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- Classical:NEXT 2016
Kai Schumacher, dubbed the “Punk Pianist” by the Bavarian Radio Classical channel, delights in pushing the boundaries between classical and popular music while avoiding the well-worn clichés “Crossover.” Boasting an impressive pedigree, Kai studied at the renowned Folkwang University Essen with Prof. Till Engel, passing his performance jury with distinction in 2009. Since then, like a musical mad scientist, he has been constantly experimenting and combining seemingly incompatible elements with surprising results. His solo performances are acts of pure musical - and stylistic - alchemy, serving up heady mixes of Dadaism and Dancefloor, Avantgarde and Pop culture – sometimes all at once!
When not engaged in genre-defying pursuits, Kai Schumacher‘s repertoire focuses on American piano music of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His debut recording of Frederic Rzewski‘s monumental “The People United Will Never Be Defeated” was hailed by Fono Forum magazine as a “pianistic sensation” and voted CD of the month. On his second album, “Transcriptions” (2013), he bravely turned to the musical heroes of his youth - Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Slayer and others – remixing them and transforming the concert grand into a four-square-meter sound monster, a mechanical sound-effects board, complete with prepared percussion. His latest album “Insomnia” is the story of a nocturnal odyssey, at once soothing and disturbing, it´s five restless “hymns” to the night feature the works of five American composers written over the past 80 years. “Insomnia” wakes you up takes you on a sleepless shamble from Gershwin’s smoky, late night jazz, to Brian Belet’s spectral nocturne for live piano and electronics, with stops along the way, both serene (Cage’s aptly titled “Dream”) and sinister (George Crumb’s creepy meditation on Thelonius Monk’s “Round Midnight”). On the surface such a disparate program would hardly seem to hold together, but Schumacher draws out each work’s unique dramatic conception and explores a subconscious network of subtle musical references, that when taken together, become five steps in an imaginary trip through the mind of an insomniac.
Kai Schumacher also works as a producer and regularly appears as an orchestral soloist, touring throughout Europe, Asia, South America and the USA