The Orchestra of Excited Strings

THE ORCHESTRA OF EXCITED STRINGS was founded by composer Arnold Dreyblatt in New York City in 1979 and has been based in Berlin since 1984. "Animal Magnetism", their latest CD, has been produced by John Zorn for his Zadik label in New York. The ensemble has performed throughout East and West Europe as well as in the States at numerous festivals, museums, galleries and other music venues.

ARNOLD DREYBLATT has developed a unique and original approach to composition and performance. He has invented a set of new and original instruments, performance techniques, and a system of tuning. Working closely with his ensemble, THE ORCHESTRA OF EXCITED STRINGS; and in various other musical and theatrical projects; he creates a music with exciting rhythms and rich textures - an exploration of the potential inherent in the natural overtone series.
ARNOLD DREYBLATT'S compositions involve a re-thinking of sound making tools. Modified and newly created acoustic instruments are utilized for specific timbral effect and perform in an unusual tuning system. Traditional and non-traditional percussion instruments accentuate the rhythmic character of the music.

Current Musicians:
Silvia Ocougne (Brazil-BRD) - Guitar
Jason Kahn (USA-BRD) - Cimbalom
Rob Gutowski (USA-BRD) - Trombone, Electric Fretless Bass
Pierre Berthet (Belgium) - Percussion, Conductor
Werner Durand (BRD) - Saxophones
Dirk Lebahn (BRD) - Excited String Bass, Hurdy Gurdy

"Animal Magnetism", Zaddik, New York, (TZ7004 CD), 1995
"A Haymish Groove", (2 Compostions with Andy Statman) Extra Platte, Vienna (EX-316 155 CD), 1992.
"Propellers in Love" and "High Life", Hat Art Records, Basel, (CD 6011) 1986
"Propellers in Love", LP, Special Issue, KŸnstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 1985.
"Nodal Excitation" (IN 3024), LP, India Navigation Records, New York, 1982

The musicians of "The Orchestra of Excited Strings" come from vastly varied musical backgrounds and interests. In common is a sensitivity for an approach to music making, sonority and hearing which Dreyblatt has been developing together with musicians over the last fifteen years. All the members of the ensemble contribute to this music with their own ideas and performance techniques, gradually forming an individual musical role within the ensemble dynamic. Just as this music essentially exists only in performance, so the combined acoustic effect results from a sum which is greater than its parts.

The Instruments and tuning: The "cimbalom" is a rebuilt and restrung pre-war chinese children's piano which is played here horizontally with hand held hammers. The electric guitar has built-in magnetic driver-sustainers for each string and new frets have been installed in a just intonation. The "Basque string drum" is a acoustic guitar outfitted with snares and which is played percussively with sticks. It is functionally a copy of a traditional Basque instrument. The bass violin is adapted with unwound steel wire (the "excited strings") and is beaten with a bass bow. These instruments, along with the traditional string and wind instruments, perform in the just intoned microtonal scale derived from the overtone series with which he has composed since the late seventies.