Tag: new music

Eric Christian Von Fricken | Pianist, Composer

Herbert Meets: Eric Christian Von Fricken

Eric Christian Von Fricken by Chris Millington 

Eric Christian Von Fricken is a Brooklyn based pianist and composer with a deeply romantic musical style influenced by the  sounds of Chopin, Liszt, Ravel and Satie. Eric’s innate understanding of listeners has led him to grow an engaged and growing Instagram family of almost a quarter of a million fans. I was intrigued to understand more about his ethos, influences and how he cracked the social code.  read more

Herbert Meets: Zara Hudson Kozdoj

Herbert Meets: Zara Hudson Kozdoj

Zara Hudson Kozdoj by Denzel Gaisie 

Zara Hudson Kozdoj in a London-based cellist in the final year of her Masters at The Royal College of Music. She is also a member of Chineke! Orchestra, the first professional orchestra in Europe with majority black and minority ethnic musicians.  

I wanted to find out more about her experiences as a performer and her thoughts on the wider classical ecosystem and if it needed to change to stick with a younger generation.  read more

Herbert Meets: Darian Thomas

Herbert Meets: Darian Thomas

Darian Thomas Self-Portrait.

I wanted to find out more about Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist Darian Thomas after hearing and his track ‘Marble,’ which was released on May 29th part of a stunning compilation ‘String Layers’ from 7K! 

After getting to know him a bit better, it turned out that much like his music, Darian is a multi-faceted, exacting and forward-thinking artist that is carving his own exciting creative path.  read more

Herbert Meets: Casual Melancholia

Herbert Meets: Casual Melancholia

Casual Melancholia by Alexandre Desmidt 

When I watched pianist and composer ‘Casual Melancholia,’ play the piano on an Instagram live a couple of weeks ago, there was a studious delicacy to his playing and a charm that was palpable even through the tiny screen. I went straight to Spotify and listened to the first track listed ‘Memory’ (first track of EP ‘Birth’) and was immediately transported. When we spoke, it turned out that the artist, like his playing was charming, studious and a little bit magic.  read more

Herbert Meets: Sarah Neutkens

Herbert Meets: Sarah Neutkens

Sarah Neutkens is a Dutch composer and visual artist that  is currently finishing her studies in the Netherlands. I was drawn to speak to Sarah having heard a couple of her tracks, which had a freshness and complexity that I wanted to understand more about. I reached out to Sarah at a time at which artists around the world are also trying to adapt to a new normal, curious to see how she was getting on. 

Sarah Neutkens by Anna Perger

A lot of musicians’ lives have been affected by this crisis, what is your experience looking like?  
Not a huge amount is different for me but it is a very strange time. I am staying with my parents who live in a village on the border of Belgium. I am lucky because I just heard that the entire apartment block where I usually live is on lockdown and no one can leave the building. I have noticed a change here too, because we used to go for many walks across the border Belgium but now because of the new enforcements, we can’t … that has been strange too.  
I see a huge impact on my father’s life who is also a musician (lute and theorbo) because he would usually be playing concerts at the moment but of course they have all been cancelled. My mum’s a teacher so she’s teaching her students virtually, which is also surreal.

You must have grown up in a  house filled with music – do you remember the first time you heard a melody or a piece of music?
Yes, absolutely! The first memory I have of hearing music is my father playing Chaconne en la mineur by Robert de Visée. It was that piece that made me fall in love with the expressive and melancholic quality of music.
I then learnt the recorder like all the children in my village but I wanted to learn my own instrument..I was drawn to the piano. My parents found a teacher who I stayed with until I finished all my exams and then I went to study something totally different!
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Herbert Meets: Sergio Diaz De Rojas

Herbert Meets: Sergio Díaz De Rojas

Sergio Diaz De Rojas by Laura Vidal-Abarca

In a time where Spotify’s ‘Peaceful Piano’ has become the blue tick verification that contemporary classical artists strive for, I wanted to learn more about how Peruvian-born pianist and composer Sergio Díaz De Rojas felt about the rising popularity around a genre that he has helped grow through his own music, platform ‘Piano and Coffee’ and record label‘ Piano and Coffee Records.’   read more

Herbert Meets: Willie Alexander

Herbert Meets: Willie Alexander

Willie Alexander is a New York based musician and composer whose journey began with the accidental discovery of his singing talent. Fast-forward to today and Willie has just completed a five year stint with the San Francisco Symphony and now lives in New York where he is composing – most recently the music for Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS Fashion show. 

I soon found out when listening to his story that Willie is tenacious, warm and unafraid to get to the heart of the matter, so that’s exactly what we did.  read more

Herbert’s Ones To Watch 2020

Herbert’s Ones To Watch 2020 

We feel that this year is an auspicious one and we hope it is exactly that for you. To kick it off, Herbert and I wanted to share our predicitions of which ten classical music artists will cause some serious waves this year.

