About Gero Koenig

Statement

The vision to create extended listening experiences led Gero Koenig to sound modulations that go beyond the boundaries of static tonal systems. Through his sound research the artist invents new instruments, expanding the sound spectra of previously existing string instruments, and implements new performance formats. Koenig interweaves string instruments from his Chordeograph series with graphic interfaces, developing his compositions as spaces of interaction between composer, performer and audience.

CV

Classical music studies

Gero Koenig studied classical piano at the Rheinische Musikschule Cologne from 1986 to 1995 and composition beginning in1989. He continued higher studies in both subjects at the Robert - Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf from 1995 to 1999. 

During his studies in New Musik Koenig wrote for various chamber music ensembles, as well as composing postmodern piano pieces such as AufLicht (1991). In 1996, he received a commission from the Arts Council, North Rhine-Westphalia, resulting in the project "Music for Ludwig family".

Koenig studied the analytical - structural thinking of Nikolaus A. Huber in his seminars at the Folkwang Hochschule from 1996 to 1997. For his diploma exam as a pianist in 1999, he played Huber´s composition "Beds and Brackets". The performance was awarded with merit.

Reflections and critique

Koenig´s concert experience led him to reflect on the interaction between composer, performer and audience. The piano tonal system is so deeply entrenched in our culture that it has excessively conditioned our listening ability. Listening passively, following static norms of performance, has limited the audience´s active participation in the performance. 

Study trips to India between 1994 and 1997, offered Koenig a chance to look more deeply at the boundaries of his european cultural imprint. The experience of listening to his teacher Uttam Dasji Maharaj playing santoor, tabla and sitar opened up new possibilities of the here and now. Koenig could experience a more immediate and unifying resonance between the player, the audience, and the environment.

The basics of algorithmic composition, learned with Clarence Barlow in his seminar "musiquantics" in 2000, gave Koenig a framework to embrace different cultural experiences.

In his project "Music - Games", 1998 - 1999, Koenig explored concepts of participatory music based on the works of Cornelius Cardew and Vinko Globokar, among others, at different venues in Cologne.

Dekonstruction of the piano

Between 2001 and 2003 Koenig developed a sound experience concept and procedures for sound generation as the basis for the "Chordeograph" stringed instrument series. With precise graphic notations and concepts for an interactive visualization of the score, he strives for an expansion of traditional performance formats. 

The instrument "Chordeograph 1" was created in 2004 and 2005 from the deconstruction of a piano. Through Koenig´s modifications the piano and its static tonal system were overcome. Sound studies based on this deconstruction process were presented as a concert performance at the Rachel Haferkamp Gallery in 2005. Four additional performances of the concert installation Klangraum/passage took place at the Basilica St. Gereon, Cologne.

Further sound studies and staged concert performances with site-specific visual dramaturgy and spatial design followed: among others in Klangraum Zollverein, Essen; SAFE AND SOUND Festival, Belgrade; Piano+ 09 Festival, ZKM Karlsruhe; Unerhörte Musik concert series, Berlin; Audio Art Festival, Krakow; Avantgarde Festival Schiphorst and stART Festival, Salzburg.

Chordeograph 2, a completely new instrument, was built from 2008 to 2013. The development and design of this insturment was carried out in close collaboration with the piano builder Bernd Alexander Bittmann and the designer Bernd Wendt as well as other technicians. Through 5 years of detailed work, the goal to achieve a continuous modulation from single tone to orchestral noise was fulfilled.

The soundart label NURNICHTNUR published sound studies for Chordeograph 1 and 2 in a CD released in 2015.

Expanded concert format

The artist has been developing interactive real-time software for chordeograph since 2010. 

Modules for real-time analysis of resonance relationships were developed 2014 - 2016, based on the harmony theories of Clarence Barlow. Koenig continues to program augmented reality apps, in order to visualize the score as a user interface. 

Performances took place as part of the S.T.R.E.A.M. Festival at the Sound and Music Computing conference in Hamburg in 2016. An interactive video installation took place as part of the series "Klangraum Klavier erweitert", matjö Cologne, in the same year.

In 2017, he began developing his interactive installation Chordeograph Augmented Reality using "Chordeograph 2". A polyphonic navigation enables amateur performers to play the instrument interactively in order to open up the resonance body of the instrument. The graphic score, which is projected directly onto the strings, offers resonance options to the performers. The artist invented a transducer system that allows for a touchless playing of the instrument.

A demo version of this work was supported and presented by the Hertz Lab at ZKM Karlsruhe in 2018. After the successful presentation of the work, ZKM director Peter Weibel integrated it into the exhibition "Open Codes", from November 2018 to June 2019.

"Chordeograph 3", funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, enables a multi-faceted web-based concert format. This work in progress extends upon Chordeograph 2 having a larger resonance body with additional strings.

Performance/Exhibition

2021

Klangaktion Chordeograph presented as part of Funkt sound art radio (funkt#3)

To the website

2020

Workshop and film documentation Chordeograph AR as part of the production "New Dimension of Listening"  by Julia Hitz, Planetarium Bochum

To the project website

2019

Presentation of the adapted version of Chordeograph AR at the DIVE - Festival for immersive arts, Planetarium Bochum

Presentation and publication of the conception of Chordeograph AR at ELECTRONIC MEDIA & VISUAL ARTS (EVA) Berlin

Interactive exhibition Chordeograph Augmented Reality at the exhibition Open Codes, ZKM | Karlsruhe (January - June)

To the ZKM project page

2018

Chordeograph Augmented Reality, Open Codes exhibition, ZKM | Karlsruhe

To the ZKM project page

Presentation of "Chordeograph Augmented Reality", Kubus, ZKM | Karlsruhe with kind support of Artoxin Munich 

