Neues Album EARIS auf IMPAKT Records

Elisabeth Coudoux – Cello, komp.
Matthias Muche – Posaune
Robert Landfermann – Bass
Philip Zoubek – präp. Piano
Etienne Nillesen – ext. snare drum&cymbals

Beitrag Stadtrevue Köln Sept. 2020 von Felix Klopotek

Kunstwerk: Eva Jeske, Foto Johan Coudoux
IMPAKT Records/Bandcamp
IMPAKT Records/Bandcamp
Kunstwerk: Eva Jeske, Foto: Johan Coudoux


Elisabeth Coudoux Solo

some poems



„Few things make me roll my eyes faster than reading about how some brave soul is now making creative music on cello, as if no one (except, maybe, Oscar Pettiford in the 1950s) had ever dared such a thing. Never mind Fred Katz, Maxine Gregg, David Darling, David Eyges, Abdul Wadud, Tom Cora, Muneer B. Fennell aka Muneer Abdul Fataah, Diedre Murray, Tristan Honsinger, Ernst Reijseger, Akua Dixon, Hank Roberts, Rufus Cappadocia, Tomas Ulrich, Peggy Lee, Laura Culver, Didier Petit, Jean-Charles Capon, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jane Scarpantoni, Michelle Kinney, Alex Waterman, Vincent Courtois, Dana Leong, Okkyung Lee, Tomeka Reid… we could keep going awhile, but you get the idea. (And don’t forget the cello-doubling bassists: Harry Babasin, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Sam Jones, Keter Betts, Percy Heath, Dave Holland, Peter Warren, Matthew Brubeck, Paolo Damiani.…)

              The challenge, in 2016, isn’t how to go about improvising on cello. It’s how to stake out your own territory on an instrument that’s been integral to creative music since the 1970s, when Abdul Wadud began grinding out blues lines behind Julius Hemphill.

              Elisabeth Coudoux shows how it’s done on some poems, showing off her own distinct voice on cello. She tells her own stories—or her own story, in the sense that every improviser’s personal style betrays the life experience behind it. From her sheer technique, you’d correctly surmise long classical training. But she also shows a readiness to go her own way(s). Sometimes her ability set up and sustain distinct figures in different rhythms and registers suggests the multi-strand solo music of saxophonist Evan Parker: Another tradition reveals itself.

              Born in 1985, Coudoux had arrived at the Carl Maria von Weber conservatory in Dresden in 2003 as a classical cellist with a taste for new music. While there she first heard the kinds of players mentioned in the first paragraph, and Coudoux wound up writing her thesis on the jazz cello, from the first exponents to Fred Katz’s sterling work in the ’50s, to the likes of Muneer, Reijseger and Courtois. She liked how the instrument keeps turning up in unconventional situations within jazz and free music. (Just having cello made a setting unconventional.) She’s maintained a dual perspective ever since, on cello as vehicle for both written and extemporized new music. She’s played in a few ensembles that blur the line, like Zeitkratzer and her own quintett Emißatett.

              After Dresden, Coudoux continued exploring the practice of improvising on cello at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, where she is still based. There she studied with among others saxophonist Frank Gratkowski and bassist Dieter Manderscheid (whom she still works with), and workshopped with Reijseger and others.

              “I found my way to contemporary music from Xenakis, Georg Friedrich Haas, Michael Jarrell, and a lot of other composers who worked on getting different sounds from stringed instruments,” Coudoux says. “And while I was researching my thesis, I got in touch with the younger cellist Stephan Braun, living in Berlin, who’s worked on playing fast jazz lines in the thumb position, really rhythmical stuff. Another improvising cellist I like very much is Albert Márkos from Hungary, because he really developed his own style, really abstract, fast and noisy. I play in an improvising cello quartet—The Octopus with Nora Krahl, Hugues Vincent and Nathan Bontrager, who have our own CD coming out on Leo—and once when we played in Berlin, Tristan Honsinger had just finished a concert next door, and we invited him to join us for a set: very impulsive individual improviser!”

