Scott Roller

Musician, Educator, Writer & Other


Born in 1959 in Amarillo, Texas (USA). University music studies 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 over 35 years.

German resident since 1983 in Stuttgart and Essen. Further composition studies, 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 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 and 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 (“Tattoo”) and TART Produktionen (“Napoleon Raskolnikow im Schnee”), both in Stuttgart. In 2011 he began a collaboration with the spoken-word poet Timo Brunke leading to “Der Übergang des Abendlandes” 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) with a CD by Intuition. 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) and GPE records/Timezone. 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 100 projects in the past twelve years with children, youth and young adults from a wide spectrum of social backgrounds, was part of the so-called 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 has continued to collaborate on Open_Music projects in various functions.

Since 2012 he has taught cello regularly on the campus of the Waldorfschule Uhlandshöhe, Stuttgart. From Jan 2016 until July 2017 he was also active as a general music teacher for upper division students at the school, worked with upper-division orchestra/choir and offered workshops in Open_Music style. Since August 2017, Scott has spent more time composing, writing and translating than he has been able to pursue for many years. He will continue offering improvisation workshops both on his own and with Open_Music, teaching cello, intensifying his solo work and collaborations with Harmonie59, as well as further developing his skills in electronic music and sound design.