To the ZKM project website

Workshop series "Strings - Body - Augmented Reality", ZKM | Karlsruhe 

To the ZKM project website

Concert performance at kunstort eleven artspace, Börstingen

2017

Chordeograph Workshops at the international artists' house Villa Waldberta, Feldafing

Presentation at the Villa Waldberta exhibition hall, Feldafing

Concert Chordeograph with Masako Ohta and Dine Doneff at the Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Musik, Unikate series curated by Horst Konietzny, SIGNALRAUM in cooperation with the international artist house Villa Waldberta and ARTOXIN Munich 

Exhibition Chordeograph - Instrument and graphic scores as interactive video installation, Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Musik as part of the Unikate series curated by Horst Konietzny, SIGNALRAUM in cooperation with the international artist house Villa Waldberta and ARTOXIN, Munich

2016

"Chordeograph C2aa", interactive exhibition, Raumklänge - Klavier erweitert series, Matjoe Cologne.

"CHORDEOGRAPH.resonanceGrid I and II", S.T.R.E.A.M. Festival, Hamburg

"Klangaktion Chordeograph", stArt Festival, Salzburg

Chordeograph concert performance with Gunter Pretzl (viola), Artoxin, Munich

2015

"Chord relief" for glissando flutes and chordeograph, SKOP Frankfurt a. M.

"Cantus Mobile", concert performance with Karen Schlimp (concert grand piano), Musik im Raum, Linz

Concert performance, Kulturtage Oberscheid

One-string performance, Ebertplatz Cologne

Concert performance and chamber music for the Rü2Band and Chordeograph, Filmstudio Glückauf, Essen

Concert performance SKOP Frankfurt a.M.

Concert performance at the Interpenetration Festival, Graz

Concert performance at Vekks, Vienna

2014

Combinations, Sound Study, SKOP Frankfurt a.M.

Concert performance with Peter Wiessenthaner at phonophon, Institute for New Media, Frankfurt a.M.

Concert performance with Peter Wießenthaner at the Avantgarde Festival Schiphorst

To the festival page

Concert performance, composer duo Koenig Wießenthaner at the Echtzeithalle Munich 

To the project page

Concert performance, composers Duo Koenig Wießenthaner in the series Signalraum, Einstein Kultur, Munich

Sound Visuals Tresorraum - a staged concert performance, composers Duo Koenig Wießenthaner, Tresorraum Tübingen

To the project page

Sound studies Atelierhaus Aachen

Sound studies for flutes, chordeograph and live electronics, composers Duo Koenig Wießenthaner Studio Gero Koenig

Chordeograph and visualizations, Studio Peter Wiessenthaner, Frankurt a.M.

2013

Concert performance of composer Duo Koenig Wießenthaner at the Audio Arts Festival, Krakow

Concert performance for the 20th anniversary of the SKOP Festival, Frankfurt a.M.

Panta Rhei with Antez, Anna Homler, Bernd Wendt at the Loft Studio, Cologne 

2011

Concert performance, SKOP, Frankfurt a.M.

OneString Performance with one-string instrument and live elektronics, Musikmarathon with Roland Graeter, Peter Wiessenthaner, Yulia Zvedonkina, SKOP, Frankfurt a.M.

2010

KlangRaumLicht, staged concert performance, Christuskirche Cologne, Germany

"Heimat", Rhizom Performance Alte Kapelle, Friedrichshain, Berlin

Concert performance with OneString Instrument and live electronics, SKOP, Frankfurt a.M.

Concert performance, SKOP, Frankfurt a.M.

2009

Concert performance for the 25th anniversary of the ZKM | Karlsruhe

Concert performance Piano+ 09, ZKM | Karlsruhe

Concert performance, Unerhörte Musik, Berlin

Staged concert performance, Cologne Music Night 09, St. Ursula Cologne

Concert performance, Improvisations XXL

Presentation and concert performance with Chordeograph 1 and 2, KGNM workshop no. 116, Praxis Projektatelier Staab, Cologne

Performance "Schichtungen", Exploratorium, Berlin

2008

Concert performance for the 15th anniversary of SKOP, Frankfurt a. M.

Staged concert performance with simultaneous light scenes by Nikola Dicke, City Hall of Limburg a.d. Lahn

To the project ducumentation

2007

Staged concert performance at the Stadthalle Chemnitz, Metallisches Fest 07 as part of the festival "begegnungen"

Staged concert performance, Neues Kunstforum Cologne

2006

Performance at the opening of the exhibition "I shall illuminate the dark side of the moon" on the 150th anniversary of Nikola tesla's birth, Public Bath, Belgrade

Concert performance, Festival SAFE AND SOUND, Nolit Warehouse, Belgrade

Concert performance, Cologne Music Night, Cologne

Concert performance and organization of gruenefluchten, Cologne

Klangraum Kokerei Zollverein, opening performance and exhibition, Kunstquadrate forum, Kokerei Zollverein, Essen

Performance with simultaneous visualizations by Bernd Wendt, Kunstquadrate forum, Kokerei Zollverein, Essen

2005

Concert performance and exhibition of graphic scores, corona//experimental intermedia, freies rheinland ev c/o Georg Dietzler, gallery rachel haferkamp

To the project website

Klangraum/passage - St. Gereon, a concert sound and light installation, Basilica St. Gereon, Cologne

To the project website

Portrait Concert, EarPort, Duisburg

2004

Performance, Citybeats 7, Basilica St. Gereon Cologne

Offene Ateliers 04, 4 performances and exhibition of graphic scores, Cologne

Performance, Room Service, GEW Umspannwerk, Cologne

Concert performance with Joachim Zoepf, Mark Charig as part of the series DiPassagio, Werft, Cologne