The live-video in transit is based on a video-feedback system that allows the performers to interact in different time-layers. This composition is inspired by Baudrillard’s idea of hyper-realism. Virtual voices, designed for virtual performances, bounce back into reality and the virtualization of voices as a process of mapping is imitated by the singers once again live on stage.
for 4 musicians without instruments with live-video and Tape
premiere March 2017 in Zürich by Ensemble of Nomads duration 15 minutes score&patch
caravan shows the production of a visualization live on stage. Thereby each detail is implemented by the performers themselves. And the resulting music-clip is projected already during the performance. Furthermore the performance without instruments and without click allows the musicians to act with a maximum of freedom whereas the large number of unusual tasks represents a big challenge at the same time.
Stefan Pieper über caravan anlässlich des Konzerts bei der Ruhrtriennale mit dem Ensemble Garage:
Was ist real, was ist virtuell? Wie klein sich die reale physische Wirklichkeit vor der sich immer kolossaler aufblasenden medialen Reproduktion macht, könnte Michael Beils Performance-Stück „Caravan“ assoziieren lassen. Vier Akteurinnen und Akteure agieren vor einer Kamera auf expressive, zugleich konsequent sinnfreie Art. Jeder einzeln und im fliegenden Wechsel. Eine Kamera filmt und montiert alles zu einer Echtzeit-Bildcollage, sie sich – abhängig von den Aktionen der Akteure – immer schneller und verwirrender aufbaut.
Key Jack 2017
for a pianist without piano with live video and tape.
In a world minted by media even the total absence of an instrument in a classical concert doesn’t lead to any irritation in the audience. In Key Jack a pianist is multiplied while fake-playing together and interacting with his alter egos. Meanwhile the playback of piano-sounds and the faked movements of playing let the spectators lose sight of the fact that there’s no piano.
String Jack 2016
for cello solo with live-video and tape
premiere Nov 2016 in Huddersfield by Dirk Wietheger/Ensemble Musikfabrik 13 minutes score&patch
Performances by women are called String Jane.
What does it mean to write a piece for solo cello in 2016? What is cello playing in 2016? What is cello playing in general and what is going on in the head of a cello player while playing? String Jack is my answer to these questions. Basic playing techniques deconstructed to their components, the most famous cello pieces and players, various versions of the most difficult passage and much more, that's what you hear and see. The cello!
sugar water 2015
for flute, oboe, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, horn and percussion
premiere in December 2015 in Frankfurt by Ensemble Modern 20 minutes score &patch
sugar water is a musical and visual palindrome composition citing musical palindromes from all over the music history. Ma fin et mon commencement by Machaut is the archetype of this compositional strategy but there are many other full palindromes like those from Haydn, Mozart, Webern, The Beatles and Missy Elliott. Today the back masking effect is also used for promotion purposes and very popular among conspiracy theorists speculating about hidden messages in music or speeches of famous persons.
for flute, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, percussion, piano, violin and cello premiere in October 2015 in Donaueschingen by Ensemble Nadar.
«This is the difference between truth and fiction: fiction has to make sense» (The International 2008)
Similar to my other works Bluff is calling into question all actions related to a concert including all movements a musician does on stage, the composition containing sound and time and its developing process that should also be perceptible for the audience during the performance. Therefore in my most recent pieces like «Blackjack» and «exit to enter» I work with the separation of the four main elements of audio-visual works: movements (of the musicians in order to produce sound or to change position), recorded movements in the video (experiences to be recalled), live played sounds and recorded sounds. All movements, video recordings, real sounds and recorded sounds are separately produced during a performance and combined afterwards in various ways. In Bluff I continue working with this strategy using a much more radical setup. On one hand this new way brings the musicians and the live played music more to the center of attention so that the video will be less dominant than in other pieces. On the other hand in Bluff I use is a completely different way of syncing interaction. The work is perceptibly about separation, isolation and communication on stage. To underline the strangeness of this separation (working technique) and isolation (players) that might seem more familiar to the audience as assumed, I work with «really» very familiar musical material and actions. In the end there might be no difference between appropriate or inappropriate contexts and combinations just as it is in real life.
Ensemble Nadar in Antwerp 2017
for flutes, oboes and clarinets with live video and tape.
premiere in November 2014 in Berlin/Sophiensäle by Ensemble Mosaik.
swap is a scenic composition for three woodwinds with threee instruments each. Switching instruments during a performance has become a common thing in concerts with contemporary music. But the actions and movements associated with changing instruments are mostly not part of the composition but unwelcome side effects that have to be concealed. . In swap they are to be revealed and celebrated as part of the virtuoso skills of a contemporary music player. They are optimized, choreographed and the duration is reduced to a minimum. Constant changing becomes natural and the 9 instruments melt together to one instrument with a monster range and always on the move.
exit to enter 2013
for flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, violin and cello with live-video and tape.
premiere in Mai 2013 in Cologne at 8 Brücken Festival by Ensemble Nadar.
