Marc Muellbauer

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Marc Muellbauer

I was born in London, England in 1968, but moved to Germany with my family when I was 3 years old. Initially coming to music as a fan of hard rock, I started out as a self-taught electric bass player after the shock of hearing Jaco Pastorius on the Weather Report album "Night Passage". Not knowing what I had got myself into, I bought a bass, learned 3 chords and formed a band. At age 17, I picked up the double bass because I believed then (wrongly!), that in order to learn to read music fluently, I had to study classical music.

 This mistake changed my direction in life for the next few years. My first experience playing in an orchestra involved Shostakovich's 9th symphony. I had been playing the bass for 1 1/2 years and was simultaneously in awe of the music and painfully aware of how much I had to learn on the instrument. I took a degree course in double bass at the "Folkwang Hochschule Ruhr" in Duisburg and completed my studies with Michael Wolf at the "Universität der Künste" in Berlin in 1996. Some of the most interesting moments that inspire me to write music have happened in rehearsals with symphony- or chamber orchestras, where conductors would rehearse individual sections, and the way the music and the instrumentation were constructed would open up in a way that the best theory class cannot provide.

 While playing in jazz bands throughout my studies, I also had the opportunity to play contemporary music with "Musikfabrik Nordrhein-Westfalen" where I played music by German composer Helmut Lachenmann whose music and personality has left a deep impression. During my time in Duisburg, I took part in workshops with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Maurizio Kagel. Later in Berlin I became a steady member of "United Berlin" an ensemble for contemporary music, with them I premiered a large number of works by young German composers, while also becoming acquainted with the music of Ligeti, Berg, Webern, Schoenberg, I-Sang-Yun and other classic composers of the 20th century avant-garde.

 After moving to Berlin in 1994, I began to get serious about learning to play jazz.

I started an intense woodshedding period, transcribed bass lines and solos passionately, and became an active player on the Berlin jazz scene, parallel to my work in contemporary music. I completed a masters degree in jazz-performance and -composition at the "Universität der Künste" in 2002.

During my first years in Berlin I was focusing very much on becoming a good sideman, but writing had always been a passion for me, and in 2000 I started writing for my 9-piece band "Marc Muellbauer's Kaleidoscope". The debut CD of this band "Quiet" was released in October 2004 to exceptional critical acclaim.

I have been teaching jazz double bass at the "Hochschule für Music Hanns Eisler" since 1998.