              Still, alluring as those (and other) role models may be, as we mentioned Coudoux found her own approach, and brings to this solo music an engaging mix of material. Only a couple of pieces on some poems are pure free improvisations, “a faint voice” and “besets.” For “within a sounding body,” “only time no changes” and “in a swaying ship,” she had a general idea or specific material in mind before she started. In that last case, the evocative title came before recording the final version, with its creaking rigging, and the ominous sound of cargo shifting in the hold. (You may have noticed that the titles, taken together, form a poem.) In jazz talk, ‘time, no changes’ usually refers to, say, mid-’60s Miles Davis, but Coudoux’s piece is about… something else. It may put you in mind of a subway train you can hear coming late at night that never appears. Or perhaps a leaking clarinet.

              Other pieces she calls “structured compositions.” Coudoux says, “When I was working on the material for ‘me’ in my rehearsal room, I discovered it might be good to sing a few notes, and then I wrote it out as a score. On ‘found not’ every sound is written, but it took me years to figure out what to do with the material.” For “in sounding bodies” she wrote out a roadmap to follow from one “loop” to the next but advances at her own pace.

              Improvising or composing, she avails herself of Anthony Braxton’s durable wisdom, concerning solo concerts: give each piece its own topic or area to investigate, so everything doesn’t sound the same. Thus “besets” is about pitch swarms and sliding overtones—“The cello is totally out of tune,” she notes—and “shaken boundary conditions” is mostly sotto voce, as if cello is heard at a distance. 

              Coudoux also builds in variety by using alternate tunings most of the time; she only tunes to a standard C G D A for “a faint voice,” “knut” and “me.” On “in sounding bodies” for example the strings are tuned Ab D G Bb. You might think that she’s retuning on the fly here and there on that piece, playing double stops where one note stays steady and the other curves away, but she does all that on the fingerboard—a complex move she’d picked up in a workshop with new-music bassist Stefano Scodanibbio.

              Elisabeth Coudoux can really get the overtones moving with a bow, as on “knut.” The longest track here, “in sounding bodies,” is her tour de force: an intensely rhythmic piece that is always changing and always the same, to cite an old description of minimalism. (It’s the only music I know that evokes the ’60s Steve Reich of Violin Phase and the ’70s Reich of Tehilllim.) The pulse is more or less constant, but every other parameter keeps changing, as the texture thickens and thins, and “feedbacky” overtones are set a-humming. Her arco control is subtle and precise even as the bow seems to have a will and momentum of its own.

              The room she recorded in—a modern church with a high ceiling and suspended wooden panels—really brings those overtones to life. In other settings Coudoux couples her cello to electronics, but here the music is purely acoustic, save on “within a sounding body,” which she developed with sound artist Tina Tonagel. A “bodyshaker”—a small, intensely vibrating subwoofer—was placed at the back of the cello, amplifying the only radio station that came through clearly on site, by chance serving up thumping disco at the time of recording.

              “It’s a game, to play with that,” Coudoux says, adding that this leakage is also a comment on the ubiquity of feel-good pop music in public spaces these days. Faint as it is, that disco sounds particularly incongruous in this context, a missive from a world of sound far removed from the singular one Elisabeth Coudoux creates with this exceptional program.“

–Kevin Whitehead

author of Why Jazz? A Concise Guide (Oxford)/Warum Jazz?: 111 gute Gründe (Reclam)

Foto: Tina Tonagel

Beat the Odds

|| beat the odds ||

Pascal Niggenkemper – Kontrabass
Félicie Bazelaire – Kontrabass
Ricardo Jacinto – Cello
Elisabeth Coudoux – Cello

Zwei Celli und zwei Kontrabässe im Dialog, angeordnet im Quadrat.
Die Saiten, angeschlagen von einem durch einen Motor angetriebenen Propeller,
der variabel gesteuert wird.
Pulsierende Organismen (Beats), stehende Klangflächen (Drones) sowie
persönlichen Spieltechniken der vier Musiker rufen in einem
organischen Miteinander eine faszinierende Klangwelt hervor.

