Scordatura Ensemble

SCORDATURA ENSEMBLE is based in Amsterdam. Since its original inception as a trio in spring 2006, led by the eminent musicologist Bob Gilmore [1961-2015], the ensemble has presented exploratory music by a range of contemporary composers and sound artists that looks toward new tuning systems and microtonality as a way of expanding the harmonic vocabulary of music. Their concerts feature “classics” from the worlds of microtonal and spectral music together with new commissions.
Scordatura has performed in various guises at a variety of venues including Roulette (New York), the TRANSIT Festival (Leuven), Festival Dag in De Branding (Den Haag), Microfest (Los Angeles), De Doelen: Classical Next (Rotterdam), Blurred Edges Festival für Aktuelle Musik (Hamburg) and November Music (Den Bosch). In the past few years the group has also premiered new commissions from Christopher Fox, Anne La Berge, Anton Lukoszevieze, Kate Moore, Harald Muenz, Phill Niblock, Marc Sabat, and others.

- Elisabeth Smalt (Adapted Viola, Diamond Marimba, Cloud Chamber Bowls, recorder, flexatone)
- Alfrun Schmid (voice, Diamond Marimba, Cloud Chamber Bowls)
- Chris Rainier (voice, Adapted Guitars I, II and III)
- Reinier van Houdt (Chromolodeon/keyboard, Cloud Chamber Bowls,
- Adapted Guitar III)
- Lucia Mense (flutes, recorders)
- Samuel Vriezen (Kithara)
- Lucas van Helsdingen (bass clarinet, frame drum, tin oboe)

SCORDATURA is an Italian word that means ‘mistuning’. (We keep hoping someone will suggest a more positive-sounding alternative.) In music it has come to refer to the practice of tuning the open strings of a string instrument to pitches other than the conventional ones. This is occasionally done in classical repertory, and is a practice frequently encountered in folk traditions around the world. In our case we use the word both literally and metaphorically – literally, because several pieces in our repertoire call for various instruments to be tuned differently than normal, and metaphorically, because almost all the music we play uses intervals other than those found in twelve-note equal temperament. Needless to say, we don’t think of this as ‘mistuning’ – rather, the music we play comes from a long-standing interest on the part of composers and performers in alternative tunings.