Sunday, December 15, 2013

Markus Reuter 13 questions


Markus Reuter (b.1972 in Lippstadt, Germany) is a composer, record producer, performing musician, educator and psychologist whose career has received international recognition.

Reuter played several instruments as a child and began composing at the age of thirteen. In his teens, Reuter studied music history, theory, and analysis with Karlheinz Straetmanns, a composer in the lineage of Harald Genzmer and Paul Hindemith. From 1991 to 1998 Reuter attended Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft in which intensive courses in music combined with the philosophical teachings of J.G. Bennett and George Gurdjieff played an influential role. The latter’s work on movement, especially his Sacred Dances, had a lasting impact on Reuter’s development of a systematic playing technique for the Touch Guitar, the eight string electric guitar he has since adopted as his main instrument.

Reuter went on to study Psychology at the University of Bielefeld while practicing instant composition with a system of out-of-synch looping devices – an approach that led to several critically acclaimed releases as a soloist and with the group Centrozoon – and free improvisation with Prof. Gerd Lisken’s Chaos Orchester Bielefeld. He further deepened his interest in permutation-based compositional principles during apprenticeships with Belgian composer Daniel Schell and Indian music scholar Ashok Pathak.

In TUNER, an ongoing collaboration with drummer Pat Mastelotto, Reuter has applied the generative harmonic designs used in Todmorden 513 to a rock context. In 2010, Markus joined Stick Men (with bassist Tony Levin and Mastelotto), with whom he has recorded and toured extensively on four continents.

Markus Reuter
Markus Reuter playing the U8 Deluxe

Which is the first musical sound you remember?


What do you dream, musically speaking, about?

I used to dream of the "Holy Grail" in music, and it's been my motivation. Not anymore. I'm sure that some of my works can potentially be "the music I was always looking for" for many people. So really, my current dream is more practical. I wish for at least a part of my work to be discovered so that people will get access to it, i.e. it would be great if there was more awareness for my work.

Why did you decide to pick up the guitar?

I don't think I made that decision. The guitar is just a tool for me, not my main interest. Music is my main interest. Music made me pick up the guitar.

Which work of your own are you most proud of, and why?

I am not the kind of person that is really proud of anything. I don't think like that. In terms of personal musical achievement there's my album Trepanation, and my composition Todmorden 513, which signifies the first time I managed to transcend myself in a composition. And then there's centrozoon, a very special music world that is very close to my heart.

What's the role of technique in art, in your opinion?

It really depends on the individual. I do need to practice my art in order to be able to respond to the creative impulse, but it's just one element in my big bag of tools.

How would you define the present time in musical terms?

Anything goes, but only few dare.

What’s the difference between a good guitar and a bad guitar?

If you want to play it, it's a good guitar. If it does you harm, it's a bad guitar. Some guitars are both good and bad at the same time.

What are you waiting for?

I'm not waiting for anything or anybody at this point.

Talk me about Touch guitar

The U8, the instrument I developed, is a full-range electric guitar instrument that is optimized to be played tap-style with all 8 fingers. You can find more info at

In your own experience, what is the relationship between memory and music?

Memory plays a significant role in the experiencing of music. Humans are pattern-recognition machines, and obviously, memory is integral to any recognition. In my work I use patterns that follow a logic that the subconscious immediately understands, but that the conscious might find surprising. By making the brain oscillate around this fine line between the conscious and subconscious, something remarkable can happen.

Which living artist would you like to collaborate with?

Helge Schneider and Mike Oldfield.

What dead artist would you like to have collaborated with?

Composer David Bedford

What’s your latest project about?

The symphonic version of TM513 will get released on April 18th 2014. Other than that I have been working on some live albums and will hopefully get to work on some new music of my own early in 2014.

2013 introduction of the umbrella term "Modus Novus" in reference to techniques and attitudes used in Markus' work
2013 "Todmorden 513" world-premiere performance by the Colorado Chamber Orchestra
2013 North America and Europa tours with Stick Men
2013 Japan shows with The Crimson ProjeKct
2012 US tour and Russia shows with the Crimson ProjeKct
2012 US, South America, UK and Europe tours with Stick Men
2011 First long tour with centrozoon
2011 US tour with the Crimson ProjeKct
2011 Joins Stick Men (with Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto), tours across South America, Europe and the US
2010 first album production of the classical composition "Todmorden 513"
2009 founds the Touch Guitar Circle
2008 founds Touch Guitars®, develops the first "U8 Deluxe" prototype
2007 coining of the term "The Family" for the approach to touch style playing
2005 first collaboration with Pat Mastelotto (as TUNER)
2005 beginning development of the current set of compositional techniques
2002 - 2006 teaching classes in "The Psychology of Creativity" at the University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany
2002 first record as producer
2001 - 2003 concerts & festivals with centrozoon featuring Tim Bowness
2000 centrozoon debut album 'blast'
1999 first collaboration with Ian Boddy
1998 teaching touch guitar seminars in Spain, Belgium, and the USA
1998 debut album release 'Taster'
1996 first solo performance with all original compositions
1996 - 2000 Europe and US concerts with Europa String Choir and String Unit (with Dagobert Böhm and Zoltan Lantos)
1996 joins centrozoon and Europa String Choir
1995 studies with Daniel Schell and Pandit Ashok Pathak
1993 - 1996 free improv studies with Prof. Gerd Lisken and member of 'Chaos Orchester Bielefeld'
1993 starts playing touch style instruments
1993 - 1999 Studies of Psychology at University of Bielefeld
1991 - 1998 Guitar Craft with Robert Fripp
1985 first compositions
1975 - 1991 studies mandolin, guitar, and piano with various teachers, numerous solo performances and ensemble/orchestra participation