This selected media archive is roughly in chronological order according to the content presented.
The BL Lacerta improvisation quartet in the formation active between 1980 and 1983 in Denton and Dallas, Texas. Personnel: Robert Price, clarinet & other; Leslie Gay, tuba & other; Scott Roller, cello & other; David Anderson, percussion, analog electronics & other.
These modest recordings (from unedited cassette masters) are taken from a concert in the Greenville Avenue Theater in Dallas Texas in November 1981 at the beginning of a two-year residency with support from the Texas Commission on the Arts, Chamber Music America, the Atlantic-Richfield Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, which for Roller was effectively his “Masters in Improvisation” and the beginning of his life as a professional musician. He is forever grateful to have been part of this remarkable ensemble, which was monumentally important in his development.
Texas Monthly magazine featured BL Lacerta in an (unprecedented) 7-page article in November 1981 entitled “The Atttack of the Electronic Beast and Other Pleasures.” You can view or download that if you would like!
This album is to some extent a document of Scott Roller’s beginnings as a writing composer. Mutamusic for cello solo (1983) spans the transition between his time in Texas and his immigration to Germany. It was premiered on one of his last concerts with BL Lacerta, but the live recording of it on this album is from 1985 in Kassel – recorded by German Hessian Radio. In general, the sound quality of these recordings is very inconsistent, but an interested listener can hear some examples of what he was writing in the 80s and early 90s. None of these pieces include improvisation and are conventionally notated chamber music.
Kaija Saariaho: Spins and Spells (1996) for Cello solo
This is apparently a properly licensed version of Roller’s recording of Kaija Saariaho’s “Spins and Spells” (1996) for solo cello, which he recorded on an album of her chamber music with the Wolpe Trio in 2001. There are many much better versions of this piece out there now, but Adam Schreiber’s presentation with the score makes it interesting.
Kaija Saariaho: Cendres (1998) for alto flute, cello and piano
Cendres is a trio for alto flute, cello and piano that Kaija Saariaho wrote for the Wolpe Trio in 1998 as a commission from the City of Essen. It reworks some musical ideas from … à la Fumée (1990), a double concerto for alto flute, cello and orchestra. Cendres was recorded in 2001 for Deutschlandfunk in Cologne and was released in 2004 on the Kairos label.
Wolpe Trio (Essen, Germany): Lesley Olson, alto flute; Scott Roller, cello; Susanne Achilles, piano.
Scott Roller composed FOR RICHARD SERRA (for Violin, Cello, Piano and Percussion) in 1999 as a commission from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart on the occasion of their exhibit of print graphic works by the American sculptor Richard Serra. This performance was the return of the piece to its birthplace in the annual Open_Music Spannungsfeld concert series on the 23rd of November 2017. Three of the four musicians played in the original performance 18 years earlier.
Open_Music Quartet: Felix Borel, violin; Scott Roller, cello; Jürgen Kruse, piano; Michael Kiedaisch, vibraphone and percussion. Video: Thomas Bitzer-Prill
Video: Fried Dähn | Music: HELIOS String Quartet
(Ulrike Stortz and Felix Borel, violins; Gareth Lubbe, viola and overtone singing; Scott Roller, cello).
The 50-minute film STUTTGART NACHTS (Stuttgart by night), a very minimal film made by the cellist, sound-designer and multi-media artist Fried Dähn in which, after a very snowy day in Stuttgart, he drove slowly around the city at 3 a.m., filming out the window with a high-contrast black and white camera. The Helios String Quartet improvised freely to the video in the Stuttgart Wagenhallen in November 2006 – the individual pieces are structured by stops of the car at lights.
Between 2006 and 2013, Roller had the pleasure of collaborating on several extensive performance projects with the dancer Christine Brunel. “Abdruck (Footprints)” is a sequence based on a compositional structure by Christine, dedicated to her friend Ute Eskildsen, which they first began exploring together in Nizhny Novgorod Russia in 2006 for an exhibition by the artist Dagmar Schenk-Güllich. This video is of a performance in which the sequence served as the first act of their production SPEED from 2007 in the Machinenhaus, Zeche Karl in Essen.
All the music on this album was made at the request of Christine Brunel and all recordings are live, in which the listener will, at times, hear Christine moving, taking steps – just as it was intended. They collaborated on several extended projects between 2006 and 2013, when Christine requested music for a new choreography to be called NELUÄS (Columns) These three movements were the result.
On 25/26 October 2013, Scott made recordings of his contributions to the dance events with Christine and two members of her company. The microphone set-up in these live recordings was such, that the cello was directly miked and a stereo mix of the ambiance in the Machinenhaus, Zeche Carl (in Essen, Germany) was also recorded. The three FOOTPRINTS tracks result from the superimposition of the two performances of the same improvisation structure with little post-production intervention.
“Christine Brunel passed away 27 April 2017 and this album is dedicated to her memory with gratitude and fondness for all the beauty we shared.” -SR
The world-premier performance of Scott Roller’s FOUR AXES string trio on 24 November 2011 in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart as part of their annual collaboration called Spannungsfeld Komposition-Improvisation (Between Composition and Improvisation). The comprovisation (combining composition and improvisation) is a fantasy on the Bao Guo, the eight primary elements in the Chinese Book of Changes (Yi Jing). The piece was commissioned by Open_Music with support from the City of Stuttgart. More information on Vimeo.
Open_Music String Trio:
Ulrike Stortz, violin; Katherina Friederichs, viola; Scott Roller, cello and composition.
In 2011, Scott produced an extensive show with the Spoken Word poet Timo Brunke entitled “Der Übergang des Abendlands,” (The Transition of the Western World) as a commission from Theaterhaus Stuttgart. Thematically, the production addressed migration and cultural transformation, which lead Scott to this interpretation of a traditional American folk song that has its origins in early 19th-century Germany.
Alice in Iconland was a media-rich dance-theater production for children of all ages by the choreographer/director Nina Kurzeja with visuals by Uwe Kassai and a very diverse and gifted company of dancers. The piece was premiered in the Theaterhaus Stuttgart in 2013. The music was written and performed live by Scott Roller and Roderik Vanderstraeten in their very first collaboration. They continued working together through 2018 in Roderik’s Harmonie59 project, both as a duo and in collaboration with some very diverse musicians. They produced audio albums as well as music for theater, video and film.
CIRCULUS VITIOSUS was the first Harmonie59 project produced by Roderik Vanderstraeten (Gabolofon, Guitar, Bass, Percussion, Piano, Effects and Electronics) in collaboration with Scott Roller (Cello and Electronics) and Ole Schmidt (Clarinet and Bass Clarinet). Recorded at the TONETEMPLE STUDIOS near Stuttgart in May 2013 with engineer Stefan Hees. In 2015 the musical material was arranged, remixed and remastered by Roderik Vanderstraeten.
Release date: 29 April 2015 on harmonie59.bandcamp.com (Vanderstraeten’s personal label). This Soundcloud playlist is a selection by Scott Roller.
In 2019 Roderik joined Open_Music and has contributed significantly to their work ever since, both as a multi-instrumentalist and audio engineer.