Building bridges

As a musician, one is always a researcher. In so-called classical music or in any other style, the musician cannot escape the "research" aspect.

Over the years I wandered from my original infatuation with pop and rock into the world of Classical music. Moving on from electric guitars and basses to the double bass seemed natural enough, and pretty soon I became a professional bass player in opera, symphony, solo and chamber music. Later on, curiosity led me to the discovery of fascinating gut-string bass instruments such as the different types of baroque Violone and the Viennese Bass, with their tunings in thirds and fourths. Studying Ancient Music was one of the most important decisions in my life as a musician. It fundamentally challenged and changed my way of playing and thinking.

Gradually I developed a different outlook on music and its role in the real world. In the immediate aftermath of the 2011 tsunami disaster in Japan, I started a Duo with the Viennese Violone and the Viola d'Amore, and we discovered the world of benefit concerts, of playing for the sick in hospitals and for children in schools, of touring through the devastated area of Fukushima. Out of the opera's comfort zone, music suddenly became more important, more relevant and alive than I had ever experienced before.

These adventures inspired me to embark on an artistic PhD entitled "Building Bridges", exploring the connections between, say, a historical approach and bringing a moment of beauty and hope to people who never listen to classical music. Between what Quantz and Leopold Mozart wrote and how audiences today perceive music. The audience: the factor that never seems to matter in music education. But without an audience, there is no music.

But there are many more bridges to discover and explore. Between composer and musician, violin maker and player, teacher and student. Between musician and society, live performance and recording, practicing and performing...the list goes on and on.

My PhD focuses on these multifold connections, with the main accent on the interaction between musician and listener (when was the last time your music teacher mentioned the words "listener", "audience", or "public"?) and on the links between historical and present-day ways of playing.

The results of my research will be published in a book entitled "Meta Hodos". Part of this book is a Method for the Viennese Bass. CDs, a DVD, and live performances will complete the final project.