Scordatura Ensemble used to be called Trio Scordatura.
Therefore you can find us under both names, for example on our CD’s. In 2015 our artistic leader Bob Gilmore passed away and after that we decided to become Scordatura Ensemble. We will use that name from now on (or sometimes, when it’s more convenient, just Scordatura).
Scordatura Ensemble is based in Amsterdam. Since its inception in spring 2006, the ensemble has presented exploratory music by a range of contemporary composers and sound artists that looks toward new tuning systems and microtonality as a way of expanding the harmonic vocabulary of music. The basic sound world of female voice, viola and MIDI keyboard is expanded by other sonorities depending on musical context. Their concerts feature “classics” from the worlds of microtonal and spectral music together with new commissions. Sometimes this crosses over into work in multimedia, involving text, video, dance, and light.
Scordatura‘s founder and leader was the musicologist and keyboard player Bob Gilmore, who unfortunately passed away in 2015. Then the original members Alfrun Schmid (voice) and Elisabeth Smalt (viola) invited other musician friends and tuning specialists who are occasionally joining our ensemble. Sometimes we do trio or duo concerts. So there is a lot of flexibility in the repertoire and programming.
Scordatura Ensemble grew initially from a project to perform the works for intoning voice, Adapted Viola and Chromelodeon by the American composer Harry Partch. This music, composed in the early 1930s, involves voice and two instruments – a viola and a harmonium – that were adapted by Partch in order to play music in his elaborate microtonal scale with more than forty unequal divisions of the octave. Scordatura uses an exact copy of Partch’s Adapted Viola authorised by the Harry Partch Foundation. From there we kept building new copies of Partch instruments, for example a Kithara in 2013, a Diamond Marimba in 2017 and most recently the Harmonic Canon I in 2018. The trio has performed at the Sonorities Festival in Belfast, UK Microfest in Surrey, the KlankKleur Festival in Amsterdam, Musica Sacra Maastricht, Roulette in New York, the Logos Foundation in Ghent, the TRANSIT Festival in Leuven, Dag in De Branding in Den Haag, the Ergodos Festival in Dublin, Microfest in Los Angeles and Amsterdam, the BEAM Festival in London and Blurred Edges in Hamburg.
In the past few years the group has premiered new commissions from Christopher Fox, Anne La Berge, Anton Lukoszevieze, Ned McGowan, Scott McLaughlin, Kate Moore, Harald Muenz, Marc Sabat, Lisa Illean, Chris Rainier, Chris Smalt, Miranda Driessen, Anna Mikhailova, Aart Strootman and others. The trio has given several performances with the American composer and filmmaker Phill Niblock, in collaboration with leading contemporary ensembles such as the Crash Ensemble from Ireland, Ensemble Klang from Holland, and Nelly Boyd from Germany. In collaboration with Dublin’s Ergodos, Scordatura has begun an ambitious concert and CD project commissioning a number of young Irish composers to write new works – the first CD from this collaboration, dubh, was released by Ergodos Records in Dublin in July 2010. The trio’s recordings of music by Phill Niblock has been released on a DVD from Mode Records in New York. A portrait disc of music by Christopher Fox was released by Divine Art/Métier in 2011, and an “underground” collaboration with If, Bwana, E (and sometimes why), on Pogus Records, 2012.