Archive Page 4


more Vinterlyd

img_4380On photo: Henrik Hellstenius, Ivar Frounberg and Edvin Østvik discussing the sound set-up.

The weekend og February 7-8 we used the Levinhall at the Academy to work on Victoria Counting II. It was the first possiblility to see how the video workes together with the music and live prosessed sound. We were working on different orders of the music and visuals as well as the narrative content og the video together with the music. How loud should the levels of the  soundscapes be? On Friday 13.2 we worked for the first time with director Jon Tombre. It was very interesting and challenging to see the piece from a dramatic point of view.


vinterlyd 26.9 09

Counting, Memory and Interrogation

Counting, memory and interrogation appear as a single coherent process where the audience surrounds the arena and is surrounded by four video screens. In the arena meanings-supporting events are unfurling – they extends towards the open horizon: the private sphere (in Hellstenius), the Mongolian desert (in Frounberg) and the psychopathic space (in Krunglevicius). We reach out for an extended meaning in relation to the abstraction classical music often represents. The desire is that the idea relates to general human psychological conditions and other universal human issues. We will examine what it is doing, to impact the formation and experience for the audience.

The performance is part of Vinterlydfestivalen and appears as a presentation of parts of the work of Norwegian Academy of Music target area for research and development: musical creation and renewal. The projects presented are all parts of the main subject area; Interactions and new sound possibilities. Interactions are in this context interpreted as the relationship between the public and private, distraction and concentration (in Hellstenius), relationships between memory and myth (in Frounberg) and the boundary between expression of power and assault (in Krunglevicius).

The performance includes three works:

Henrik Hellstenius: Victoria Counting II

Victoria Johnson, electric violin

Edvins Østvik, sound design

Mattias Arvastsson, video

Jon TOMBRE, director

Ivar Frounberg: dal niente

Kari Anne Bjerkestrand, dance,

Ivar Frounberg, laptop

Kjell Tore Innervik, laptop

Alexander Refsum Jensenius, laptop

Kristian Nymoen, laptop

Ignas Krunglevicius: interrogation

Rolf Erik Nystrøm, saxophone

The performance is financed by pilot funds from the Norwegian Academy of music

(text by Frounberg, Hellstenius, Kruglevicius and Johnson)



January 19-23 we had a workshop at the State Academy of music in spatialisation.

We where using the Auditorium which has a 7.1 sound system. Working in a big hall made a huge difference especially to Henrik Hellstenius Victoria Counting II. We had about 2 hours each on each piece and I also got to try out Ivar Frounberg,s granulation patch. Everything worked and the new set up for my midi pedal worked too. The patch has 3 buffers with a lot of

possibilities of playback and use of different filters.


Ivar Frounberg and myself trying out the granulationpatch at the workshop

Alexander R Jensenius did a very interesting demonstration of vbap;  surround panning for sound sources in multi-loudspeakers environments using Vector-Based Amplitude Panning. “In  VBAP the number of loudspeakers can be arbitrary, and they can be positioned in an arbitrary 2-D or 3-D setups.” (from the inventor of vbap Ville Pulkki,s homepage)

Alexander also demostrated rvbap with rewerb and munger1~ realtime multichannel granulator
a.k.a. the swiss-army-knife of realtime granular synthesis (

Edvin Østvik who is doing the live electronics Victoria Counting II is already using vbap and munger1~ . The new possibilities of the placing of the sounds is very promising. It  makes it possible to direct my sounds from the loudspeaker I am the closest to or in between. I do also like the different  possebilities of granulation in munger1~


I was at the opening og Christina Kubisch opening in Mortensrud church February 2 a beautiful chuch a little ouside Oslo. I really liked the way her installation was intergrated in the room and the use of infrared light. kubisch_teezer2


realtime-video and audio

I had my first experience with real-time video/audio improvisation on my stay in Bergen  January 15-17 th.

Being able to have space at BEK Mattias Arvastsson and I worked on Victoria Counting II as well as  real-time improvisation together. I also got to meet Trond Lossius at Bek Jørgen Larsson at Lydgalleriet to discuss a project for the Autumn. More about this later. Fortunately I got to see see the opening of the exibition “Composers in Space” at Lydgalleriet as well as the exibition Looking is Political at Bergen kunsthall the same evening. img_4304

From “Composers in space at Lydgalleriet”, work by: Bjørn Erik Haugen

The electric guitarist and composer Thomas Dahl from Bergen  is also one of the composers in my project. We luckily now founded time to work together, and trying out some sound material in live and guitar rig.img_42971

Thomas Dahl working at BEK.



