09/2023: PLUSHMUSIC X | Song & Wind feat. Frank Gratkowski

For the 10th time, curators Hayden Chisholm and Gareth Lubbe invite you to the PLUSHMUSIC Festival to present three days of composed and improvised music at the LOFT.

This time, the focus will be on Chisholm’s former teacher, Frank Gratkowski, who celebrated his 60th birthday this year. His diverse musical range will be heard together with numerous colleagues of classical as well as improvised music.

PLUSHMUSIC, Gareth Lubbe, Frank Gratkowski, Hayden Chisholm LOFT

Dietmar Wiesner, Christian Hommel and Johannes Schwarz – the three woodwind players of the Ensemble Modern – have invited Frank to improvisation workshops in the past, and they will travel from Frankfurt for a wind quartet with him. Long-time musical companions such as Achim Kaufmann will also be joining him, he knows the singer Jelena Kuljić from his time with the avant-rock band Z-Country Paradise, and we are extremely excited about the premiere of the trio with Andrea Parkins and Elisabeth Coudoux.
Gareth Lubbe will not be able to join the festival this time, but he has put together a young string ensemble that will continue the chamber music tradition of PLUSH in absentia: among other things, they will put compositions by Stravinsky, Lutoslawski, Chisholm and Veress in context with the improvisations of Frank and his fellow musicians.

Three evenings full of exciting music, or Three nights of living music with and around Frank Gratkowski, who since the beginning of the LOFT in 1989 has stood for the program of this place with his unusual musical versatility.

to the concert announcements:

Thursday, 21st of September 2023

Friday, 22nd of September 2023

Saturday, 23rd of September 2023

Admission: 15,-€ / 6,-€ per evening

supported by:

About the artists

Nurit Stark

Nurit Stark © Uwe Neumann

was born in Tel Aviv in 1979. She studied violin with Haim Taub (Israel), Robert Mann (Juilliard School of Music in New York), with the Alban Berg Quartet (Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln) and with Ilan Gronich (Universität der Künste Berlin). Nurit is a laureate of numerous international competitions: George Enescu, Leopold Mozart, Ibolyka Gyarfas and Trio di Trieste. She has been a scholarship recipient of the Ilona Kornhauser Foundation and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.
As a chamber musician, she has performed at numerous festivals (including Schleswig Holstein, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Lockenhaus, Mozart Festival, Rheingau Festival, Davos Festival, Donaueschinger Musik Tage) as well as at Carnegie Hall New York, Philharmonie Berlin, Konzerthaus Vienna, Wigmore Hall London, Tonhalle Zurich and Palais des Beaux Arts Brussels, among others.
She has performed as concertmaster in the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and as soloist with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the Transylvanian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim, the Munich Radio Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta, among others. Her love of contemporary music has led to world premieres and collaborations with composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Viktor Suslin and Georg Nussbaumer. In 2010, Nurit Stark founded the piano trio Trio Stark together with pianist Cédric Pescia and cellist Valentin Erben.
Nurit Stark joined the Stuttgart University of Music and Performing Arts in 2019 as professor of violin. In October 2021, she was artist in residence at Villa I Tatti, an educational institution of the U.S. Harvard University in Florence, Italy.
She plays a violin made by the violin maker Petrus Guarnerius di Mantua in 1710.

Anna-Maria Wünsch

Anna-Maria Wünsch, PLUSHMUSIC , LOFT
Anna-Maria Wünsch © Renske Vrolijk/Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

began making music at an early age. After learning to play the violin from an early age, she discovered her love for the viola at the age of 14. Since then she has been an enthusiastic violist, soloist, chamber and orchestra musician. After studying for a junior year, she studied for a Bachelor’s degree at Folkwang University of the Arts with Prof. Gareth Lubbe, graduating with honors. During her studies she was a scholarship holder of the Werner Richard – Dr. Carl Dörken – Foundation, the Mozart Society Dortmund and a recipient of the Deutschlandstipendium. Since 2019, she has been studying for a master’s degree with Prof. Hartmuth Rohde at the Berlin University of the Arts.
In the season 18/19 she was academist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. During this year, in addition to intensive work with her orchestra colleagues, she was able to play under conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Herbert Blomstedt and Valerie Gergiev.
Anna Maria Wünsch is a regular guest at chamber music festivals, including the Krzyżowa Music Festival and the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival where she performed with musicians such as Schmuel Aschkenasi, Viviane Hagner, Matthias Kirschnereit and Charles Neidich.
From 2021 she is a scholarship holder of the Villa Musica Foundation Rhineland-Palatinate.

