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Online Musical Collaborations 3.4


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Mathias Claus is a composer, pianist and music producer who is from Germany. He grew up musically working as a live jazz pianist with a propensity towards utilization of electronic instruments such as digital modules, synthesizers, samplers and keyboards. After studies at the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA he graduated as a jazz pianist from Musikhochschule Hamburg, Germany. His studies also included training in classical piano techniques and music theory.

Mathias Claus has developed his own computer-based online studio and focuses on collaborative recordings with other musicians of the online jazz scene worldwide; he is one of the acknowledged leaders of this movement.

Claus always creates new frontiers in music with his extensive variety of styles that are able to cover almost any genre.


All About Jazz: You have been involved in several noteworthy long-distant musical collaborations using your computer-based studio and the Internet for several years now. How did the idea for all of this initially come about and evolve?

Mathias Claus: I first started my own computer-based studio and private music recording production business in 1999. This was after graduating from the Musikhochschule located in Hamburg, Germany, as well as, the jazz studies with Ray Santisi at the Berklee College of Music at Boston in the USA.

During this same time frame, the evolution and technological developments at certain online music distribution website platforms began to occur as well. These sites allowed an unprecedented level of access to numerous industry-type of resources for any independent recording artists who were willing to use the technology. So, using the Internet for the primary of music distribution, literally transported my original music to the whole world.

AAJ: I see, the Internet allowed you to introduce your original music to a worldwide audience, including other artists. Is this how the collaborations idea came about?

MC: Yes, because at this point, the Internet in general had become a new and important resource pool to establish worldwide contacts with other professional musicians.

It was a matter of logical progression to establish a dialogue among the pool of international musician contacts I was making. The technical means had become available to realize and transport our dialogue into musical performance conversations online.

It was also at this point that the idea of doing actual Internet collaboration recordings and making CDs of the sessions started to seem feasible to me. I upgraded some components of my studio, and then started recording some of the collaborations in 2000.

AAJ: The Internet allows you to basically create your own "dream bands" and work with many musicians regardless of their geographical location. What are some of the differences and advantages of recording in this manner?

MC: Well, there are no real differences between conducting a local face-to-face studio recording session, and collaboration recordings using a digital data exchange of the music across the oceans. The online collaborations have all musicians recording in different places on earth, that's the primary difference.

The biggest advantages to me would include the possibilities of immediate access to the best musicians worldwide, while not having local studio costs to contend with. These factors were a real kick and inspiration for me that made a big difference toward remaining motivated. So, I initiated this type of transatlantic music production, met some really great musicians using this type of online studio collaboration, and have produced some recordings of quality.

Online Collaborations Go On Tour

Among the numerous musicians that Mathias Claus has recorded with through these types of collaborations is Peggy Morris, of the Ohio USA-based group, Morris Code. Peggy and the group will be featured with Mathias during live performances in Germany. Morris Code was established by husband and wife music team Peggy and Bob Morris. The group is known in the Cleveland-area for its unique blend of jazz and pop that is popular among contemporary jazz listeners. ( Also see: MorrisCode.com )

Mathias Claus has obtained corporate sponsorship for a live jazz event in Germany from Boehringer Ingelheim, a well-known pharmaceutical company based in Ingelheim, Germany that also has significant affiliates in the USA. He was introduced to this opportunity through his associations with the Big Band that is also sponsored by this company. Mathias is a regular featured guest artist with this group.

The company—Boehringer Ingelheim—maintains generous budgets for cultural events in jazz and other genres, their own big band, and numerous other cultural projects are a part of their philosophy of supporting the arts.

Mathias Claus initially approached Hans Joachim Becker, the conductor of the Boehringer Ingelheim Big Band, with the idea for establishing a German/American series of cross-cultural events. Since this type of concept was within the profile of company concerns as well, Boehringer Ingelheim offered to sponsor the event.

2003 Collaboration Band Live Tour Performance

These live events will be held once each year and bring together musicians from different continents to perform live concerts in Germany. Mathias has chosen to work with Peggy Morris, who has been one of his favorite online collaboration partners. Boehringer Ingelheim will also sponsor Bob Morris to perform on bass with the European tour band line up. Thus, the group can easily play some of the existing Morris Code repertoire as well.

The transition from online collaborators to live performing band mates will also involve the use of technology. The concerts are completely prepared online by virtual rehearsals and online teamwork composing.

The event will include a pretty nice tour plan within the borders of Germany. The itinerary being booked is in the form of a condensed tour and will cover 1-2 weeks of performing concerts at various cities

Writer's Note: So, as you can see based upon the first parts of this musing, the "online music revolution" is still here. It may look a bit different in application than many predicted, or even anticipated, it could, but it is here nonetheless. The biggest positive factor is that the Internet can obviously work in favor of creative artists—both, online and live.

Part 4—Conclusion

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