Cardboard boxes, cases, pans, pots and oven sheets are among my first musical instruments I got hands on in my early childhood. I made my first musical steps on these items utilizing them in a kind of experimental, adventurous game, non-systematic yet with a vivid sense for sound, timbre and materials.
From today's point of view I am still amazed by the fact that my immersion with music started primarily with noise and abstract rhythms. However music has always been around in our house and yet non of my closest family members are attached to music in a professional sense, it was always part of our daly life. Singing, playing the piano, flute or guitar was as natural as reading books, cooking meals or playing tennis.
The exact reason for my desire to play percussion as a kid seems to have vanished from my memory but I was told that when asked why I wanted to start playing percussion at my local music school my answer has been something like 'because my stomach is full of sounds and they need to get out!' Until today my belly is luckily quite full of sounds and music of all kinds and in combination with mind and heart some exciting sonic results seem to be possible...
Looking back, I am more than thankful to my mother having insisted on: if percussion than piano as well, please!
At my local music school in Leonberg I was blessed with excellent instructions right from the start on both instruments. Focus and concentration on technical details as well as opening doors to many musical styles and periods and furthermore the acceptance and support for developing my own music, be it written or improvised where tremendously helpful.
Then, later, a very happy time studying in Freiburg. It felt like being connected to the whole world from there as the gigantic musical and philosophical cosmos of our teacher Bernhard Wulff seemed to suck every student into a magical world full of sound, beauty and phantasy.
Among the deepest experiences are the fantastic travels we had the possibility to accompany him on: concerts in the Gobi Dessert, in caves of the vietnamese Ha-Long Bay, in an old disco in Odessa, in Mongolian monasteries...
These meetings of different cultures, personalities, artistic visions or musical expressions we witnessed on these trips made a huge impact on me and is still defining what is essentielll to me in each artistic thought and expression.
In the same time, we experienced our own musical environment differently, looking with maybe more critical eyes from the exotic distance thus developing a perspective that made us look beyond the limitations of our domestic musical garden, in which we tend to rest comfortably.
Especially getting to meet traditional musicians from regions in Central and East Asia was enormously inspiring for me and showed me ho music could still be an existential and dignified experience an not only a product of an economic-oriented enterprise.
Only best memories I can recall from my way to short stay at the University of California San Diego. The creative energy and the unrestrained urge for experimentation that I was confronted with was a mind-blowing push. And so life on planet UCSD felt like living in a biotope for rare and strange plants and flowers, worth to protect and to nourish. The intellectual astuteness combined with adventurous energy and professional concern tha Steven Schick provides his students still resonates until today. His ability to shake your view of the world up once in a while with precise and slightly painful questioning is second to none.
In addition to my teachers, and to musical role models as divers as Glenn Gould, Carlos Kleiber, Tom Waits or John Cage, the two percussionists and nowf riends Fritz Hauser and Matthias Kaul showed me possibilities to pursue my very own and personal way, regardless of mainstream fashions.
Another musical relevations during the last couple of years was the encounter with the world of Harry Partch which I had the lucky chance to get a glimpse of joining the projects of Ensemble musikFabrik.
Music has never been percussion playing only as I was trying to find a balance in activities that nourishes my couriosity for music ( or more universal: sounds) in as many ways as possible. I have always been trying to avoid any form of routine, as I considered it to be the natural enemy of an instinctive and creative process.And thus the switching between giving recitals and concerts, composing, teaching, conducting and building instruments occasionally has always made me to start anew and kept me awake and vital. And since cooking with so many pots may risk to burn something occasionally, this always seemed to be the motor of my motivation.
As percussionist we put our artistry right in the center of the ordinary. We utilize sounds and objects that sourround everybody in their daily lives and put them into a different contextual, artificial reality. It is always surprising for me how much poetry and touching beauty is contained in the most simple everydays things. And despite all the curves, crossings, detours and short cuts my live has been taking so far it almost seems to always come back to cardboard boxes, cases, pans or pots...and though the results might always be uncertain or unsettled I still consider it to be an exciting and meaningful way to dedicate my time to on this planet.