Marcus Schmickler
Studio Piethopraxis


Kemp Echoes

Composed for a large ensemble, 'Kemp Echoes' centers on the indexing of acoustic sounds proximal to ring modulation, achieved sans electronic instrumentation. This encompasses ring modulations observable within woodwind instruments, notably focusing on multiphonics, in addition to frequency modulations discernible within intricate spectra, such as bells, trills, brass idiophones, and radio waves. Moreover, the piece delves into the perceptual implications of ring modulation, particularly examining the cognitive processing of psychoacoustic phenomena, with a specific emphasis on difference tones.

Politiken der Frequenz

Politken der Frequenz ('Politics of Frequency') draws on concepts from economics and advanced mathematics, including the work of contemporary philosopher Alain Badiou, for a literal sonification of cutting-edge theory and the abstractions of the modern world. It involves clouds of data rendered in the primary colours of electronic synthesis alongside a chorus that chants numbers, argues points and asks 'Is it possible to perceive changes in a society through changes in its music? Is it possible to understand contemporary music through its implicit relationship with money?' The result is like a cross between reading a new manifesto and what Xenakis might have produced had he lived to be angry about the financial crisis. A must for readers of Badiou or Attali, Schmickler and Rohrhuber seem to have tapped into the very life of numbers and liquid cashflow itself.

Glockenbuch IV

Interview“I would like to start our conversation from the index from the index at the origin of the whole project, the Book of  Bells of the City of Cologne. How did you discover it and how did this document stimulate your interest in the sound of bells?”A couple of years ago, my friend Regina Fiorito, told me about the book in one of our conversations. And I love indexical catalogues. When I got offered a commision for a new piece for St. Aposteln, the 2nd biggest church in my hometown, this instantly popped up. Maybe I like indices because this uniform i

E-UROPAS (Plurality of Centers)

Chamber-Opera for five instrumental soloists, political speakers, electronic music, radios, video projections.

In bidding farewell to the 20th century, 'E-UROPAS' embarks on a multifaceted exploration, probing the boundaries of reality and concert, tradition and innovation. Through a fusion of disparate elements, it seeks to disrupt complacency and challenge preconceptions, signaling a departure from the familiar into the uncharted territories of contemporary musical expression.

Glockenbuch III

Omaggio à Roland Kayn (2022)
13.1-channel computermusic based on  resynthesis and physical models from plates. Villa Massimo, Rome.
“In paying tribute to Roland Kayn, Schmickler establishes a cultural link between Cologne and Rome. Kayn, a German organist and composer, specialized in electronic, electro-acoustic, and tape music, which he termed cybernetic music. In 1960, he was awarded a scholarship from the Villa Massimo, leading him to spend subsequent years in Rome and Venice. Four years later, he co-founded the ensemble Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza with Franco Evangelisti, counting Ennio Morricone and Frederic Rzewski among its members.”

Particle/Matter - Wave/EnergyDynamic Systems Simulation: Gravitation models 

How does it sound when galaxy clusters of 30 objects reciprocally influence each other by means of gravitation? We hear the collisions of first two and then three simulated galaxies. Gravitation is one of the forces in the universe with the greatest effect, and it appears to operate differently on Earth than it does on a grand scale between galaxies great distances apart. In April 2009 scientists of the Argelander Institute called Newton's law of gravity into question. 

Glockenbuch II  (Spektren der Welten)

The spectral properties of the seven bells of St. Aposteln in Cologne serve as the foundation for Schmickler's latest series of works. 

Commissioned by Klangraum Krems 

Semiotic Chora

The commissioned site-specific piece for the façade of Cologne's Philharmonie blends abstract computer-generated sounds with synthetic speech fragments typically employed in language acquisition. This marks the initial installment of a multipart composition delving into the intricate interplay between language and sound.

Sky Dice / Mapping the Studio  

For ARP 2500 Synthesizer, Publison DHM89B, Infernal Machine and Computer
11.2 channel audio. Commissioned by  Donaueschinger Tage fur Neue Musik

Sky Dice / Mapping the Studio stages the history of live-electronic musicl production using the example of the SWR Experimentalstudio (EXP). The piece develops a fragmented acoustic map of the facility; here the studio serves as a model for the sonic depiction of historical signal paths.

Fortuna Ribbon

“The latter section’s ‘Fortuna Ribbon’ is where it goes beyond anything we’ve heard before, genuinely causing us to cut the sound multiple times to check that what we’re hearing isn’t some invasive background sound, but some of the very strangest sonic sensation imaginable. Seriously, we could swear there are planes droning overheard and some massive machinery whirring beautifully in the distance, but nein, it’s all in your head and quite honestly the maddest thing to experience.“

(as reviewed on

Revolving Realities

An auto-reactive installation, one that plays with our sense of reality by continually causing us to perceive and experiencea space and an object in new ways. Its surfaces projected with impossible light situations, the object becomes a mirror of changing realities. Ideas are seized upon and returned; the space is transformed into a sound box that enters into a reflexive dialogue with a sculpture.

Nomadischer Rundfunk

Performance for FM Transmitter and Radios on the stairs of the WDR Funkhaus. In May  2021, the WDR Electronic Music Studio closed. Parts of historical apparatuses,  developed by composers like Stockhausen, Koenig, Kagel and Ligeti were fed the trash or sold. Today, the 74th Birthday of long-time head of the studio, we will meet in order to realize the benefits of such an ensemble. You are requested to come in white garments.
Please bring portable FM Radios.

