, and a rejection of the rigidity of convention and institution, leaving purity, individualism, intuition, invention and community.
Ali Murray is an ethereal folk songwriter/musician from the cold isle of Lewis in the north of Scotland. He writes dark atmospheric folk music with lush sweeping dreamy soundscapes and Celtic-twinged instrumentation. His new album LAND OF EVERGONE strikes a balance that is intimate and soaring, peaceful and haunting, sad and quietly joyful, delicately reverberating with Murray's dreamy voice and guitar playing.
Orellana is a neo-classical/post-rock collective hailing from Bristol, UK. Their new album “52”, released in late December, brought in the new year with it’s explosive and intricate sound. The project’s music transcends genre definitions in order to focus on a broad, diverse concept that is more emotional than tangible. This particular release is full of rich and diverse arrangements, but it is also a powerful exercise in minimalism, one that showcases the strength of very few notes placed in the right spots. The simplicity of the arrangement is actually one of the strongest aspects of this entire release: there’s a palpable stillness created by the long, drone notes in the background, which almost makes you feel like the world is happening in slow motion. When the chords and notes change, it feels quite monumental due to the beautiful contrast between the stillness of the background textures and the expressive sound of the guitar-based melodies.