Andrea Parkins

Andrea Parkins, PLUSHMUSIC X, LOFT
Andrea Parkins, 2019

is an electroacoustic musician, composer, and sound artist working with interactive electronics as a compositional/performative process. She works with a range of sound materials-electronically processed accordion, custom software, amplified objects, and electronic feedback-and explores connections and discrepancies between body, materiality, sound, place, and space in her performances and installations. Parkins’ projects include multi-channel sound performances and intermedia installations, solo and ensemble electroacoustic compositions, and sound for contemporary dance, experimental film, and intermedia performances. She performs as a solo artist and has collaborated with artists including Ute Wassermann, Magda Mayas, George E. Lewis, Nels Cline, The Necks, choreographer Vera Mantero, and filmmaker Abigail Child. Her performances and installations have been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Café Oto, The Kitchen, Experimental Intermedia (NYC), Kunsthalle Basel, and the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Strasbourg, among others. His festival appearances include NEXT/Bratislava, Cyberfest/St. Petersburg, All Ears/Oslo, Jazz im Augusto/Lisbon, Music Unlimited/Wels and many more.
Parkins’ recent projects include The Stray II, a site-specific 8-channel spatial sound and image installation currently on view at the Nordic Biennale/Galleri F15 in Moss, Norway; her intermedia installation Sonic Spaces for the Stray, presented at ROM for kunst og arkitektur in Oslo in 2021; and her performance/installation Two Rooms, Variation 1, for 40 speakers and solo performer, premiered at the Akousma Festival in Montreal in 2016.
In 2022-2023 she is a fellow of the Berliner Förderprogramm Künstlerische Forschung / Berlin Artistic Research Grant Programme.

Christian Hommel

Christian Hommel, PLUSHMUSIC, LOFT
Christian Hommel © Wonge Bergman

studied oboe with Heinz Holliger and piano with James Avery in Freiburg. He was a prize-winner at the International Music Competitions in Geneva and Trieste and received, among others, the Prize of the German Music Council and the Sponsorship Prize of the Mozart Society Wiesbaden. Numerous concerts as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor have taken Christian Hommel throughout Europe, America and Asia. He works regularly with the Camerata Salzburg, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra. With the latter he produced the first complete recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s oboe concertos, which was highly praised by the international press and reissued for the 3rd time within a very short time. Christian Hommel devotes himself to the music of the 20th century with just as much interest. He was co-founder and conductor of the ‘Ensemble Aventure’ for contemporary music and regularly conducts performances with the ensemble of the Atelier für Neue Musik of the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. He has been a member of the Ensemble Modern since 2008. Christian Hommel, who regularly teaches at international master classes, is a professor at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen. He has recorded numerous CDs, some of which have been awarded the German Record Critics’ Prize.

Johannes Schwarz

Johannes Schwarz, LOFT, PLUSHMUSIC
Johannes Schwarz © Wonge Bergman

has been working as solo bassoonist in the Ensemble Modern with innovative composers and artists since 2003 and can be heard as soloist and chamber musician in more than 25 CD productions, with which he covers an extremely wide artistic spectrum: contemporary solo and ensemble works, classical and baroque music on original instruments, free improvisations and works developed especially for him with the use of live electronics, up to recordings in the heavy metal field. In solo evenings with electronics and solo music theater productions, he likes to bring these areas together again. His music performance UNA SOLO with the dramaturg duo Glogowski/Hoesch was successfully presented several times at festivals in 2018/19 (sponsored by the state of Hesse). He is a sought-after guest in renowned German orchestras (WDR, HR, BR), big bands (WDR, HR, Vienna), chamber music formations and free improvisation ensembles.
Since 2005 he has been a lecturer for new chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt, and since October 2022 at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart. From 2013 to 2018, he was Artistic Director of the Master’s program of the International Ensemble Modern Academy, and also organized the international chamber music course for contemporary chamber music at the Klangspuren Festival from 2009 to 2021.
Since 2018, his digital bassoon sound archive www.soundlibrary.online has been used by many composers* and bassoon players in the field of contemporary music (project funding by the Aventis Foundation experimente#digital). In 2020 his music video do something from the Lockdown period during the Corona pandemic was awarded at the Kulturplattform Reutlingen, and his trio CD soundspaces with new works for bassoon, saxophone and electronics was successfully released by Orlando Records. Two more CD releases are planned for 2022: the solo CD kurzes leben 1.0 and a CD with contemporary works for two bassoons together with bassoonist Malte Refardt.

