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Virtuos Virtuell

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Dir: Thomas Stellmach and Maja Oschmann, 7 mins 20 secs, 2013, Germany

Screened as part of Is it Dance? programme

Oscar Award Winner Thomas Stellmach and artist Maja Oschmann visualised classic music in their artistic film VIRTUOS VIRTUELL.


The overture of the opera THE ALCHYMIST by the early German romanticism composer Louis Spohr (1784-1859) is the basis of the seven and a half minute film, to which the drawer Maja Oschmann and the animation filmmaker Thomas Stellmach shared the directing. They combined their different artistic experiences of storytelling and expressive drawings to music, and developed an emotionally music visualisation.

Hand crafted ink drawings inspired by the composition and accompanying the music, play on the threshold between the figurative and nonfigurative, thus allowing for a wide range of associations to form.

The musical and dramaturgical versatility of the overture induced Stellmach and Oschmann to a story-like interpretation of the composition. They developed a “character” in an environment that through an interplay of careful encounters and dynamic pursuits, of agile lightness but also of confrontation, tell their very own story.

The waves, jumps, fades and surges of the films graphic elements express a variety of emotions such as curiosity, joy, anger or threat and take the listener and viewer on an exciting but equally poetic journey through the music into the abstract associative visual world.

Oschmann and Stellmach were in part stimulated by Kassel’s Louis Spohr Museum that focuses on versatile experiences and activation of all senses. This film provides a reference point for visitors who are deaf as well, allowing them to experience the visual translation of a piece of music.

VIRTUOS VIRTUELL was partly financed by the state film funding, private sponsorship and Thomas Stellmach. The premiere was during the anniversary celebration of “1100 Years of Kassel” in the congress palace in February 18th, 2013. The film music was performed live by the State Orchestra of Kassel.

Thomas Stellmach: Director, Animator
Thomas Stellmach is animation director, producer, author and animator. For his independent productions he received amongst 50 international awards 1997 the Academy award (Oscar) for the stop-motion film Quest. He studied animation with the cartoon artist and professor Paul Driessen at the Kassel Academy of Arts (Kunsthochschule Kassel). In 2000, after completion of his artistic studies, he founded together with two partners the animation studio “Lichthof – Film & Animation” in Kassel and produced until 2008 for TV and advertising. Beginning of 2009 Stellmach left the company to focus his work on artistic animation projects.  


Maja Oschmann: Director, Animator
Maja Oschmann is an artist and animation. She studied at the Kassel School of Art and Design, was awarded the Otto-Braun scholarship, and sold her works at the Artothek Art Collection in Kassel. For many years she has focused her analysis on the relationship between drawing and music. This is reflected in her multidisciplinary projects: at the opening event of the Kassel Music Festival (2005), and with the contemporary composers Diego Jascalevich (2006) and Peter Swinnen (2008). In 2009 she founded a private school of drawing and accepted a teaching post at the Kassel School of Art and Design.




Excerpt from Virtuos Virtuell
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