Markus Reuter Interview, Part I

Markus Reuter. One thing can be said, the guy has been busy in 2012. Here a fraction of the work he has done this past year: Markus has played more than 70 concerts. These include performances with centrozoon, Stick Men and The Crimson ProjeKct which was opening for Dream Theater on a massive North American tour.

In June, the Touch Guitar Circle held a one week seminar in Austria, with Trey Gunn and Markus teaching. Markus also guested at the Three Of A Perfect Pair camp hosted by Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto in Big Indian, NY, USA.

2012 was also another good year for new Reuter releases and productions. The list is includes musicians and groups such as the Quartet for the End of Time, Adrian Benavides, centrozoon, Stick Men, Lee Fletcher and Stephen Parsick, ZweiTon, SchnAAK, Namgar (to be released in 2013). Let’s not forget his stellar performance and production on our own Specimen13 Echosystem EP. In addition to that, 2012 saw the launch of “Older Than God”, Lee Fletcher’s documentary feature film about Markus’ work and his network of friends and collaborators, as an ongoing series of episodes.

And now, the future holds many exciting projects, the most prominent of which is the orchestral performance of “Todmorden 513” by noted conductor Thomas Blomster in Denver, CA on April 18.

So let’s talk about Todmorden 513 first.


What was the creative process behind Todmorden 513? It has been described as a sequence of 513 harmonies and triads generated and combined using an algorithmic technique of your own design. Was the piece a result of the creation of the algorithm or was it an added tool to structure your ideas?

MARKUS REUTER – I really can’t go into detail here as that would fill up pages, but I have had a vision for a new sound and started very early to explore ways how to create it. It took me about 20 years to figure out this new musical system, and Todmorden 513 is the first full-blown result of this technique. I consider it only a beginning and new compositions are already underway. However, I am very lucky since TM513 will receive its world-premiere orchestral performance on April 18 2013.

What were your main challenges when composing this way?

MR – The main challenge was not to loose the overview. The sheer length and number of parts made it difficult to navigate mentally as well as practically. Fortunately I had the help of my assistant Tobias Reber, and together we managed this huge chunk of “data”.

Todmorden 513 is now about to be performed by the Colorado Chamber Orchestra. Were you tempted to make modifications to the piece by the time the transcription for orchestra was engaged?

MR – Yes and no. We did transcribe the electronic treatments of the original into playing instructions for the orchestra, but during the reading rehearsal it turned out they are not needed since the orchestra already sounds so rich, so we simplified things.

It is to be expected that certain critics will judge the piece with a bias relating to the compositional process. How would you react to criticsm of the oft-repeated “coldness of computer generated music”? Do you think we’re past that cliché?

MR – I don’t think we’re past that cliché, because there’s a lot of bad music out there, no matter which genre/style. I do expect a person who criticizes to have actually properly listened. If that’s the case and there’s a bad review, so be it. The problem is that some review purely based on prejudice.


NEXT: Part II of Markus Reuter’s interview where we’ll talk about STICK MEN.

You can also help Markus realize the recording and documentary of the Todmorden 513 orchestral performance by going to his PledgeMusic drive. This project needs your support.