Dietmar Wiesner

Dietmar Wiesner, PLUSHMUSIC, LOFT
Dietmar Wiesner © Wonge Bergman

lives and works in Frankfurt. As co-founder and flutist of the Ensemble Modern, he has been actively involved in all artistic and organizational processes of the ensemble since the beginning and has worked with the most important composers of his time. He performs regularly in Germany and abroad, also as a soloist with orchestras such as the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg. His CD releases include works such as Solo by Karlheinz Stockhausen (Stockhausen Edition) and Crippled Symmetry by Morton Feldman (with Robyn Schulkowsky and Markus Hinterhäuser). In 2010 his portrait CD Ghibli was released by Ensemble Modern Medien. Regular work as composer for installations and music theater productions such as Les Bacchantes by Euripides at the Comédie Française, Paris, Die Leiden des jungen Werther by J. W. von Goethe at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg and Mythos des Zerfalls, a work installation with plays including Not I by Samuel Beckett at Schauspiel Frankfurt. In 1994, together with Hermann Kretzschmar and Cathy Milliken, he founded the composer formation HCD Productions, which, among other things. the CD Migration with chamber music works by the American writer and composer Paul Bowles, as well as the CD Surface Tension with chamber music by Howard Skempton, and which was awarded the Prix Italia for composition and the prize of the expert jury of the Literaturbüro NRW for best direction for its radio plays Denotation Babel based on a text by Helmut Krausser and Cosmic Memos based on texts by Italo Calvino, produced by the Hessischer Rundfunk. Together with the musician and composer Rainer Römer and the visual artist Ottmar Hörl, he received the Intermedium II Prize of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation for the production Staubmarsch by the Hessischer Rundfunk. In joint collaboration with Cathy Milliken (composition and direction), Dietmar Wiesner produced the radio chamber opera Haus aus Stimmen based on the libretto by Silke Scheuermann for the ARD Radiotage in Karlsruhe in 2007. This work was awarded the German Critics’ Prize in 2009. In 2009 Dietmar Wiesner was soloist in the world premiere Five views of a mouth for flute and orchestra by Mark Anthony Turnage with the Scottish BBC Symphony Orchestra, Glasgow. In 2010 Dietmar Wiesner produced the radio play Die Blüte des nackten Körpers, Liebesgedichte aus dem Alten Ägypten übertragen von Raoul Schrott, which he realized together with Cathy Milliken and Hermann Kretzschmar. Since 2005 he has been a lecturer at the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA). Since 2007 he has been a regular lecturer and project leader of the education projects lautstark of the music festival Klangspuren, Schwaz and Zukunft@Bphil of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Elisabeth Coudoux

Elisabeth Coudoux, PLUSHMUSIC, LOFT
Elisabeth Coudoux © Cristina Marx

The search for new sounds and playing techniques led cellist Elisabeth Coudoux, born in 1985, from classical instrumental studies to jazz to new music and free improvisation. For her, exploring the spectrum of sounds on the instrument is an ever-expanding search for her own voice. From the analysis of intuitive movement patterns, poetic miniatures emerge, noisy stories are told and unknown soundscapes are explored. As a soloist she loves the challenge of spontaneous encounters. She has performed with Michael Zerang, Mark Dresser, Biliana Voutchkova, Mick Beck, Sandra Weiss, Xavier Charles, Marcus Schmickler, etc..
In her ensemble Emißatett, founded in 2013, the cello resonates as an orchestral sound body in equal parts with the other players, with the weights always shifting between individual expression and free collective energy. What has to be negotiated is a balance between improvisational stubbornness and the common musical form. Coudoux plays worldwide at festivals and concert series such as: All Ears Festival, In a Landscape, Moers Festival, Roskilde Festival, Krakow Jazz Autumn, Three Days Time, Météo – Festival and many more. She is a member of several ensembles and projects such as Zeitkratzer, Fear O’ She (Gropper, Kaufmann, Kummer, Coudoux) as well as a NICA -scholarship holder and initiator and longtime board member of IMPAKT e.V.