* Im Rahmen einer Künstlerresidenz ist dieses Projekts Anfang 2017 im GMEA in Albi,
Frankreich entstanden. (Centre National de Création Musicale Albi-Tarn)
* Die technischen Verwirklichung ist Dank der Unterstützung von trinamic motors entstanden.




Foto: Lazslo Juhasz
Foto: Iztok Zupan
Foto: Iztok Zupan
Foto: Iztok Zupan
Foto: Iztok Zupan



Nora Krahl – Cello
Nathan Bontrager – Cello
Hugues Vincent – Cello
Elisabeth Coudoux – Cello


We are Elisabeth, Nora, Hugues and Nathan. We are Cellists based in Paris, Cologne and Berlin. We love our instruments. We love music. We love improvisation!

We met in March 2013 and came together to improvise in Cologne. Four cellists who had never played as a group before. One might expect a homogeneous, ego-driven mess of sound. As it turned out, we’re all pretty generous people and something very special happened that evening. So, in a quite organic way:


Why Octopus? Think about it…

First: animals are, in general, cool. I mean, have you ever seen an Octopus maneuvering across the ocean floor, curling and slinging his eight arms with impressive virtuosity?

And how does that make us an Octopus? Perhaps it’s obvious: we have eight arms, too, but FOUR brains.

Like some sort of musical Voltron, however, these arms come from different places with different backgrounds. One arm plays jazz, one plays Bach, another Boulez… but they all improvise and they all listen and work together.

So there’s a lot of weird stuff happening in the Octopus brain: Clashes… discussions… unexpected deviations of thought… with 8-armed dreams leading him to amazing, unexpected paths through the unknown territories of the deep sea.

Octopus is flexible and free and therefore loves to improvise while swimming alone, but he is also open, generous and kind which means he likes working with other artistic creatures.

Foto: Johan Coudoux
Foto: Wolfgang Vogt



Tina Tonagel –
kinetische Objekte, selbstgebaute Instrumente, Overheadprojektor
Elisabeth Coudoux – Cello


Das Projekt von Tina Tonagel und Elisabeth Coudoux vereint digitale und analoge Technologien zu einem in sich abgeschlossenen Bühnen-Szenario.
Eine audiovisuelle Performance mit antikem Violoncello, traditioneller Pferdekopfgeige, historischem Tageslichtprojektor, kinetischen Objekten, selbstgebauten Instrumenten, elektromechanischen Installationen und einer Portion Humor.
Jedes neue Projekt wird unvorhersehbar bis zur Auführung selbst, und ist gleichzeitig in vielen Stunden vorbereitet worden. Wenn diese zwei kreativen Damen etwas zusammen entwickeln wird es auf jeden Fall hochinteressant, charmant und poetisch.

„drone, experimental, elektronik, schlager-pop, spectral music, trash“

Foto: Tina Tonagel

1000 2000

1000 / 2000


Jan Klare – Saxophon, Komp.
Bart Maris – Trompete
Wilbert de Joode
Elisabeth Coudoux – Cello



Steve Swell – Posaune
Michael Vatcher – Drums


Bart Maris, Jan Klare, Wilbert de Joode und Michael Vatcher gründeten 2004 die Band 1000, in ihrer Besetzung an das legendäre Ornette Coleman Quartett angelehnt, und spielten von Beginn an Kompositionen, die eigentlich für Improvisationsmusik ungeeignet waren – Stücke zB von Wagner, Bach, Bennett oder Monteverdi – so etablierten sie durch spektakuläre Interpretationen dieses Materials schon früh einen unverkennbaren Stil.

Die Art und Weise wie 1000 improvisierend und adhoc Form gestaltete, beeindruckte von Anfang die Kritiker. („consistently interesting quartet that keeps evolving and getting better with each release.“ Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery). Im Laufe der Jahre erlernte 1000 einen beinah telepathischen Umgang – eine intuitive Sprache, die fließend Textur mit Energie und Subtilität balanciert.
Als Vatcher 2017 nach NYC ging war die Band erschüttert. Nach so vielen Jahren der Vertiefung war die Möglichkeit, ihn zu ersetzen und nahtlos weiter zu machen, nicht gegeben – andererseits wollten die verbleibenden 3 nicht aufhören.
Unter anderem die Nachfrage von Veranstaltern verhalf 1000 zurück in die Aktivität – ab 2018 spielt das Quartett zusammen mit der wunderbaren Elisabeth Coudoux – Cello.