Bonner Durchmusterung
(Bonn Patternization)  Composition based on the sonification of astronomical data.
10.2 channel audio

The analog-digital electronic duo of Marcus Schmickler and Thomas Lehn has been working since December 1998 during the German premiere of the Music In Movement Electronic Orchestra (aka MIMEO) in Cologne. Since then, they have been extensively touring in Europe, the USA and Japan
Mind (?) Reader Marcus Schmickler and Julian Rohrhuber explore the 'Mind (?) Reader', an invention by Claude Shannon,, that helped lay the foundation for machine learning in the midst of the Cold War, and that also had a wide reception in psychoanalysis and media theory by way of Jacques Lacan. Glockenbuch I (1000/2021 Aposteln) (Book of Bells I)Ludwig Van Kraftwerk (eine Kritische Diskothek)

Video-Lecture-Performance based on Mauricio Kagel’s Film “Ludwig Van” by invitation of Akademie der Künste Berlin.
PluramonCollaborative Experimental Pop Project, featuring Julee Cruise, Julia Hummer, Jutta Koether, Hayden Chisholm, Keith Rowe, Kevin Drumm, et al. initially fusing instrumental and electronic music, released on Mille Plateaux and Karaoke Kalk.

Richters Patterns

For Large Ensemble, Computer and Film, premiered at Cologne Philharmonic. Richters Patterns, emerged as a collaboration between painter Gerhard Richter and Ensemble Musikfabrik, Marcus Schmickler and director Corinna Belz.  
The composition 'extends' Gerhard Richter’s experiment of decomposing a reproduction of one of his 'Abstract Images' into vertical stripes around the domain of sound and time.
The music was not composed to an edited film, but instead Schmickler wrote the music in parallel with the film’s creation. Both, film and composition follow Richter’s method ‘divide, mirror repeat’ into the respective media, at times creating friction between images and sound. Thus listeners experience this music as if  looking at a painting.
Could You Patent The Sun?
Brass quartet, computer and remote soloist(s).  "COULD YOU PATENT THE SUN?" is  a
preview of Schmickler's "Entwurf einer Rheinlandschaft",  Four brass players on the roof of the K714 interact with vocal Soloists from a distance, from the opposite side of the Rhine. At the same time the audience can log into one of several complementary web streams and listen to its sound from the Rhine promenade and distribute its sound in the urban space. The libretto is inspired by the famous response by American immunologist Jonas Salk, the maverick discoverer of the polio vaccine in the 1950s to the question of whether he had applied for a patent on his polio vaccine.
- Okkyung Lee, Jenifer Walshe,  Janneke van der Putten Voice, - Brass players of Ensemble Musikfabrik (Christine Chapman (h), Maro Blauuw, Bruce Collings, Melvin Poore
Copula E (Sprachlabor)

Composition based on the topos of voice .  ~52 minutes,
5.1 channel audio.

In addition to the reading of the voice as an aesthetic sound phenomenon or as a vehicle of linguistic meaning, there is another: it is neither language nor body, it forms a different space at their point of contact. The voice is a remnant, an object on which thought is trained. On this basis, COPULA E attempts to take considerations on the (keno)grammar and metaphysics of confusion, on the politics of the voice and on phonology literally and translate them back into sound. The source material are artificial voices on the one hand and formalisms of programming languages on the other.
TextsMein Kopf verlor ein Dach (Marc Ushmi meets Reverend Galloway on Ernst Busch)
“Galloway and Schmickler transform Busch/Brecht/Eisler's sense of mission into a sound of longing and confusion that is entirely appropriate for our times. And perhaps these kinds of deep house reverends are the only preachers who can still be believed. If what the GDR once called its humanist heritage is to be found anywhere, it is here.” 

Jungle World


Glockenbuch IV (Spectre Maria dei Carmini)

Glockenbuch IV  is an immersive composition featuring original recordings and immaginary bell-towers originating from Venice, composed  for La Biennale di Venezia. This opus showcases original methods in analysis/resynthesis, statistical calculations of bell sounds, affording listeners an immersive auditory experience characterized by nuanced movement and doppler perception. Moreover, the incorporation of light into the performance establishes an evocative and conceptual synergy between technological elements and contemporary musical composition. The premiere of this work unfolded within the ambit of a 40-channel 3-D audio system."

Schreber Songs (Don’t Wake Daddy)

Monodrama  with scenic elements based on the life of Daniel Paul Schreber, a German judge who was famous for his personal account of his own experience with schizophrenia and Freud’s account of paranoia
The Great Wayfinders (Höhlenmusik I-IV)
The Great Wayfinders Höhlenmusik is a multi-part music and multimedia project, both a concert and an AV installation in a museum exhibition space.
The piece deals with music of a digital Stone Age (music as a resonance space of digital paleontology). Tim Berresheim's work serves as a backdrop and stage set that introduces and visually accompanies the thematic contexts of the piece.

Entwurf einer Rheinlandschaft (Draft of a Rhinelandscape)

Long-distance landscape performance, with  long-range sound projection. For narrator, 5 solo singers, theatre-choir, singing choir, 2 conches, brass octet, percussion, electronic music, accordion orchestra, 2 boats, amateur musicians, fireworks. Dramatizing the concept of space, border, distance, proximity and distance, social distance, geographical distance, distance between cause and effect, as well as the state of liminality, in-betweenness.

90 min,
Commisioned by Monheim Triennale

Rave in the Style of G.M. Koenig

Solo exhibition at JUBG Gallery in Coloigne based on Realtime Autoencoders trained on Schmickler’s own music.
Music In Movement Electronic Orchestra

MIMEO used to be an ensemble of 12 Musicians  distributed all over Europe.