Caroline Fischer, piano
Hanno Pilz, clarinet
Michael Kaulartz, bassoon
4 How did you meet and decide to play together?
Michael: We’re not only scholarship holders in the same foundation, but also met during studies and played together in different ensembles before we founded this trio.
Caroline: All three of us are scholars of the PE Förderkreis. I met Hanno during our studies at the Academy of Music “Hanns Eisler” Berlin. Michael and I were studying together at the University of Music and Performing Arts Mannheim. We decided to perform together in 2017 and gave a concert in the Philharmonie Berlin.
Hanno: I met Caroline years ago and we played chamber music a few times in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It worked very well, so we decided to form a trio and to play chamber music more often. I was happy to be introduced to Michael through Caroline and it felt like the three of us had been playing together for ages.
4 What prompted you to devote yourselves to chamber music?
Michael: As there is a lot of chamber music happening in the big symphony orchestra, in a smaller ensemble it is a very intimate way to play music together. The collaboration and communication during the performance is unique and especially in a small ensemble every individual has a very important role to present. For me this is a big enrichment besides playing in a symphony orchestra.
Caroline: Each member brings something unique and everyone is necessary all the time. Chamber music involves working together equally, sharing opinions and striving to come together to make something beautiful. It allows space for each musical personality. You bring in your own musical ideas, while at the same time you are also open to the ideas of the other members.
Hanno: I like playing in a small ensemble, where I can be part of a living organism of music and also contribute some of my own personality and individual thoughts. As for me, chamber music is a conversation without words.
4 Do you perform as solos, too?
Michael: Absolutely yes, eventhough the bassoon is less common as a solo instrument, I had possibilities to perform solo concertos with the Baden Baden Philharmonic, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the Heidelberg Symphonic Orchestra (with which I recorded the Haydn Sinfonia Concertante in 2012), the German Philharmonic Orchestra Merck and with the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Mannheim. Besides this, I gave several solo recitals in Denmark, Iceland and Germany.
Caroline: Yes, I have given several piano recitals in major concert halls: Philharmonie Berlin, Carnegie Hall New York, Konzerthaus Berlin, Seoul Arts Center, Musikhalle Hamburg, Gumho Art Hall Seoul, Beijing Forbidden City Concert Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall, Xinghai Concert Hall, Woori Financial Art Hall Seoul, National Theatre Bangkok, Teatro Municipal de Las Condes Chile, Wiener Musikverein, Wiener Konzerthaus. I have played as a soloist with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Korean Chamber Ensemble, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Baden-Baden Philharmonic Orchestra, New Symphony Orchestra Berlin and at the International Steinway Piano Festival, EXPO Hanover and Yeosu, Beethoven-Festival Bangkok, Korean Festival Seoul, Schleswig Holstein-Musikfestival. I gave concerts during the state visits of the former German Federal President Roman Herzog to South Korea and Mongolia and performed in “Bellevue” castle Berlin for former Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Hanno: I also performed solo with orchestras, but for me, it is not as exciting as beeing part of a chamber music formation.
4 Was there any experience or meeting particulary important for your musical development?
Michael: During the musical education I met many famous bassoon players and teachers besides my main professor, Ole Kristian Dahl. My musical route is like a mosaic of many projects in different chamber ensembles. On this path I had many opportunities to play with famous and great musicians, they influenced my musical and performing character building.
If I had to choose a few people, who had a particular influence on me, it would be (besides my main professor) the Norwegian bassoon player Audun Halvorsen as a mentor, the Swedish bassoon player Sebastian Stevensson as a close friend and practice buddy and other instrumentalists like Wolfgang Gaag (horn) or Sebastian Manz (clarinet),
Caroline: I studied with some great professors and tried to pick up the best from everyone. I studied i.a. with Prof. Dan and Prof. Sava. Both were pupils of György Halmos, who studied with Emil von Sauer. He was a student of Franz Liszt. Liszt received piano lessons from Czerny, who in his own youth had been a student of Beethoven and Hummel. Beethoven himself studied with Haydn. I am very proud to have such a musical family tree.
Hanno: I am thankful for many of my professors at the music university and especially at my high school Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in Berlin, who made me curios and kindled my passion for chamber music. I am proud that I was able to gather so many different experiences in chamber music during my studies. I have had many great teachers, who I am honored to have studied with, for example Prof. Karl-Heinz Steffens.
4 How do you decide what repertoire to perform?
Michael: According to the instrumentation and the headline/red thread of the concert.
Caroline: Everyone makes suggestions. We are listening to it, give our comments and decide, which works would fit together in a chamber music recital. Sometimes, also the concert organizers want to have a special piece in the programm. We are also looking for works, which are not played very often in public. Like musical pearls, which need to be discovered.
Hanno: I agree. We are looking for music, which captures our interest. The process of searching is part of our way.