Foto: André Symann



Paul Peuker –  guitar/compositions
Clemens Poetzsch –  piano
Mark Weschenfelder – altsax/clarinet
Florian Lauer –  drums
Eugen Rolnik – bass
Alina Gropper –  violin
Filip Sommer –  viola
Elisabeth Coudoux – cello


The music of this band consists primarily of elements from the modern classical music, free improvised music and modern jazz. The New York avantgarde scene around Tim Berne or John Zorn is an important influence as well as the work of Bela
Bartók, Gustav Mahler or Dmitri Shostakovich.
With the compositions of Paul Peuker on the one, and the musician´s individual musical styles on the other hand, it was possible to assemble a peerless band which promisses a thrilling live experience.

The Ensemble captivates with a broad spectrum of timbre;
it´s a successful attempt in creating a sound between a stringquartet and a jazzcombo, up to the powerful sounds of a rockband or a symphony orchestra. This is Peuker8!

Jazz Podium 3/14



Reinhold Friedl – piano, direction
Lisa Maria Landgraf- violin
Biliana Voutchkova – violin
Nora Krahl – cello
Elisabeth Coudoux – cello
Ulrich Phillipp – double bass
Martin Heinze – double bass
Maurice de Martin – drums, percussion
Frank Gratkowski – reeds, flute
Hayden Chisholm – reeds, flute
Hild Sofie Tafjord – french horn
Elena Kakaliagop – french horn
Hilary Jeffery – trombone
Robert Nacken – sound
Andreas Harder – light


zeitkratzer is sound made visible, tangible, bodily—a corporal live music experience. The physicality of sound is celebrated through extended instrumental techniques, a deep understanding of the musical material, and amplified traditional instruments. It will make you expect more from music than you ever did!

zeitkratzer is perverting musical genres. Keiji Haino meets Karlheinz Stockhausen meets Laurie Anderson meets folk music meets Whitehouse meets Serbian war songs meets Terre Thaemlitz meets Iannis Xenakis meets Lou Reed meets The Shape Of Jazz To Come meets Arnold Schönberg. The joy of the intensity of sound and music: a challenge to both composers and non-academic noise-makers from the most talented performers, improvisers, sound artists and composers around.

zeitkratzer is a soloist ensemble. Its strength comes from its members. Founded in 1999, it gathers nine musicians and lighting and sound engineers living in different European cities — from Berlin to Palermo, from Belgrade to Oslo — meeting all over the world to work together. zeitkratzer benefits from its outstanding musicians, their advanced and unique playing techniques, their rich and multifaceted musical experience and varied backgrounds: contemporary music, noise, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, improvised music, experimental rock, ambient, folk music, industrial, early music…

zeitkratzer is independent from music institutions. The ensemble finances itself through free projects and touring internationally. This freedom facilitates the idiosyncratic and groundbreaking repertoire that has made zeitkratzer internationally recognized. Faithful only to their own tastes and beliefs, they have established themselves to be one of the most intriguing ensembles to collaborate with. Musicians who have worked with zeitkratzer include: Lou Reed, Alvin Lucier, Keith Rowe (AMM), Mario Bertoncini (nuova consonanza), Jim O’Rourke, James Tenney, Merzbow, Zbigniew Karkowksi, Keiji Haino, Marcus Schmickler, Alvin Curran (musica elettronica viva), Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Laurie Anderson, Elliott Sharp…

zeitkratzer is driven by unique concert programs. Blocks of repertoire created by the ensemble can function either separately or mixed together. From the Volksmusik of the Danube, reminiscent of waltzes and zithers, to Xenakis [A]Live! an homage to the great composer with a paraphrase of his “Persepolis”; the [electronics] series, including music by and with Keiji Haino, Terre Thaemlitz, Carsten Nicolai and William Bennett of Whitehouse; the [old school] series, dedicated to the new music of John Cage, James Tenney and Alvin Lucier; Noise with Merzbow, Keiji Haino and Zbigniew Karkowski; idiosyncratic songs for soprano and ensemble; and the famous Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed, guitar feedback transcribed for amplified traditional instruments. zeitkratzer is touring worldwide and performing at renowned festivals from Tokyo to Madrid, Rome and London to Vienna, Paris and Budapest to Berlin.

