photo © Frank Dietsche
Unconstrained by standard tonal and rhythmic paradigms, the duo of master musicians Robyn Schulkowsky and Joey Baron continue to explore the precise, noisy, and beautiful.
The duo’s past 15 years have included the release of the cd “Dinosaur Dances”, a residency at Grand Central Station NYC, ongoing work with data expert Dr. Nilam Ram and studiolab “Playing The Archives”, close work with composer Christian Wolff, along with performances and workshops in South America , the U.S., Europe, and China.
Their latest duo cd “NOW YOU HEAR ME” is on the Swiss label INTAKT. Composer Christian Wolff has written a concerto for the duo + orchestra to be premiered in Glasgow, Scotland in spring 2019.
Joey Baron, born in Richmond, Virginia, started playing at age 9. Encouragement from his elementary school music teacher led to private studies with local musicians. Joey’s first musical experiences were playing along with his stereo record player in the park. By the time he was twelve, Baron was also working with local bands on weekends.
After a very brief period at berklee school of music in Boston he moved to Los Angeles, California to work with his idol Carmen McRae. During this period, Joey also worked regularly with Chet Baker, Blue Mitchell, Leroy Vinnegar, Andy Simpkins, Eugene Wright, Hampton Hawes, Lenny Breau, Lou Rawls, and Al Jarreau.
Relocating to nyc in 1983, he quickly established himself as a vital contributor to New York’s creative music scene. Barons talents during this period were welcomed by such diverse musicians / artists as: John Zorn’s Naked City, Toots Thielemans, Red Rodney- Ira Sullivan, David Bowie, Jay McShann, Big Joe Turner, Al Hirt, Laurie Anderson, Pat Martino, Dr John, Allen Ginsburg and Lou Reed.
Over the years, he has developed a unique approach to making music with the drum set, evident in his extended tenures with jazz icons Jim Hall, Steve Kuhn, and John Abercrombie. His long-term collaboration with Bill Frisell was recently documented and released on relative pitch records (“JUST LISTEN”).
Presently, Mr. Baron is actively touring with the Jakob Bro trio (Thomas Morgan-bass) and the duo project with percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky. Their latest work is documented on Intakt records “Now You Hear Me”.
Ongoing projects include solo concerts, workshops, Sound Prints with Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas, as well as various festival concerts with John Zorn.
Robyn Schulkowsky has dedicated herself, her time, and her energies to revealing the wonders of percussion to people around the world. Her continuous exploration of sound potential and new sound dimensions leads her in creating and developing new and unusual instruments. The “marimbon” was featured as a live Sonic Sculpture for Grand Central Station in NYC. She recently created a “foley” instrument with the visual artist Doris Dziersk, and is currently working with Ingo Froelich on a permanent sonic installation for a public school in Berlin.
Robyn moved to Germany during the heyday of experimental and adventurous artistic exchanges, and stayed for the inspiring dialogue going on then between composition and performance. She has premiered/recorded some of the most important solo percussion works of the 20th and 21st centuries, working with composers Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, Morton Feldman, presenting their works on tours through Africa, India, Asia, Australia, South and North America and Mexico. She premiered Sofia Gubaidulina “Glorious Percussion” with Gustavo Dudamel. Concerto performances with works by John Cage, Georg Friedrich Haas, Helmuth Lachenmann, and Olga Neuwirth, have been presented at festivals, like Muskiest Berlin, Holland Festival, BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival to name a few.
Her adventurous nature connects her with exceptional duo partners in diverse and alternative performance spaces—collaborating with legendary African Drummer Kofi Ghanaba, visual artist Guenther Uecker, film makers Herbert Achternbusch and Manon de Boer, author Roland Schimmelpfennig, drummer Joey Baron, choreographers Merce Cunningham and Sasha Waltz, or data scientist Nilam Ram.
She composed site-specific works for the Mexico City metro, the Bundesgarteschau (DE) , SpreePark, Berlin, Grand Central Station, NYC, and train stations, ships and bus stops all over Europe and the Americas.
Since 1998. As founder of RhythmLab, she has taken percussion workshops to countless cities, involving students, professionals and aficionados alike in rhythm workshops and concerts of original music for percussion. Conceived for children, often conducted specifically for adults or teens, the experience focuses on the immediacy of sonic discovery and tactile intensity of music – in rhythm, sound and movement.
Schulkowsky’s virtuosity has been captured numerous recordings, including productions with trumpeters Nils Petter Molvaer and Reinhold Friedrich, drummer Joey Baron (Now You Hear Me—INTAKT), electronic duo Gebrueder Teichmann (Time Bends, 2022) and seminal recordings of music by Morton Feldman (Crippled Symmetry, 1994) and Christian Wolff, with whom she has collaborated for over 30 years (Percussionist Songs, 8 Duos, 10 Exercises).
Since the early 80’s, Robyn has been composing for film and theater, with a special focus on Euripides and the poet Psappho. Most of these compositions feature drums and other instruments of percussion as solo instruments, often in combination with voice.
her large-scale percussion composition “Armadillo” is available in a version for percussion trio on New World Records. Her chamber opera, “das Kind der Seehundfrau” will have yet another showing in Saarbruecken (DE) in the spring.