Scott Roller

Musician & Educator


Born in 1959 in Amarillo, Texas (USA). University music studies in cello and composition – 1976-1981 in Texas (Univ. of Texas/Austin, 76-79, North Texas State/Denton, 80-81) and in Paris, France 79-80). 1980-83 active with the free improvisation quartet BL Lacerta as Artist-in-Residence in Dallas with support from the Texas Commission on the Arts, Chamber Music America, the Atlantic-Richfield Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (his “Masters in Improvisation”). The collaboration with artists of widely divergent media forms has ever since been a significant aspect of his activities as a cellist, teacher, improviser and composer for almost 40 years.

German resident since 1983 in Stuttgart and Essen. Further composition studies with Berthold Hummel and Nicolaus A. Huber, cello teacher in a “youth music school” in Gladbeck 1985-1988. 1987-89 full-time cellist in the Dortmund Philharmonic, on a project basis until 1998. In the 1990s, active with the Wolpe Trio (Essen), Musikfabrik NRW (Düsseldorf), ensemble avance (Stuttgart),  the trombonist/ composer Mike Svoboda, the organist/ composer Gary Verkade (and their improvisation ensemble Synthese), extensive private cello teaching and the beginning of school projects in contemporary music and group improvisation (especially in the “Response” program in the Frankfurt area until 2004 and thereafter in Essen). Worked with composers James Tenney, Helmut Lachenmann, Nicolaus A. Huber, Kaija Saariaho and many others. Collaborations with dancers Dyane Neiman and Robert Solomon.

From about 2000, active in Ensemble >gelberklang< and Helios String Quartet (both in Stuttgart), in the ensembles of Mike Svoboda and the American composer/guitarist Scott Fields (Cologne), concerts / film music with Michael Riessler, several collaborations with the French dancer-choreographer Christine Brunel in Essen and the Polish painter Agata Schubert. Guest with Ensemble Modern Orchestra (Frankfurt), ensemble recherche (Freiburg) and willing collaborator in many improvisation- and composition-based projects of all kinds.

Starting in 2010 with his move back to Stuttgart, increased emphasis on composition & solo work with cello/electronics, collaborations as musician/actor with the choreographer Nina Kurzeja and TART Produktions, both in Stuttgart. In 2011 he began a collaboration with the spoken-word poet Timo Brunke leading to “Der Übergang des Abendlandes (The Transition of the Western World” at the Theaterhaus Stuttgart. In 2012 he played in a trio project with the South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and Cleave Guyton (woodwinds, NY) for a CD on the Intuition label. Released CD of Blind Date Quartet with A. Sheridan (flutes), U. Stortz (violin), SR (cello) and J. Hollenbeck (drums/percussion). Since working successfully with Ron Vanderstraeten on the music for Nina Kurzeja’s “Alice in Iconland” dance fantasy in 2012, they have continued their work together under the name HARMONIE59. At present, Harmonie 59 has produced several digital albums and expanded into an active collective.

Represented as a cellist, improviser, and composer on labels such as Wergo (Frankfurt), cybele (Dusseldorf), Kairos (Vienna), free elephant records (Wuppertal), New World Records (New York), clean feed (Lisbon), GPE records/Timezone, Ayler (Paris) and Dreyer Gaido. Many of these recordings are available online – see discography.

In 2005, he co-founded Open_Music e.V. (Stuttgart), a non-profit organization for improvisation and artistic education which has been awarded numerous grants and prizes from national, state and local agencies and foundations. Open_Music, which has carried out more than 120 projects in the past fourteen years with children, youth and young adults from a wide spectrum of social backgrounds, was part of the Southern Network, an initiative of the National Cultural Foundation for innovative performance and education projects in the Stuttgart region from 2008-2011. As of 2012, Open_Music has been granted institutional funding by the City of Stuttgart in addition to significant funding from state resources and private foundations. At the end of 2015 Scott gave up all leadership roles with Open_Music e.V., though he continued to collaborate on projects in various functions. In 2019 he reassumed a leadership role at Open_Music.

Since 2012 he has worked regularly with youth and senior residents at the Anna Haag Haus multi-generational facility and taught cello privately on the campus of the Waldorfschule Uhlandshöhe, Stuttgart. From Jan 2016 until July 2017 he was also active as a general music teacher and worked with orchestra/choir for upper division students at the school.

Since then, Scott has been continuing to offer improvisation workshops, teaching cello, intensifying his solo multi-instrumental electroacoustic work by further developing his skills in electronic music/sound design, composing, and developing new ideas for Open_Music.