Last Wednesday 14.1 I had a small workshop with the contemporary music interpretationclass at the State Academy. I made a short introduction about my project, but very soon moved into practical use of 2 different max patches. I let the students improvise with  11 sec delay with a great amout of rewerb. It is the same patch I use for Arne Nordheim Partita für Paul.  The students used a condensator mic so we had to be really careful with feedback. I do not have these problems on the electric violin so I am not used to deal with that challenge. After we worked with a granulationpacth I have used a lot in Fat Battery. In the end I did some basic improvsiation in LIVE which I think the students enjoyed the most.


concerts/workshops Autumn 2008

November 28
Concert Mannheim Signale Festival with Fat Battery.
The last concert this year was in Mannheim at the contemporary festival Signale organized by Dennis Kuhn and Siegfried Kutterer. Fat Battery played as a quartet without percussion, with lot of percussive sounds at Thorolf,s computer.
We played our set together with the two fantastic percussionists from Basel Symphony Orchestra: Szilàrd Buti and Domenico Melchiorre playing Siegfried Kutterer: “Straight Inside” in between our improvisations. Other pieces like Xenakis,s “Psappha” where combined with Vaages Multimorf II played by Thorolf Thuestad and myself.
I was impressed how this concertconcept managed to combine traditional contemporary music (a lot of different percussion pieces where performed by a huge ensemble) improvisation, sound sculpture, performance and videopieces like Corpoel and Psychodrama by Vinko Globokar. The concert where presented in a very professional way. Sound and light was here and at the concert at Basel Theater a month before was on a very high level.
The critics in the newspaper Reinpfals wrote: “The tones on the violin was unconventional they where silent, flutelike or rattling creatively manipulated by the electronics”
October 27
Concert NMH
own works with Peter Tornquist live electronics
This concert was an experiment starting from scratch. Peter and I had not decided a single thing before we went on stage. The whole performance was fully improvised, maybe going on a bit too long.
The new thing was the setup using my Genelec 5.1 from my studio together with the speakers in the Levin hall leaving the center speaker for the violin.
We wanted to achieve a feeling that the sound came from the sound source, a feeling we did not have at the Ultima concert.

Jamomaworkshop, photo: Alexander Refsum Jensenius

October 20
Jamoma workshop at the University of Oslo 3 hour introduction to Jamoma at the UIO fourMs lab.


ongoing projects

p10500642From rehersal on Mulimorf II from Oslo Concerthouse arranged by Norwegian Research Council On photo Thorolf Thuestad and Victoria Johnson. Photo: HC Gilje

I will now try to describe some of the ongoing projects I am working on:

Henrik Hellstenius: Victoria Counting II

This is an ongoing project between Henrik Hellstenius, Victoria Johnson, video artist Mattias Arvaldsson and Edvin Østvik, programming. Premiere performance of Victoria Counting I 6.9 2007 Parkteatret, Oslo. A new version will be performed at Vinterlyd at NMH 26.2 2009.
The Armenian philosopher and mystical Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff once gave a student the exercise to count from 1 to 50 and backwards seven times. This exercise should show the student how difficult it is to concentrate even on something that easy as counting. Continuous streams of thoughts, memories and associations try to take away our concentration. The composer Henrik Hellstenius has provided violinist Victoria Johnson with a piece based on this counting exercise, where also domestic sound from her familylife are mixed in. How do you keep artistic focus and be a mother of a little child at the same time? In the new version of the piece, the material goes beyond the private sphere and into the public and philosophical. The video amplifies, transforms and illustrates the inner and outer disturbances. The audience is placed around the performer, and one of the future ideas we might try out is that distance-sensors on the music stands will control the spatialization of the sound when the violinists moving towards the music stands. The piece includes video, text, 4 channels sound, soundprocessing and objects. We will work with director Jon Tombre towards the concert on Vinterlyd.
Yesterday we had a meeting with video artist Mattias Arvaldsson at NMH, looking at the hall and planning possibilities of combining audio and visuals, and how we will not make an overkill of expression by combining so many different parameters. We will use 4 screens behind the audience projected from the front, and probably parallel screens will show the same visuals.

In statu nascendi

Peter Tornquist laptop/Victoria Johnson electric violin, with Ellen Roed, video
Premiere Performance Ultima 9.10 08
In this project the creative cooperation between performer and the piece “In statu nascendi”, the evolving of the work. The project questions the idea of the closed and finished piece focusing on a cyclic development process where one performance gives the direction of the next. It is not the development of the piece we are a witness to but the performers possession of it. The videopart is to be developed by Ellen Roed in the nearest future and will explore the musical theme further. Both musician and composer are on stage performing together and their roles has been defaced.

Knut Vaage, Multimorf II

Premiere performance Oslo concerthouse 23.9 08 arranged by Norwegian Research Council
Victoria Johnson el-violin, Thorolf Thuestad, live electronics, HC Gilje, video.
Knut Vaage, video artist HC Gilje, sound designer Thorolf Thuestad and violinist Victoria Johnson uses this morphing and crossfade techniques to change one musical and visual cell to another, letting
the performers having much freedom. The composer’s role is like a director or a source of musical inspiration. The piece does not have musical time but navigates freely through the soundscape. I played this piece in the concerthouse with video and at NMH and in Theatre in Basel on the two Fat Battery concerts without video. I will play it again at the Fat Battery concert in Mannheim on November 24.

