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col legno | Portrait #2022

The Vienna and Innsbruck-based label col legno is one of the last bastions of contemporary music, and can by now look back on almost 40 years of music history and more than 500 releases, including many benchmark recordings of the great composers of the twentieth century, such as Berio, Cage, Cerha, Crumb, Feldman, Hosokawa, Kurtág, Lachenmann, Ligeti, Maderna, Nono, Pärt, Rihm, Scelsi, Sciarrino, Ustvolskaya, Varèse, Xenakis and B.A. Zimmermann.

Its exclusive focus on serious contemporary music of the twentieth century - coupled with the CD as a recording medium - led to economic difficulties at the start of the first decade of the 21st century, as a result of which well-funded music lovers took on the label, eventually bringing on board composer and musician Andreas Schett as artistic director in 2006. He has stayed with col legno since then and is responsible for both the creative and programmatic reorientation of the label.

With this newly-won artistic freedom, and the associated, ongoing widening of its range of content, col legno has enjoyed a successful new start. Today col legno is interested in particular in any music which cannot be immediately placed and meanders playfully between genres – without losing sight of the contemporary in the widest sense. After all, col legno means “with the wood.”   

Every string player knows what they have to do when they see this playing instruction in their notes. Take the bow, turn it over and strike the wood on the strings. Once unheard of and still surprising today, it expanded, and expands, sound diversity with a playful openness.

Andreas Schett, owner and managing director of col legno, has dedicated himself to this musical openness and diversity with all his passion since 2015. In this project, he was accompanied by music manager Robert Chr. Schulz from 2015 to 2021. Now he is supported by Marco Russo, who's active since years in the fields of culture and art.

Preliminary highlights of the label work are Wolfgang Mitterer's Beethoven tour de force "Nine in One", Ketan Batthi's collaboration with the Ensemble Adapter, which is somewhere between techno and avant-garde, Paul Frick's cooperation album "Hofknicks", the masterpieces of early electro-acoustic compositions by the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology " Les Espaces Électroacoustiques I+II", the releases with Scenatet, namely Christian Winther Christensen's "Almost in G" and Juliana Hodkinson's "Angel View", finally the new interpretations of romantic songs from Schubert to Mahler by the Musicbanda Franui, their trumpeter and mastermind Andreas Schett is.
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