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Human Touch 

Choreography Collaboration with Festival out of the Box, Munich 2021

In addition to Ralf Schmid himself on electronics and two pianos, the performers of “The Human Touch” include the Norwegian vocal ensemble Trondheim Voices and the Swedish o/modernt chamber orchestra under the direction of Hugo Ticcitai as ensembles in residence.
These are wireless effect controllers that they wear on their wrists, giving them individual control over their vocal sound and style. These developments are tantamount to a musical evolutionary step from electronic to digital music making. The electronic amplification of
musical instruments and voices initially went hand in hand with a greater restriction on musicians’ freedom of movement. But digital media have put an end to all such restraints. A pianist, on the other hand, is already confined to a specific place on stage because of the
massive physical attributes of his/her instrument. Sensor technology has now made it possible to play this instrument without touching it in any way.

“The Human Touch” production experiments with the liberation of sound from its source and the liberation of the performers from having to have physical contact with their instruments. During the three-dimensional sound-space installation “The Human Touch”, both sounds and
performers will wander freely throughout the room. In addition to the Trondheim Voices and Ralf Schmid as soloist, the string players of the o/modernt chamber orchestra will be sent on a journey of discovery with their instruments and sounds, the outcome of which is by no
means clear.

Ralf Schmid has developed a unique way of making music: He wears sensor gloves, socalled “wearables”, which allow him to control musical signals and effects apparently just by moving his hands. The Trondheim Voices have also been experimenting for some time with
technological innovations that allow them to move freely around the room, using effects to manipulate their voices themselves – the so-called “Maccatrols” were specially developed by the sound designer Asle Karstad for the singers of the vocal ensemble.


Ceren Oran worked during this production to support the physical presence of the musicians and the choreographed Ralf Schmidt’s gestures as well as the spacing and the movement in the room. This inevitably raises the question of physical quality, the sheer physicality of making music. And what role the physical aspect of music-making plays in salvaging poetry in the digital world. “The Human Touch” will therefore also become a game with the categories of sound, sound body and movement – and an expedition between the poles of distance and proximity. The premiere at the WERK 7 theatre on January 14, 2022 will be the opening performance of the Out Of The Box festival.

Artistic Direction: Martina Taubenberger
Composition: Ralf Schmidt
Choreography: Ceren Oran
Performance: Ralf Schmidt, Trondheim Voices, o/modernt chamber orchestra,

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