Ensembles (engl.)

1) Duo Christine Simolka, soprano, and René Wohlhauser, piano and baritone

In addition to their concerts featuring exclusively contemporary music, the duo also specializes in mixed programs featuring a wide repertoire, ranging from the Renaissance through the classic-romantic period, the turn of the century, to contemporary compositions for voice(s) and piano. On the one hand, vocal duos of the Renaissance period can be heard, and on the other, experimental "Musiksprechen", noise compositions and free improvisation. These stylistically differing pieces are shown in relation to each other (for example a vocal duo by Pierre de la Rue from the Renaissance period followed by a contemporary arrangement).
This is intended to inspire a confrontation with and critical reflection on the possibilities, and in fact the role, of contemporary composition for voice and piano beyond the traditional "Klavierlied" (piano-accompanied song). This is achieved in part by pieces which are composed especially for this duo, seeking a new aesthetic
access to this historically somewhat overcharged genre. Occasional excursions into the field of jazz and folk-pop add a light touch to some of the programs, with the piano substituted by a mandolin.

Christine Simolka, soprano
Born in Basel, she completed an eight-year course of vocal training in Basel with Nicole Andrich and Raymond Henn. During this time she also attended numerous courses with Kurt Widmer, Andreas Scholl and Hanno Müller-Brachmann, as well as opera classes at the Music Academy Basel. Further studies with Marianne Schuppe. Regular concert performance. Christine Simolka’s repertoire includes a wide range of musical styles. Besides Lieder of the baroque and classical periods, one of her specialities is Schubert. She has recently begun to devote herself more and more to contemporary music (Holliger, Henze, Wohlhauser). In addition, she improvises in diverse styles (jazz, klezmer, blues, rock, free improvisiation).

René Wohlhauser, piano and baritone
Born in 1954 and raised in Brienz, René Wohlhauser is a very versatile musician with a broad stylistic spectrum, who has created a voluminous compositional oeuvre that includes over 1500 works (a. o. chamber, orchestral and stage works). Long experience as a rock- and jazz musician, improvisor, Lied accompanist, founder and artistic director of the ensemble Polysono have accompanied his main profession as composer of contemporary music. Since finishing his studies at the Music Academy Basel and with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough in Freiburg, he has been teaching composition, music theory and improvisation at the Music Academy Basel. Main lecturer and tutor for composition at the International Darmstädter Ferienkurse. Further piano studies with Stéphane Reymond and vocal studies with Robert Koller. Several international prizes for composition. Numerous international performances and radio broadcasts. Lectures, publications, culture-political commitment.

Repertoire of the Lied Duo
Classical music (Mozart, Beethoven), romantic music (Schubert, Schumann), turn-of-the-century (Mahler), contemporary music (e.g. Berio, Holliger, Henze, Jarrell, Kurtág, Rihm, Scelsi, Widmann, Wohlhauser), as well as jazz, klezmer, blues, rock, oldies (with mandoline instead of piano), free improvisation.

2) Ensemble "Polysono"
According to the projects, the Duo can be extended with other instruments becoming the ensemble "Polysono".

Repertoire of the extended ensemble "Polysono"
Mainly contemporary music, e.g. by Messiaen, Berio and Ferneyhough.

contact: Wohlhauser / Simolka, Schillerstr. 5, 4053 Basel, wohlhauser@freesurf.ch

English translation: Gail Makar

2) Ensemble Polysono

The Ensemble "Polysono" is a variable chamber music ensemble, performing mainly contemporary music, also in combination with other artforms such as literature and painting. Of particular importance is the performance of music for smaller and less common ensembles, exploring their subtle possibilities. The variety in combinations - from solos to duos up to full ensemble - correlates to the structural contrasts and stilistic openness of the programs, which draws its tension from a dialectical dispute between different aesthetic positions.

The programs include world premieres as well as repeat performances of seldom-performed works. Composers of different origins are presented in comparison, showing the different structural aspects of each chosen individual scoring.

Christine Simolka, soprano
Born in Basel, she completed an eight-year course of vocal training in Basel with Nicole Andrich and Raymond Henn. During this time she also attended numerous courses with Kurt Widmer, Andreas Scholl and Hanno Müller-Brachmann, as well as opera classes at the Music Academy Basel. Further studies with Marianne Schuppe and Robert Koller. Regular concert performance. Christine Simolka’s repertoire includes a wide range of musical styles. Besides Lieder of the baroque and classical periods, one of her specialities is Schubert. In addition, she improvises in diverse styles (jazz, klezmer, blues, free improvisiation). She has recently begun to devote herself more and more to contemporary music (e. g. Berio, Holliger, Henze, Rihm, Ferneyhough, Wohlhauser). She is a member of the Lied duo "Christine Simolka, soprano, and René Wohlhauser, piano" and of the ensemble Polysono.