exit to enter is the high point in a series of compositions with live video, and the end point with regard to possible density in the use of written-out live video. A listener who thinks she already sees all the connections on first hearing is missing the mark. This is usually the case with music, although we don’t normally realize it. You can tell very clearly in exit to enter, perhaps because you see and hear everything at the same time, or because you might see something but not hear it. Sometimes this is something quite obvious. For example, during a concert, the musicians come onstage (enter), go offstage (exit), make movements while playing (and while not playing) and they usually have instruments in their hands. When listening to exit to enter, we concentrate on these things so as not to lose the thread. These things become the content, or in more old-fashioned terms, the material. The question of the identity of what is seen and heard plays a part in exit to enter as well. And of course the associated insecurity, which has been discussed in the media and in personal communications for some time now, is a sign of our times that also emerges here. The same goes for the question of the origins of music. It’s actually not clear whether the music is by me; it’s only clear here and there that it isn’t.
for 17 instruments with live-video and live-audio.
premiere in January 2012 in Cologne by Ensemble Musikfabrik with Otto Tausk.
The performance of a big ensemble is already a tour de force by itself. In Bluff this becomes traceable and noticable by exagerating all actions due to playing together and communicating while performing music to a maximum of visibility and noticeability. At the same time the parts of a performance are deconstructed to their components and recomposed to a confusing framework of new connections, meanings and cross-refenrences.
BLACKJACK Michael Beil 2012 musikFabrik
for guitar with live-video and tape
premiere in July 2011 in Tel Aviv in Tzlil Meudcan Festival by Yaron Deutsch.
The live-video version was programmed by Emilio Guim who is also playing it in the video here.
Along can be performed in several versions: with tape only, with live-video and tape or with live-video&audio . Along has been developed in close cooperation with Yaron Deutsch. As with most of my works for soloists, I try to consider the way the musicians play, their musical preferences in music and their special skills. My music is not so much about finding new instrumental sounds but on the contrary about idiomatic playing techniques of an instrument. The tape version I see as a kind of documentation of the working process. With live-video a the structure of the piece is visualized during the performance. As visuals in split-screens easily lead to an overflow of information, the doubling of the music, apparently effortless to follow, at the same time results in confusion for the listener.
for two pianos with live-video and live-audio
premiere 2009 in Cologne played and comissioned by Klavier-Duo Schumacher-Grau
Like my compositions open source and Die Zwei, this piece is made entirely with elements from another composition. These pieces together with transit and caravan made with citations from pop songs are a personal statement related to the debate about authenticity and the misconception of compositions as a “Meisterwerk” produced by a genius without any copied notes.
Karaoke Rebranng! 2006
for saxophone or clarinet, viola or violin, percussion and piano with live-video and tape or live-audio.
premiere 2006 in Hamburg (opera stabile) by ensemble intégrales.
Karaoke Rebranng! is my first piece with live-video as finally those days the computers became fast enough to process video-recording in real time. So Karaoke stands for playing not only with your own recorded music but also with your own recorded video. It was very exciting to make parts of piece already past visible in sync to what is played in the present. The piece is also a remix of Branng!, a composition that I made for a music theater project in Stuttgart in 2005.
with Ensemble Garage at Acht-Brücken festival here.
Die Zwei 2004
for flute and piano with tape and fixed video.
first performance in 2004 in Podewil/Berlin by Bettina Junge and Ernst Surberg.
before you perform Die Zwei you have to record a video in the same hall a high speed version of the piece you find in the drop-box above. this video has to be played back during the performance mirrored and in fifth tempo then. The resulting film shows you playing the piece as if it were in in slow motion even though it is the original tempo.
for percussion with 5-channel-tape (optional with video by Veit Lup)
first performance 2003 in Staatstheater Berlin by Michael Wertmueller.
There’s no score for this composition. If you want to play the piece just listen to the tape and double it with percussion instruments that sound similar or maybe different. To stay in sync you may use the sample-display of a DAW like Logic Pro or Pro Tools. The video by Veit Lup has been shot with little cams mounted on two sticks. Michael Wertmueller walked through the Staatstheater in Berlin playing along with these cam-sticks. The loudspeakers should be arranged for 5-channel surround-sound with one center-loudspeaker. If you need more information feel free to contact me.
part one of two parts
part two of two parts
Die Drei 2003
for 6 singers:
2 sopranos, mezzosoprano, tenor, baritone and bass
first performance 2003 in Philharmonie Stuttgart with Neue Vocalsolisten
12 minutes score
Die Drei is one of my rare works without electronics. The text was written by Anja Tuckermann especially for this composition. In Die Drei phrases consisting of words with three times three syllables in three different languages are combined with melodies, built in a similar way. Thereby, the meaning of the text is less important than the sound of the speech. The group of 6 singers performing Die Drei is devided in two groups of three singers standing apart a little. Three Pairs of singers being part of a different group each are echoing and pairing melodies and three-voice chords.
Mach Sieben is my first composition using a common concept for music and video. And it is my first palindrome piece. In the video the audience can see entire piece backwards. Nevertheless if the video is compared to the live-performance it is just the same with some rare exceptions. And at the same time it is not.