Susanne Szambelan – Cello

Susanne Szambelan, PLUSHMUSIC, LOFT
© Maciej Gas

Susanne Szambelan made her debut at the age of 15 with the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra, followed by numerous solo performances throughout Europe. In 2014 she moved to Berlin, where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s studies at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music with Prof. Stephan Forck and Prof. Claudio Bohorquez with highest honors. Her great passion for chamber music led to collaborations with artistic personalities such as Daniel Hope and Noah Bendix-Balgley, and frequent performances with the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic. Susanne has performed at festivals such as the Krzyżowa Music Festival, the Zermatt Festival, and the Santander Festival. She is currently a scholarship recipient of the Villa Musica Rheinland-Pfalz. Her solo and chamber music performances have been broadcast on ARTE Concert and Deutschlandfunk Kultur, among others.


Jelena Kuljić

Jelena Kuljić © Josef Beyer Weniger

was born in 1976 in Zrenjanin in today’s Serbia. She began performing as a solo artist and as a singer in various bands as early as 1995, and finally moved to Berlin in 2003 to study Jazz Gesant at the Jazz Institut Berlin.
From 2005 on she performed in numerous musical theater productions directed by David Marton, e.g. at the Sophiensaele Fairy Queen oder hätte ich Glenn Gould nicht kennen gelernt after Henry Purcell (2005), at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Wozzeck after Georg Büchner/Alban Berg (2007), at the Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen Insomnia (2009), at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg Die Krönung der Poppea after Claudio Monteverdi (2009) and at the Schauspiel Hannover Lulu after Frank Wedekind/Alban Berg (2010).
Further works at the Burgtheater in Vienna, the Staatsschauspiel Dresden and the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin. In Berlin she already released the CD’s Y Move (Minor Music, 2006), Fasil (ECM Records, 2009) and Yelena K & The Love Trio (Double Moon Records, 2010).
Since the 2015/2016 season, she has been a permanent ensemble member of the Münchner Kammerspiele under the artistic direction of Matthias Lilienthal.

Max Baillie

Max Baillie, PLUSHMUSIC, LOFTThe German-British violinist and violist is a graduate of the Yehudi Menuhin School, the University of Cambridge and the University of the Arts Berlin, and is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestra leader in Germany and abroad. His teachers include Natasha Boyarsky, Itzhak Rashkovsky and Ivry Gitlis. He has collaborated with artists such as Steve Reich, Björk, John Williams, Bobby McFerrin and many others. As a regular guest conductor of the Swiss chamber orchestra CHAARTS, he has toured Switzerland, Germany and China with artists such as Mischa Maisky and Fazil Say and has made recordings for SONY and Berlin Classics, in addition to regularly participating in chamber music festivals around the world (SoNoRo, Purbeck International Chamber Music Festival, West Wycombe Chamber Music Festival, etc.).


Achim Kaufmann

Achim Kaufmann, PLUSHMUSIC, LOFT
Achim Kaufmann © Peter Gannushkin

has been active as a pianist and composer since the late 1980s.
His longest-lived projects include the improvising trio Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode, a duo with Amsterdam-based clarinetist and saxophonist Michael Moore, and the piano trio grünen with Christian Lillinger and Robert Landfermann.
His collaborations with his wife Gabriele Guenther include the multidisciplinary Trokaan Project, which brings together aspects of improvised chamber music, poetry texts and fragments, and electro-acoustic textures.
Achim can also be heard in duos with Ignaz Schick, Yorgos Dimitriadis, and Kalle Kalima, as well as in a trio with Liz Kosack and Christian Marien.
Other collaborations have been with Han Bennink, George Lewis, Jim Black, Paul Lovens, Mark Dresser, Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey, Shelley Hirsch, Okkyung Lee, Axel Dörner, Steve Swallow, Al Foster and many others.
In 2001 he was awarded the SWR Jazz Prize and in 2015 the Albert Mangelsdorff Prize.