4 Are there styles or composers that you all find especially suitable to your ensemble? Why?
We’re open for almost any style within and besides classical music. An unknown composer or new style is many times an
enrichment to develop and improve as musicians. We’re generally open-minded on this field.
Caroline: For example the Gassenhauer-Trio composed by Beethoven is really suitable for our trio combination. Originally it was written for piano, clarinet and cello. But with bassoon it fits very well. And Beethoven himself was also very open to different instrumental line-ups.
Hanno: In the 18th and beginning 19th century it was very common to perform the same composition on different instruments, e.g. a piece for recorder being played by oboe, bassoon or even trombone. But some music is less suitable for us, such as string quartets or big orchestral works, mostly because there are too many parts. We would loose too much musical content. We prefer to highlight the more intricate and delicate sounds of smaller instrumentations.
4 Are there any new compositions on which you are presently working?
Michael, Caroline, Hanno: We are all the time looking for chamber music works for our trio formation. We have recently worked on compositions by Glinka, Frühling, Juon and we are looking forward to widen our repertoire.
4 Playing together involves discussing, confronting... how do you go about it?
Michael: We have a very open and friendly way to communicate. I don’t remember any confrontation about how we play a certain phrase etc.
We are getting along very well. When we work, rehearse and perform together there’s always a nice atmosphere. We are
really having fun together and also laugh a lot. Also, we have the same taste in music. When we rehearse and play together, we react very quickly to each other. Our interaction works very well.
We really don`t have to discuss a lot.
Hanno: We are all open-minded and that is very helpful for a good working progress. Sometimes we have of course some different opinions, for example how to play a passage, but we always find a good solution. And that’s how chamber music works for us.
4 How often do you rehearse together?
Hanno: We are all busy and live in different cities, so we have to fix dates, when we can meet in Berlin to
rehearse together. Everyone is well prepared for the rehearsals, so we usually meet just a few days before concerts. Sometimes we also extend the days
after concerts, so we have time to talk about future plans, ideas and new programs.
4 In your opinion, what is your strenght in your playing?
Michael: When I play bassoon I aim for a big, but elegant and smooth sound with the possibility to create different colours to express different feelings, create different atmospheres. Due to my enormous experience and splendid education from a young age, I not only gained a great sight-reading, but am also very good in blending with other instruments, to support the group sound.
Caroline: I am very good in sight-reading. My piano playing is spirited, temperamental, but also sensitive, delicate and I have good technique. My interpretations are passionate, but also deeply poetic. I like to use a wide colour palette. For me it is very important to create a bond with my piano playing during a concert between me and the audience. It is a wonderful feeling, if you, as a soloist or as an ensemble, can create such a miraculous magical moment.
Hanno: Interacting with the other parts and giving expression to my own musical thoughts is what I like best and also what I am best at. I am often given credit for extraordinary musical sense in my playing.
4 Do you have any hobby? Do you like reading?
Michael: Besides playing the bassoon I do have other interests like reading, running, playing badminton, drinking coffee, visiting exhibitions or other cultural activities, cooking and eating among others.
Caroline: I like to go swimming, meeting up with friends, travelling. And I definitely like reading. I am an avid reader. Also, I am very interested in languages and at the moment I am attending a Spanish language course. I also like ballroom dancing and Jazz dance.
Hanno: I like to go through other worlds while reading books. I have been active in archery and enjoy teaching a lot - not only music but also the art of archery. One of my passions is good food.
4 What plans do you have for the future? Concerts... recordings....
After being Principal bassoon in the Icelandic Symphony since 2014 I decided to quit the position recently and
continue as a freelancer to have more time for different kinds of projects. This led me to a one year contract as principal bassoon in the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra in season 2018/19 and in
the same position to the opera in Mannheim (Season 2019/20). Living in different places and being part of the respective local scenes, playing with local ensembles, orchestras and meet many
different musicians is very enriching in my development. Besides all playing and also teaching activities with the bassoon I also started to play the baroque bassoon in 2017 and hope to be soon
ready to start playing also in ensembles with only historic instruments on 415 hz.
It’s especially nice for me to have a permanent trio. Playing together with Caroline and Hanno is in some way a musical oases inbetween all other musical activity.
As a trio we are going to perform in several cities in Germany this
year. We are very much looking forward to the concerts. This year I am going to give piano recitals i.a. in Denmark, Brunei, China, The Netherlands, Germany, Chile. I have already released four
albums with works for piano solo (Genuin Classics). It would be great, if we will record a chamber music CD within the next years.
We are also very open-minded to other music genres and we would be glad, if an opportunity would arise to collaborate with musicians and artists from other genres like pop or jazz music.
Hanno: There are so many pieces from different genres we hope to perform soon. Maybe some contemporary pieces – personally I am especially interested in tango. I think, this lively kind of music would be an excellent match for our formation.
Recently I have also started to take my passion for teaching to a new level – passing on my knowledge and musical expertise to High School students is a completely new and exciting challenge for me. I enjoy to have this professional variety.