An inexplicable, irreplaceable, and immortal bond exists between music and nature. Not only does nature conduct its own symphony of sounds, but it serves as a wellspring of inspiration for artists of all kinds. Academy® Award-nominated German composer, pianist, producer, and artist Hauschka—Volker Bertelmann—transmits the power of this bond on his 2019 full-length debut for Sony Classical, A Different Forest. Once again embracing the passion, poise, and power of pure piano, he delivers thirteen compositions that immediately illustrate his virtuosity, vulnerability, and vitality.
“In my life and behavior, there is a very deep connection to nature,” he exclaims. “I wanted to combine that with my experience using the forest as a resource. It’s where I learned to orientate, relax, and had great conversations with my father as a child. A lot of times, the jungle of the city can feel like a forest and you experience the same phenomena. You don’t know where you’re going and you’re looking for orientation. I took all of the noise away and explored my link to nature and ultimately to the purity of the instrument.”
A fascinating journey set the stage for such reflection. Under the name Hauschka, he released a series of albums highlighted by the likes of The prepared piano , Ferndorf , Abandoned City , and, most recently, What If , which earned acclaim from NPR, Mixmag, Uncut, PopMatters, and Q, to name a few. Simultaneously, he established himself as one of the film and television industry’s foremost composers. Teaming with Dustin O’Halloran, his 2016 score for Lion garnered nominations for “Best Original Score” at the 2017 Academy® Awards, Golden Globes®, BAFTA®, and more. Among a prolific slate, he also scored the HBO mini-series Gun Powder, Adrift, The Current War, and Showtime’s EMMY® Award-nominated limited series Showtime limited series Patrick Melrose.
In 2018, he re-approached his instrument from a new perspective. After incorporating strings, electronic elements, and various preparations for years, Volker took a step back and stripped the sound to its very core.
“I decided to find a different approach to the piano,” he affirms. “It was the right time to take those preparations away and see how I could work without all of the little gadgets. I simplified the setting. All of the pieces were written by improvisation first. In a way, it was an homage to my older piano playing as a kid. It’s a completely different record than I would normally release. It’s truly A Different Forest in that respect,” he smiles.