LondonJazz: Can you tell us about yourself?
Johannes Berauer: I am a composer from Vienna. My background is classical music as much as jazz. I studied in Linz, at Berklee in Boston, and with the late Bob Brookmeyer.
LJ : Have you had your work performed in the UK before?
JB: I have had a couple of performances of my work in London / UK. They were mostly at contemporary classical music fetivals, like the Soundings Festival in London, where there was a solo cello performance by Rohan de Saram, and the Cheltenham Music Festival. I’ve also had a piece performed at Peter Wiegold’s Club Inegales. Next year I will have a film music project with the young Sarod player Soumik Datta at the Edinburgh Mela festival.
LJ : What is special about this concert?
JB: It is the presentation of my new album “The Vienna Chamber Diaries” which features not only amazing musicians but is also a musical gem among projects I have done so far.
LJ : It is a “crossover” project?
JB: In reality it is more than that. Many crossover projects just go for superficial effects. In this project I have the sense that I am combining these two intrinsic parts of my musical being.
LJ : Combining written composition and improvisation?
JB: It seeks to meet in the middle of two ways of feeling, thinking, interpreting and maybe even living music. I believe that it needs these interesections where artists leave their familiar territory for new things to be born. My main goal was to intermingle written music with improvisation in a way that you can never quite tell if it is one or the other.
LJ : And how have you achieved this?
JB: Large compositional structures instead of common song forms while not losing a certain drive and flow which is so essential for a good jazz experience.
LJ : Who else has been involved?
JB: The project was realized with the support of one of Austria’s finest jazz musicans, guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel. He has also provided a home for my music at his label Material Records – and has also played the guitar parts on the album.
LJ : How were the recordings?
JB: When we met in the studio for the first time, it was one of these rare magic moments when the chemistry between people was completely right. It was obvious from the beginning that on each instrument is the perfect match for the music to be recorded and everbody gave it their total commitment. Before assembling the group, I had put quite a bit of thought into whom I was going to ask, but you can´t ever take it for granted that it will really happen this way in the end.
LJ : And the instrumentation?
JB: There’s no rhythm section, which allowed me to be very inventive with distributing traditional functions (like timekeeping, bass lines or harmonic support) in unconventional ways through the ensemble. It also allows for a more intimate music making and interaction of the players.
LondonJazz : And with players like Klaus Gesing and Gwilym Simcock, you have really good people!
Johannes Berauer: Yes, what makes this project also special is the constellation of musicians. They are all fantastic individual players. And they all have an approach or background of both classical music and jazz in one way or the other. I feel very blessed that this concert happens in London, and that musicians like Gwilym Simcock will perform my compositions!