Frank Gratkowski

Frank Gratkowski, PLUSHMUSIC, LOFT
Frank Gratkowski © Peter Tümmers

began playing the saxophone at the age of 16 and received his first lessons at the Hamburg Musikhochschule. In 1985 he began his saxophone studies at the Musikhochschule Köln with Heiner Wiberny, which he completed in 1990 with the concert exam. Further studies with Charlie Mariano, Sal Nistico and Steve Lacy followed.
Early collaborations with Klaus König and the Grubenklangorchester, later Gratkowski played with the WDR Big Band, among others. From 1990 he performed his first solo programs (1991 on the CD Artikulationen). Since 1992 he has played in a duo with pianist Georg Gräwe, and since 1999 also as a trio with drummer Paul Lovens. He also has a permanent collaboration with the pianist Achim Kaufmann. In addition, Gratkowski plays in various trio and quartet formations, including with Sebastian Gramss, Philip Zoubek, Gerry Hemingway (Double Blues Crossing), Dieter Manderscheid, Wilbert de Joode and Paul Lovens. He also belongs to the ensemble Zeitkratzer. With Baby Sommer’s large-scale Brotherhood & Sisterhood, he made a guest appearance at JazzBaltica in 2023.
Gratkowski is considered a talented sound researcher to whom the expansion of the sound arsenal of his clarinets and saxophones, the exploration of sound possibilities beyond classical tone production, is very important. He also performs his partly microtonally oriented compositions with the Multiple Joy[ce] Orchestra.
He taught at the music academies in Cologne, Hanover and Berlin.


The Resonators

Frank Gratkowkski, Reza Askari, Sebastian Müller, Thomas Sauerborn, Jelena Kuljićm Achim Kaufmann, Resonators, LOFT, PLUSHMUSIC
The Resonators © Frank Schemmann

Originally created as an experiment by bassist Reza Askari, The Resonators have developed a new sound of their own, whose amalgamation of free jazz and rock elements quickly became the band’s trademark and has already thrilled audiences at festivals such as the Moers Festival 2021, the Hessian Jazz Prize 2021 and the Winter Jazz Festival (Stadtgarten, Cologne) 2022. Especially the influences of psychedelic rock of the late 60s and early 70s are a unique selling point of the band, whose free group improvisations are on the highest level. In 2021 the first album Headlong was released.
“A breathtaking flight from Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time to Jimi Hendrix”.
Ron Coulter, freejazzblog.org, 2/5/22
During PLUSHMUSIC X, the Resonators will meet Jelena Kuljić and Achim Kaufmann – not to be missed!



The curators:

Gareth Lubbe

Gareth Lubbe, Palma Fiacco, LOFT, PLUSHMUSIC
Gareht Lubbe © Palma Fiacco

South African born violist and overtone singer Gareth Lubbe presents himself as soloist as well as chamber musician on stages of international festivals and as lecturer on master classes in Europe, Africa, America as well as Asia. Formerly principal violist of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Gareth currently leads an international class at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen as professor of viola.
As an overtone singer, he performs and gives workshops around the world. Numerous works have been written for Lubbe’s overtone singing. His voice can be heard in film, television, radio and even computer games. In 1994, he had the honor of performing at the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela.
He is a board member of Community H.E.A.R.T (Health, Education and Reconstruction Training), an initiative of South African freedom fighter Denis Goldberg. In 2019, Gareth Lubbe was appointed international ambassador of his social project “Denis Goldberg House of Hope” in Cape Town.

Hayden Chisholm

Hayden Chisholm, Palma Fiacco, LOFT, PLUSHMUSIC
Hayden Chisholm © Palma Fiacco

When you run a place like the LOFT it is a wonderful experience to be able to follow and witness the career of musicians* over a long period of time. And so Hayden Chisholm has been seen and appreciated at LOFT since his first days in Cologne in 1995, because his teacher Frank Gratkowski immediately brought him to our attention. Since then he has played and organized countless concerts at LOFT (he always had a wild card here), besides his international career he always found time and had the desire to realize projects at LOFT – unforgettable e.g. his concerts Egyptian Book of the Dead or 100 years Bloomsday,where he proved both his talent as an excellent reciter but also as a bagpipe player. What Hayden takes in hand becomes music – whether with theAfro Lounge Brothers, with the unforgotten John Taylor or at his concert exam in the auditorium of the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (which was like: John Cage meets Paul Desmond): always an aura surrounds him that is “out of the ordinary”. Again and again he introduced the audience to fantastic musicians*, and so he was and still is invaluable for the artistic development of the program at LOFT.