zeitkratzer is not worried about preserving the “purity” of new music. Music, especially so-called new music, thrives on continuous contamination. The idea of “pure taste” as an independent aesthetic category was revealed by Pierre Bourdieu to be a medium of social distinction. “Thus, pure taste is based on nothing else but a rejection or rather disgust for the objects that ‘force us to enjoy’, such as disgust for such crude, vulgar taste that is also appealing in this forced enjoyment.”

zeitkratzer is serious music full of joy!


Large Ensemble

Raphael Malfliet's
Large Ensemble

Raphael Malfliet – electric bass, composition (BE)
Cécile Broché – violin (BE)
Frantz Loriot – viola (FR/CH)
Elisabeth Coudoux – cello (DE)
Leonhard Huhn – clarinet (DE)
Karin De Fleyt – flute (BE)
Elena Kakaliagou – French horn (DE/GR)
Henrik Munkeby Norstebo – trombone (NO)
Carlo Costa – drums and percussion (US)
Toma Gouband – drums and objects (FR)


Large Ensemble

The idea of this ensemble came to existence during the writing process of my trio with Carlo Costa and Todd Neufeld (Noumenon). I first started to hear strings and kept on wanting a broader sound spectrum which opened up possibilities to work with the register. Gradually I started adding people I knew from other projects or that I had played with. When the instrumentation was final I combined my studies in contemporary composition with writing for this ensemble. I use different notations such as classic notation, graphic scores, symbols and written directions in a sort of game structure to achieve a state where the players (which are mostly improvisers) still retain their freedom but are at the same time guided to a place where I want the music to go, trying to find a balance between freedom in improvising and control in composition by leaving some parameters indeterminate.

At the same time I try to break up the traditional visual representation of this ensemble and approach every player more as actors coming on and leaving the stage for different scenes. In this scenes I work with spatialism and the acoustic projection of sound and the perception of fore and background.

The ensemble just finished a residency at KC NONA, a recording in Motor Music Mechelen and two concerts in Nona and Rataplan. Next year we play a concert at DeSingel in Antwerp on the 5th of April.

Foto: Lazslo Juhasz

Peter Evans Köln Quartett

Peter Evans Köln Quartett

Peter Evans – Trompete
Sabine Akiko Ahrendt – Violine
Florian Zwissler – Synthesizer
Elisabeth Coudoux – Cello

Die Initiative Zeitinsel:Residency ermöglichte die erste Begegnung mit Peter Evans im Loft, Köln am 27.11.2017.

Das nächste Konzert wird in Moskau, Dom, am 3. November 2018 stattfinden.

Foto: Svetlana Selezneva

Kathrin Pechlof &Strings

Kathrin Pechlof Trio
plus Strings

Kathrin Pechlof – Harfe, Komp.
Christian Weidner – Saxophon, Komp.
Robert Landfermann – Bass

Biliana Voutchkova – Violine
Vincent Royer – Viola
Elisabeth Coudoux – Cello
Dieter Manderscheid – Bass

Jazz im Mozart-Saal Vielgestaltig schillernd

Die Harfenistin Kathrin Pechlof mit ihrem Septett beim Jazz in der Alten Oper Frankfurt.


von Stefan Michalzik

Ein prominentes Beispiel für den Gebrauch der Harfe im Jazz gibt es zwar in der Gestalt von Alice Coltrane in den 60er Jahren. Insofern ist sie als Instrument der improvisatorischen Musik zwar jazzhistorisch erschlossen, doch das blieb für lange Zeit ziemlich folgenlos, eine ernstliche Tradition hat sich nicht herausgebildet.