I will come back to updates on the concerts this Autumn soon.


one year past

I have used this year to clarify the content of my project in different ways. It has been done by the development and collaboration with the composers and video artists as well as using the concerts as an arena of evaluation of the project. The exploring of the sonic potential of the electric violin when it is combined with electronics has been the main topic. The concerts have been both of formal and experimental character. I have used the concerts with Fat Battery to experiment and fulfill ideas that need to be explored in my project. The solo performances have been of a more formal character.
I have realized that use of extended playing-techniques works very well when it is manipulated through the computer. This work is documented in several presentations and concerts.image452

I have also worked on extending the instrument with the use of the real-time interactive sound processing soundprogammes Max/Msp and Ableton live. This work has made it possible to perform and improvise more freely with the computer than before. Apart from the sensorbow my  research has during this year also been to get further knowledge about other possible controllers usable for a violinist. Together with Alexander R Jensenius (New interfaces for musical expression) I will continue this reserarch.This work has also included midi to control different parameters in the live electronics. It has been very stabile and to most extent flexible.

Photo:Fat Battery summershool at USF,Bergen July 14-17 on photo Knut Vaage and Victoria Johnson

In this processes it has been clearer what my research questions is, and what II will have to fullfill artisticly to come to a conclusion in 2010. I would formulate some of the question which has emerged during this year as follows: What kind of new soundscape will emerge when electric violin is combined with interactive sound -programs? What is a digital space compared to a natural space? What happens with the musical score when it transforms from a linear to a modular one? What happens with the musical time and space? How has my role as the performer changed in the process of working with the composers when improvisation is involved in the new repertoire for electric violin? What is the language of improvisation of this new soundscape?
How does it work when visual art (video) is used as a starting-point for improvisation?
Does music and video have a common language?
Where can this art-form be performed in a concert-hall/ as a concert-installation/ in an Art galley?
How do I work with spatialization of the sound and how can I control this in my own improvisations?
What kind of controllers is stage worthy for a violinist?



Just arrived from this years ICMC staying for just a couple of days.
The most important thing was the poster-demo of the brand new sensorbow made by Hans Wilmers at Notam and Knut Güettler at NMH and myself.
We presented two different bows with with accelerometers in three directions and gyroscopes. One of the bows have an  AAA battery and pressure sensor, and  the other one with a smaller and lighter rechargeable battery and a pressure-button.
My role in this was to control the maxpatches and demonstrate how the different parameters could be controlled by a violinist.
A big challenge is the connection with the bow and the computer through blue-tooth.
When using the extern bluetooth-dongle too many mobile-phones and other bows turned up, and our two bows were not recognized.
It helped to use the build-in bluetooth.
Another challenge is the bow looses contact to the computer, and all processes stops.
We are not totally sure about the reason for this, but a theory would be  some problems with the serial port.

The day before I had the pleasure to be in BEAMfondation,s Keith MacMillan,s demo of his brand new stringport and his K-bow. I saw a demo of the K-bow at this years NIME too, and I am convinced that he has come up with many good solutions on some of the challenges with the sensorbow.
The bow is very ligt because weight is taken out on a carbon fibre bow, and his pressure-sensor is easy to reach. It seems that he has solved the problems with the very sensitive bluetooth connection. I was trying his bow and it felt confortable despite of the electronics packed in in a small box at the frog.
During my stay in belfast I visited SARC and the fantastic hall covered with loudspeakers.
I saw both works electroacoustic video-works video, sound installations and some concerts.

I had a discussion about my project with Jan Schacher from Zurich University of the Arts.
I mentioned  my attempt to develop new repertoire for electric violin, and he said that ist seamed that the methods of interaction with the computer seamed more important to me.
I think he is right in some sense, I am more into how to fill up the buffers,the variety of sounds and how to navigate through different parameters in my electronics.



September 25th I will play a concert at the Trondheim Chambermusicfestival with pieces in open form by Lene Grenager, Øyvind Torvund and Bjørn Thomas Melhus together with two of my colleges in the research-program Else Olsen S, Michael Duch and Øyvind Storesund.
I was working with some open form pieces in April together with Oslo Chamberorchestra.
I will now l have the possibility to explore this kind of work in a smaller group.
I have thought of how much similarity it s between an open form score, and a score you often find when you work with live electronics, although many important pieces in open form goes back to the 1960,s.
Also the hyper-flutist Cléo Palacio-Quintin mentions this in her NIME-paper from 2008:
“In an improvisational context, the interactive computer environment is designed to maximize flexibility in performance. The environment must give the opportunity to generate, layer and route musical material within a flexible structure, like an open form composition”
Out of my own experience so far the live electronic pieces that have worked best is the one written in an open structure. There is no timeline in MAX5, and I guess one must find other solutions for some linear pieces from the past.

September 2022