Ensembles (engl.)

1) Duo Christine Simolka, soprano, and René Wohlhauser, piano and baritone

The Simolka-Wohlhauser Duo is specialised in the interpretation of current contemporary vocal music, and tours Switzerland and major cities in Europe (e.g. Basel, Bern, Zurich, Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, London, Paris, Vienna, Salzburg) yearly. Their fundamental objective is to promote performance of current vocal music in the contemporary genre, creating new impulses for further developments in this area.
The programs include diverse vocal works of various styles from the current contemporary literature: from music-theatrical comedy to more contemplative or more sophisticated works, from onomatopoetic experiments through settings of poems to wordplay, offering a panoply of possible musical and linguistic styles. Staged performances, as well as improvisations, theatrics and electronics are also among the favorite highlights. A good portion of the program consists of world premieres of works written especially for the duo, emanating from intense collaboration with composers from various European countries (e.g. from Romania, Albania, Azerbaijan, Poland, Germany, France, England and Switzerland), and putting up a fascinating inventory of different tendencies in contemporary composition for discussion. With their enthusiastic performances of the program, the artists shine a novel light on modern musical creative work.

In addition to their concerts featuring exclusively contemporary music, the duo also specializes in mixed programs featuring a wide repertoire, ranging from the Renaissance through the classic-romantic period, the turn of the century, to contemporary compositions for voice(s) and piano. On the one hand, vocal duos of the Renaissance period can be heard, and on the other, experimental "Musiksprechen", noise compositions and free improvisation. These stylistically differing pieces are shown in relation to each other (for example a vocal duo by Pierre de la Rue from the Renaissance period followed by a contemporary arrangement).
This is intended to inspire a confrontation with and critical reflection on the possibilities, and in fact the role, of contemporary composition for voice and piano beyond the traditional "Klavierlied" (piano-accompanied song). This is achieved in part by pieces which are composed especially for this duo, seeking a new aesthetic
access to this historically somewhat overcharged genre. Occasional excursions into the field of jazz and folk-pop add a light touch to some of the programs, with the piano substituted by a mandolin.

Christine Simolka, soprano
Born in Lörrach, Christine Simolka completed eight years of private vocal training with Nicole Andrich and Raymond Henn in Basel. In addition, she attended numerous courses, among others with Kurt Widmer, Andreas Scholl, Hanno Müller-Brachmann and Bobby McFerrin, as well as opera courses at the Basel Music Academy. Further studies with Marianne Schuppe and Robert Koller. Regular international concert activity, especially with the duo "Christine Simolka, soprano, and René Wohlhauser, piano and baritone" and the "Ensemble Polysono". With both ensembles she tours Switzerland and several larger cities in Europe (including Basel, Bern, Zurich, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Weimar, Erfurt, Cologne, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Salzburg, London, Bucharest) every year ). Christine Simolka maintains a broad repertoire together with the accompanist René Wohlhauser. In addition to Lieder and opera arias from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods, she mainly sings contemporary music (including Berio, Henze, Holliger, Rihm, Ferneyhough, Wohlhauser). She also improvises in various styles (jazz, klezmer, blues, rock, free improvisation). She has already staged over a hundred premieres. Many compositions have been dedicated to her. Her work has been documented on seven CDs and through many radio recordings by Swiss radio SRF 2 Kultur, Südwestrundfunk and Bayerischer Rundfunk. She can be heard in over 250 recordings on YouTube.
(September 2021)

René Wohlhauser, piano and baritone
Born in 1954 and raised in Brienz. Experience as a rock and jazz musician. Mainly composer of contemporary art music (including chamber music, orchestral and stage works). Training at the Basel University of Music (Robert Suter, Thomas Kessler, composition with Jacques Wildberger). Then composition studies with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough. Composition courses with Kazimierz Serocki, Mauricio Kagel, Herbert Brün and Heinz Holliger. Further piano studies with Stéphane Reymond and singing studies with David Wohnlich and Robert Koller. Numerous performances at home and abroad, including Schauspielhaus Berlin, Nôtre-Dame-de-Paris, Tokyo, Rome, St. Petersburg and at festivals in Darmstadt, Odessa, Zurich, Sofia and Cardiff. Numerous international composition prizes, including Valentino Bucchi, Rome (1978), Cathedral Chapter Salzburg (1987), Kranichsteiner Scholarship Prize of the International Summer Courses for New Music Darmstadt (1988), Eastern Switzerland Foundation for Music and Theater (1990), Sponsorship Prize Lucerne (1991), Society for Music education research, Zurich (1992), Swiss Radio International (1996), Basel-Landschaft Award 1998. 2004 World premiere of the opera “Gantenbein” at the Lucerne Theater. On tour in Europe as a pianist, singer and conductor with the "Duo Simolka-Wohlhauser" and the "Ensemble Polysono". 2013 Start of the “Wohlhauser Edition” CD series on the NEOS label (a total of 10 portrait CDs already). Over 350 recordings on YouTube. Guest lecturer for composition at the international summer courses in Darmstadt (1988-94), at the festival in Odessa (1996-98) and at the international composer's studio in Lugano (2000). Publications in: "MusikTexte" (Colo-gne), "Neue Zürcher Zeitung", "Darmstädter Contributions to New Music", "New Music and Aesthetics in the 21st Century", as well as his book "Aphorisms on Music". Cultural engagement. Taught composition, music theory and improvisation at the Basel Music Academy until 2019 (and at the Lucerne Academy until 1991) and continues as a professor at the Kalaidos Music Academy.
(September 2021)

Repertoire of the Lied Duo
Classical music (Mozart, Beethoven), romantic music (Schubert, Schumann), turn-of-the-century (Mahler), contemporary music (e.g. Berio, Holliger, Henze, Jarrell, Kurtág, Rihm, Scelsi, Widmann, Wohlhauser), as well as jazz, klezmer, blues, rock, oldies (with mandoline instead of piano), free improvisation.

Tour programs, program booklets, sound samples and Fotos see the German site

2) Ensemble "Polysono"
According to the projects, the Duo can be extended with other instruments becoming the Ensemble Polysono

contact: Wohlhauser / Simolka, Schillerstr. 5, 4053 Basel, wohlhauser@sunrise.ch