Kathrin Pechlof ist eine herausragende unter einer Reihe von Musikerinnen, die in jüngerer Zeit das Instrument im Zusammenhang einer Klangsprache weiterentwickelt haben, die sich an der Schnittstelle zwischen der zeitgenössischen Musik und dem Jazz bewegt. Schon ihr vor fünf Jahren veröffentlichtes Debütalbum „Imaginarium“ ließ aufhorchen, nicht minder faszinierend ist das neue, gleichfalls mit ihrem langjährig beständigen Trio um den Altsaxofonisten Christian Weidner und den Bassisten Robert Landfermann eingespielte Album „Toward the Unknown“. Nun hat die gebürtige Münchnerin, Jahrgang 1978, in der von dem (auch für diese Zeitung tätigen) Musikjournalisten Hans-Jürgen Linke betreuten Spezialitätenreihe „Jazz im Mozart-Saal“ der Frankfurter Alten Oper mit einem Septett um ihr Trio sowie die vier Streicher Biliana Voutchkova, Violine; Vincent Royer, Bratsche; Elisabeth Coudoux, Cello und den Bassisten Dieter Manderscheid gastiert.

Das Klangbild ist ein gedämpftes. Natürlich ist eine gewisse Koketterie im Spiel, wenn Linke wie immer zu Beginn der Konzerte sagt, dass man es in dieser Jazzreihe nie mit Jazz zu tun habe, tatsächlich aber handelt es sich im vorliegenden Fall um eine kompositorisch fixierte Kammermusik aus dem Geist der Improvisation; Urheber der Stücke ist neben Kathrin Pechlof zu ungefähr gleichen Teilen Christian Weidner.

Die Musik kommt ohne einen Puls aus, es geht um die Klanglichkeit, mitunter entsteht eine Stimmung der kontemplativen Exerzitien. Jimmy Giuffre trifft Arvo Pärt. Dann wieder ist dieser vielgestaltig schillernden Musik auch mal ein elegischer Zug eigen. In einer ungebrochenen, dabei ganz und gar nicht kitschigen Art geht es hier um Schönheit.

In diesem Septett bewegen sich alle Instrumentalstimmen hierarchiefrei. Wenn es hier um eines nicht geht, dann ist es ein Virtuosentum. Wohl tritt jeder mal solistisch hervor, es wird aber niemand besonders exponiert, auch Kathrin Pechlof nicht. Es gilt das Primat der Form – gleichwohl stellt sich mitnichten ein Eindruck des allzu kühl Abgezirkelten ein. Es gibt Anlehnungen an Modelle der westeuropäisch-klassischen Musiktradition in zeitgenössisch freigeistiger Anverwandlung vor dem Hintergrund der freien Tonalität. Der progressive Leitgedanke ist der einer Weitung des Horizonts. Der Eindruck ist ein tiefer.


Foto: Jason Seizer



Nathan Bontrager – Cello
Stefan Schönegg – Bass
Etienne Nillesen – extended Snare
Salim Javaid – Saxophon
Marlies Debacker – Klavier
Leonhard Huhn – Saxophon
Constantin Herzog – Bass
Angelika Sheridan – Flöten
Philip Zoubek – Klavier
Florian Zwissler – Synthesizer
Nicola Hein – Gitarre
Elisabeth Coudoux – Cello

ein KOLLEKTIV junger MusikerInnen aus Köln, deren Schnittmenge die frei improvisierte Musik ist. Musik, die aus der stilistischen und klanglichen Vielfalt der heutigen Zeit erwächst; Musik, die sich in einem spontanen und konstruktiven Umgang miteinander widerspiegelt. Dem Zuhörer eröffnen sich musikalische Momente, in denen die Persönlichkeiten der Musiker, ihre Ideen und Klangvisionen durchscheinen.

IMPAKT organisiert
IMPAKT X KING GEORG – Konzertreihe in der Kölner Klubbar King Georg
IMPAKT : KONTRAST – Konzertreihe im Stadtgarten Köln

IMPAKT betreibt
NEWSLETTER und VeranstaltungsKALENDER mit aktuellen Konzertterminen für improvisierte Musik in Köln
IMPAKT Records – Internetlabel der IMPAKT Mitglieder

Foto: Johan Coudoux