The Zither across Genres: Harald Oberlechner (A), Martin Mallun (A) a Michal Müller (CZ), Njorek (CZ)
03. 10. 2010 07:30
The Zither across Genres
The zither is a string instrument with a flat body, played by strumming the strings. It is played while seated at a table, on which the instrument lies. Similar string instruments to the zither can be found all over the world and they have their own original name and shape in each country. Today's concert zither developed from a folk instrument in the first half of the 19th century in Austria and Bavaria. At the turn of the 19th century, the zither was a popular instrument also in what's now the Czech Republic and Slovakia. After the founding of independent Czechoslovakia, the "Austro-Hungarian" zither became undesirable and following the expulsion of Germans from the Sudetenland, the "German" zither was completely wiped out. The renaissance of the zither and its integration in modern music developments is credited to the young North-Bohemian musician Michal Müller.
Harald Oberlechner (A)
Harald Oberlechner graduated from the Innsbruck Conservatory where he studied with Peter Suitner. In 1988 he became his successor and since 2005 he has been teaching the zither at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. He performs frequently and participates in various seminars and workshops. He wrote a great number of compositions and arrangements for the zither (old music, folk music, jazz and lately, blues). In 1999 he founded the "Psalteria Verlag" record label and has published numerous publications on the zither, half of which are his own compositions and adaptations.
Martin Mallaun (A)
Born in 1975 in Kitzbühel/Tyrol, studied both to be a concert zitherist (under Harald Oberlechner at the Tyrol Conservatory) and a botanist (at the University of Innsbruck). During and after his studies he attended work shops dealing with historical performance practice (Hopkinson Smith, Rolf Lislevand, Jürgen Hübscher) and with contemporary music/improvisation (Gunter Schneider, Hans Koch, Georg Glasl). Private studies with the lutenist Hubert Hoffmann in Vienna were an additional formative factor in his musical development. At the moment, Martin Mallaun is a free-lance musician and a music teacher for the Tiroler Musikschulwerk.
Michal Müller (CZ)
At the age of 13 he started to study zither playing. After the graduation exam (1995) Michal left to Vienna to study by the professor Mrs. Hannelore Laister . He had been preparing himself at the music school for two years and afterwards he began to study the classic zither at the Conservatory of Vienna. In 2001 he released his first CD Zim.503. Michal Muller is presently the only educated zither player and the teacher of the concert zither in the Czech Republic. He belongs to the most progressive zither players of the world. As the solo player is Michal most popular for his personal expression and aprroach to the instrument. He plays classical music, but mostly his own pieces that is based on folk motives, as well as on blues, jazz, world music and free improvisation. He cooperates with the musicians of the different music genres, he improvizes with expressive dancers and poets, writes music for movies... He also arranges compositions for zither. In music he prefers free realisation and opportunity to show his individuality. He sings very often too. He performs solo concerts and lectures the concert zither seminars in Germany, Austria, Slovenia and also in the Czech Republic.
The Group was established in spring 2003 and has been performing in this composition: Jaroslav Olin Nejezchleba (cello, singing), Michal Müller (zither, singing), Stanislav Barek (guitar, singing). The main purpose of founding this group was utilising the experience of Jaroslav Nejezchleba from his adolescent period when he was a member of the cymbalo group Písečan. Moravian songs became a base for the group´s repertory. All three members are very close to rock and blues, and that is why the songs are not performed in their original style, but based on the personal feelings of the musicians themselves. Unlike other groups who are playing this type of music, Njorek plays acoustically. The repertory is enriched by other nations´ songs, as well as by the records of the authors.