Muthspiel & Muthspiel
Wolfgang Muthspiel - guitars, violin, live-electronics
Christian Muthspiel - trombone, piano, live-electronics
The first concert of the brothers Wolfgang (b. 1965) and Christian (b.1963) Muthspiel took place in an old barn in upper Austria in 1982 under the name of DUO DUE. At that time Wolfgang was 17 and Christian 19 years old and both had a musical past to build on, coming from a family where music was the number one topic: Their father being a choral conductor, their mother a singer in that quire, all kids (there are two more) played instruments and won various competitions and were headed for careers as classical performers. (Christian starting with piano and including the trombone at age 11, Wolfgang changing from violin to guitar at age 14).
So that first concert was played and what followed were some years of intense experimentation in order to bring an original new perspective to the unusual combination of their instruments. After some more concerts the two gained first national exposure at a performance at "Hollabrunn Jazz Festival" in 1987 and the recording of their first album "Schneetanz". Both events were received enthusiastically in Austria which enabled them to play more than 40 concerts in Europe as well as performances in Egypt, Boston and New York.
Wolfgang moved to Boston in 1986 to study at New England Conservatory and later at Berklee College of Music. This ment a change from their previous continuity to a more concentrated project oriented work mode, while both musicians also presented projects of their own.
In 1987 the brothers recorded their second album "focus it" for PolyGram records, followed by the live recording "Duo Due Tre" in 1989. In the meantime Wolfgang was invited to fill the guitar chair in the quintet of Gary Burton, left vacant since the departure of Pat Metheny 12 years earlier. With Burton Wolfgang was featured in concerts all over the world and on recordings for the GRP and Antilles labels. In 1989 his debut album "Timezones" was released on PolyGram, which layed the foundation for an internationally acclaimed career as a jazz guitarist. He recorded "The Promose", "Black And Blue", "In And Out", "Loaded Like New" and "Perspective" for PolyGram between 1990 and 1997, working with such notable jazz musicians as Tom Harrell, Don Alias, Paul Motian, Peter Erskine, John Pattitucci and Marc Johnson, to name a few. He also composes for various ensembles apart from his own (some of his works are published by Doblinger, Vienna) and has become a ubiquitous sideman with Maria Joao, Dieter Ilg, Trilok Gurtu, Paul Motian and others. His band has performed at the most prestigious Jazzfestivals and his solo concerts at the Vienna State Opera, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and Town Hall, New York have generated brilliant reviews. In 1997 Wolfgang was awarded the "Hans Koller Prize" in the category "musician of the year".
While Wolfgang was performing in Festivals from Tokyo to Paris, Christian's path took him into the field of contemporary composition.
After working on some chamber
music pieces , he was
commisioned to compose for various ensembles, orchestras, theaters and Festivals for New Music. The objective in most of his works was a true coexistence of improvised and composed music. His first opera "Genesis: Zeiten/Plaetze " at "Landestheater Innsbruck", with him conducting. In the same year his violin concerto was premiered by Benjamin Schmid and the "Mozarteumorchester Salzburg" at the prestigous "Festspielhaus". By now Christian has composed a large number of works including a piano concerto, works for voice and large ensemble, various chamber music pieces and multi-media projects with orchestra, jazz soloists, singers and actors. He founded his own jazz ensemble "Octet Ost", made up of musicians from countries of the former eastern block, documented on two CDs. In 95 he became a steady member of the "Vienna Art Orchestra", an internationally acclaimed Big Band with a dense touring schedule.
In all of those years, however, the Duo of Wolfgang and Christian was productive. They curated and performed a series of concerts at the Festival "Wien Modern", giving the first performanceof the cycle "poetics" by Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, followed by the introduction of their own works on paintings by Cy Twombly. A year later they had their own three day Festival at "Konzerthaus" Vienna, presenting three different aspects of their work ranging from chamber music to a duo performance to a quartet with drummer Paul Motian and Gary Peacock on bass. This quartet went on tour and recorded the CD "Muthspiel-Peacock-Muthspiel-Motian" for PolyGram records. Another big event was their cooperation with "Klangforum Vienna" at the Bruckner Festival in Linz, Austria and in Moscow. To celebrate their 15 year reunion the Duo toured extensively and recorded their latest CD "CY", based on works of the American sculptor and painter Cy Twombly.
In 99 and 2000 the Muthspiel-brothers toured Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France and the USA intensively with their new program "echoes of techno", reflecting techno, ambient music and drum&bass, using a sophisticated surround sound system and complex electronic devices in addition to their accoustic instruments.
For both brothers, the Duo is an important forum not only in their musical work but also in their relationship.