Open_Music e.V., is a public-service non-profit organization for improvisation and artistic education in Stuttgart, founded in 2005, that has been awarded numerous grants and prizes from national, state, local agencies and foundations. Open_Music has carried out more than 100 projects with children, youth and adults from a wide spectrum of social backgrounds. In 2012, Open_Music was named a “Chosen Location” by Germany – Land of Ideas and was granted institutional funding by the City of Stuttgart, an important contribution to the continuity of their work.
Since 2019, Scott Roller is general director of Open_Music and one of his primary goals has been the further development of the Open_Music Ensemble, with regular sessions, concerts and productions of improvised chamber music. This was especially successful during the Corona pandemic, during which time the Ensemble produced two series of albums (LAYERS in 2020 and PROSPECTS in 2021) published on their Bandcamp label, with accompanying videos by Michi Meier, who hosts the Open_Music Studio in the prestigious Wagenhallen Stuttgart arts complex.
To visit the Open_Music Bandcamp label, click on the banner above or go to: open-music.bandcamp.com
The following videos were shot at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart 3/4 December 2021 as the conclusion of the PROSPECTS Project. The musicians are:
Open_Music Quintet: Felix Borel, violin; Felix Behringer, clarinets; Scott Roller, cello & iPadPro; Roderik Vanderstraeten, Moog synthesizers; Michael Kiedaisch, vibraphone & percussion. Special guests: Élise Dabrowski, contrabass & voice; Céline Papion & Delphine Henriet, cello. Audio: Roderik Vanderstraeten; Video: Michi Meier
2021 was the first year in the history of Open_Music that workshops with schools and music schools were practically impossible. But in 2020, Open_Music had already had several sessions with the youth orchestra in the music school in Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart, before the lockdowns began, and between July and September, we had rehearsals and concerts. At the end of the year, O_M managed to reserve two days for a video shoot – one day with the kids, who were very excited about improvisation – and another with the Open_Music Quintet.
When the Corona pandemic started in March 2020, the City of Stuttgart generously agreed that they could use their funding for a remote production project called LAYERS, in which the members of the Open_Music Ensemble could improvise in their home studios and exchange files on a cloud server to build up improvisations in a dynamic way. There were few rules, except to standardize audio quality. The series went on from March through October, and resulted in five digital albums on Bandcamp. Roderik Vanderstraeten was in charge of mixing and mastering the results. As each of the issues of LAYERS was finished, Michi Meier chose a few of the tracks to highlight with visualizations, some of which are quite remarkable…
For many years, one of the highlights of the Open_Music year was a mini-festival called JETZT! (Now!), held shortly before the summer vacation, in which a wide range of diverse groups and art forms were brought together following workshops in the months before, to celebrate their unity in diversity. The last Jetzt! was in 2019 in the Linden-Museum Stuttgart. From 2008-2014, Jetzt! was held in the Theaterhaus Stuttgart, with up to 250 participants per show. The following videos are of Jetzt! 2019 (Michi Meier) and a documentary (Felix Zachmann) about the fat years of Open_Music in the Theaterhaus between 2008 and 2014 – an ambitious achievement in arts education with young people.
The other major event in the Open_Music year has been, since 2009, Spannungsfeld Komposition – Improvisation (Between Composition and Improvisation), held annually around the beginning of Advent in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. One of the salient aspects of the Spannungsfeld concerts are commissions for new works combining composition and improvisation. The Spannungsfeld concerts in 2020 and 2021 were converted into video shootings, but in 2019 Roderik Vanderstraeten was commissioned to write a piece for the Ensemble – in this case, the Open_Music Quartet (Felix Borel, violin; Scott Roller, cello; Roderik Vanderstraeten, composition; Michael Kiedaisch, vibraphone and percussion) with special guest Gareth Lubbe, viola and overtone singing.