If you like and hear what you see, please go and watch, listen and support these talented rising artists. 

 1.Nana Ouyang

Nana Ouyang by Jumbo Tsui 

19-year-old Nana Ouyang is a rising cellist that supercharges what it means to be a ‘triple-threat.’  At just 15 she released her debut cello solo album ’15.’  The same year – also a budding actress, she starred as the lead in Jackie Chan’s Sci-Fi Film ‘Bleeding Steel.’ She since has been building her acting career, her 14 million followers on Chinese social platform ‘Weibo’ and has also caught the attention of the fashion world. Watch the space for what Nana does next.  read more

Good Vibes Only: Herbert Meets Unit 31

Good Vibes Only: Herbert Meets Unit 31 

Unit 31 is a collective founded by two musicians and a filmmaker that connects artists across London’s creative community.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Raffy Bushman and Julian Prentis – two core members of the team – to find out the story behind the space, their exhibition, which celebrates the last 5 years at Unit 31 and that culminates in their final installment of chamber music on 15th December.

Photo by Karolina Wielocha  read more

Herbert Meets: Ell Kendall

Herbert meets: Ell Kendall

Herbert and I have known for some time that Ell is an artist to watch out for. This November marks the release for Ell’s debut track  – ‘Marlen,’  which is the culmination of 5 years of testing, trying and making. The freshness and intricacy of his music is coupled with his ability to go one step further and engage his listener’s emotions through his play on spaces through sound.

Ell, congrats – it must feel great to have Marlen out –
It feels really good. I’ve been working to get to this point for … well if I think about it compositionally, technically, I got to a point about 5 years ago where I started to make material that actually captured how I felt. Once that happened, I started to putted the dots together on a page. 
When you talk about ‘that moment’ – what was it that clicked for you?
When you record classical music, you are typically documenting a performance. Even though we have wonderful recordings, it’s not concerned with creating a stand-alone sound experience.
So, it became important to me to create something fully acoustic, which is quite rare. I also wanted to enter the recording process open minded, so that I could let my imagination run wild and reach new sounds –
We went into the studio and recorded each of the musicians individually. Isolating the sound lets you discover that instrument’s innate nature. From there you can also manipulate the sound to zero into their quality.
How long did it take to record Marlen in this way?
We took a year to record Marlen and two other tracks.
Yeah, but bear in mind, experimentation was a large part of this. We spent the first month really just trying different things out.
I wanted to play with space with the sounds I was using. There’s something called ‘spatialising,’ which is very popular at the moment in performance – it describes when musicians perform from different places in a venue. I took this a step further to create a dream like experience where anything could happen sound-wise (you also need a nifty producer!)
Apart from creating different avenues for sound, what is the extra effect of this for a listener?
It’s about the sensation of sound – and the different experiences you can have of sound. For example – if it doesn’t exist right in front of you, it can evoke a very different emotional character and adds this extra layer to the music. 

Was there a specific set of emotions you wanted to evoke with Marlen?
Marlen is a portrait of a dancer that I met. We worked together for a week and I thought she was very beautiful. She had an energy and life about her which was …very special. It was also the first time that I realized how important it was to cherish that kind of beauty and life because it is so transient.  
…that experience inspired me to write the track, and those are the emotions behind the sound choices, but ultimately it’s up to the listener to decide how it makes them feel and what it means to them.
Is that Marlen on the cover? 
Yes, of course it is! It’s funny, a lot of people that have seen the image seem to think it sexualises her. It makes me laugh because Marlen actually sent me that picture of herself for this track. For me, it captures the same energy and life that I tried to capture when I wrote and recorded the track.
As an artist that is trying to do things differently, are you used to that kind of opposition yet? 
… I mean, my classical music education has been a story of pure persistence. I came from a pop music background, but I decided to switch to classical at the last minute with no formal training. To get in, I ended up teaching myself to transcribe music in a week and convinced the professor to take me on. That’s why it’s so important for me to try and stick to my vision. 
What was it that made you shift to classical?
I liked the ambiguity of classical. Pop music is tied in with words/poetry. I found that words grounded the music too much for me – I like to leave my music very open for interpretation.
Apart from Marlen, do you have any tracks in the works for release?
I have the next portrait Nuha coming in the next couple of months, which like Marlen is an expression of a person and a moment in time.
Very cool – thanks for your time today Ell. 
No, thank YOU. This has been fun.

Ell will be performing at Hundred years gallery on November 22nd – tickets available on the door.  

He will also be performing at Q3 Ambient Festival in Potsdam – April 2020.

To stay in touch with Ell click here or here 


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