Ursula Seiler Kombaratov, flute
A native of Burgdorf. After graduating as a ceramic painter, she began her musical studies at the "conservatoire de musique" in La Chaux-de-Fonds. She earned her teaching diploma with the comprehensive grade "very good" under Kiyoshi Kasai in Basel.
Master classes in London and Switzerland with Aurèle Nicolet. Further studies with Philippe Racine and Felix Renggli. Conducting classes.
From 2001 until 2006, Ursula Seiler Kombaratov studied composition with René Wohlhauser at the Musik-Akademie Basel. Since 2002, Premieres in Switzerland, Germany and Austria (including "12 Miniaturen für 2 Flöten", "Motive in Bewegung" for flute, violin and violoncello, "Anblicke im Wasser" for flute and clarinet). Live concert recordings by Swiss Radio DRS 2.
She teaches in Basel, and at the youth music schools in Schlieren and Huttwil. In addition to her diverse chamber music activities, she performs regularly with the pianist I-Mei Lu, the clarinetist Igor Kombaratov, and as a member of the Ensemble Polysono.

Igor Kombaratov, clarinet
Born in Nischni Novgorod, Russia. Clarinet lessons from age 9, also at the music school for gifted children in Nischni Novgorod with Prof. Mark Rovner. Début at age 10 as soloist with the Academic Philharmonic Orchestra M. Rostropovich, Nischni Novgorod. Prize winner at various Youth Music Competitions and in the national promotion program "New Names". He began his studies in 2000 at the Musik-Akademie Basel under Prof. François Benda and graduated in 2006 with the comprehensive grade "very good". Currently studying with Ernesto Molinari at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, he has received scholarships from the Regio Basel, the Kiwanis Clubs Basel and the Georg Wagner Foundation. In 2002 he was awarded Second Prize at the International Clarinet Competition in Turin.
He performed in the Russian National Orchestra. Along with activities in various chamber music formations, he performs regularly in concerts with the flutist Ursula Seiler Kombaratov and the clarinetist and pianist Raof Mamedov. He is a member as well as a soloist in various ensembles, including the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Regio Basiliensis and the Ensemble Polysono. He teaches in Germany and in Basel.

Marzena Toczko, Violin
Born in Basel into a family of musicians, she was given her first violin lessons at the age of 6 by Francoise Zöldy, and her first piano lessons at age 14. After completion of secondary school (Matura), she earned a teaching diploma at the Musikakademie Basel under Thomas Füri, followed by a graduate diploma at the "Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst" in Vienna under Edward Zienkowski and Hubert Kroisamer. Master classes with Franco Gulli,Lorand Fenyves, and Jean-Jacques Kantorow, chamber music with teachers such as Walter Levin and Hatto Beyerle in Basel.
Regular orchestral activity, especially in contemporary music, in the basel sinfonietta and the ENSEMBLE MODERN ORCHESTRA in Frankfurt.
Open to various styles in music with a special interest in their intermixture, she took lessons at the Jazzschule Basel in jazz violin and improvisation, realizes her own projects with texts and music in various formations, and has performed as violinist in diverse musicals.
Since 2006 she has a teaching assignment at the Conservatory of Fribourg for violin and string orchestra, and is at present completing a course of further training in culture management.

Markus Stolz, violoncello
Born 1958 in Gelterkinden (Baselland), he studied cello at the Conservatory in Basel with Reine Flachot and barock violoncello at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Hannelore Müller. Further training as a "Musik-Mentaltrainer" with Tatjana Orloff. At present, he combines multifaceted music-pedagogical activities with diverse concert performances. As a soloist, chamber- and orchestra musician, (e.g. Linde Consort and Ensemble Polysono), choir director, "Musik-Mentaltrainer" and bass player in the "Les Asonsörs" band, he covers the whole musical spectrum. His repertoire reflects an interest in little-known works from the barock to the romantic periods and historical performance practice. Through personal contact with composers, he aims to bring the current trends in new music closer to the public. His training in Franklin movement pedagogy provided the inspiration for improvisatory experiments.

René Wohlhauser, piano, baritone
Born in 1954 and raised in Brienz, René Wohlhauser is a very versatile musician with a broad stylistic spectrum, who has created a voluminous compositional oeuvre that includes over 1500 works (a. o. chamber, orchestral and stage works). Long experience as a rock- and jazz musician, improvisor, Lied accompanist, founder and artistic director of the ensemble Polysono have accompanied his main profession as composer of contemporary music. Since finishing his studies at the Music Academy Basel and with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough in Freiburg, he has been teaching composition, music theory and improvisation at the Music Academy Basel. Main lecturer and tutor for composition at the International Darmstädter Ferienkurse. Further piano studies with Stéphane Reymond and vocal studies with Robert Koller. Several international prizes for composition. Numerous international performances and radio broadcasts. Lectures, publications, culture-political commitment.