Empire plays in Amsterdam, Moers and Duisburg


Empire in Platzhirsch Festival

Empire in Platzhirsch Festival 2016


Empire is an improvisation trio that came into existence when guitarist Thorsten Töpp invited trumpet player Liz Allbee and electronics player Korhan Erel to play two concerts with him in the Platzhirsch Festival in Duisburg in 2016. The trio returns with three concerts in Amsterdam, Moers and Duisburg.

The Amsterdam concert ‘Genres are so 2016’ on April 25 will take place at Splendor, where the trio will share the bill with Jerboah, an ensemble that plays “a mix of art-rock, post-pop, and worldbeat”.

This year’s Moers Festival artist-in-residence trumpet player John-Dennis Renken invites Empire for a concert at the Schlosstheater Studio in Moers on April 26. Empire will return the favor by inviting Renken to play with them at Lokal Harmonie in Duisburg on April 27. Both concerts will feature Natascha Töpp’s films.

Empire is:
Thorsten Töpp | electric guitar, electronics
Liz Allbee | amplified trumpet
Korhan Erel | computerbased live-electronics

John-Dennis Renken | trumpet, live-electronics
Natascha Töpp | video

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Female Voice of Iran, schimmernd in March

Korhan Erel will play some very exciting concerts in Berlin and various towns in Switzerland in two projects.

The first series of concerts will be in the framework of “Female Voice of Iran” festival which is organized by Zeitgenössische Oper Berlin. The festival will take place on March 16-19. The main venue for concerts is Villa Elisabeth, with other concerts taking place at the Berlin Philharmonic and Galerie Kremers. Korhan Erel will be playing three concerts in the festival. The first one will be a lunch concert at the Berlin Philharmonic on March 14 with an amazing lineup of Iranian and German musicians: Martin Stegner (viola), Haleh Seyfiyadeh (vocals), Cymin Samawatie(vocals), Yalda Yazdani (tar), Sasan Samadi (kamancheh), Reza Zalpour (ney), Mahan Mirarab (guitar), Ralf Schwarz (double bass), and Faride Sarangi (tombak). The second and third concerts will be on March 19 at Villa Elisabeth: a matinee concert of improvised music at 11:00 and with the Female Voice of Iran Orchestra at 19:00.

“schimmernd” is a dance-music project that was initiated in 2015 in Switzerland by Angela Stöcklin (dance), Jan Schacher (double bass, electronics) and Beat Unternährer (trombone), and two participants from Berlin, Akemi Nagao (dance) and Korhan Erel (electronics). The ensemble performed two shows in Switzerland and then took a long hiatus, only to return with a five-concert strong tour in Switzerland in March 2017 with the following dates:

March 25 / Plattform – wir bieten Raum, Gotthelfstrasse 29, 3013 Bern
March 26 / Probebühne Zirkus Chnopf, Flurstrasse 85, Zürich
March 27 / Atelier der ORT (AKKU), Emmenbrücke/Luzern
March 28 / FIM Basel , Alte Rumfabrik, Güterstrasse 145, Basel
March 29 / with guest Ségiu Voser (cello and voice) at WIM, Gewürzmühle, Zug




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Concerts in February

After an amazingly successful and satisfying, and last-ever concert at Miss Hecker with fantastic musicians and a 50-strong audience, Korhan Erel continues their concert series in February with the following performances in Berlin, Hannover, Istanbul and Ankara:

February 9 / Duo “Deconstruction of a poem” with dancer Lerna Babikyan at Liebig12 as a part of Muyassar Kurdi‘s residency. Lerna and Korhan will present their new work-in-progress for a second time in Berlin.

February 10 / Sabine Vogel (flutes), Ute Wassermann (voice, bird calls), Silke Eberhard (saxophones), Rudi Fischerlehner (drums), Korhan Erel (electronics) at Sowieso, Berlin. Besides featuring an all-star cast, this concert will also mark Korhan’s first encounter with Sabine Vogel.

February 11 / Elo Masing (violin), Thomas Kumlehn (flute), Albrecht Walter (clarinet, accordion) and Korhan Erel (electronics, small speakers) at Watt Bar, Berlin, 20:00. Korhan will pay another visit to the Flabberguested Trees.

February 12 / Eberhard Meisel (zither, electronics), Andreas Gogol (electronics), Gunnar Lettow (prepared bass guitar, electronics, objects) and Korhan Erel (electronics) at TonHalle Hannover, 18:00. Almost exactly one year after their first encounter, Korhan will pay another visit to Eberhard Meisel and Andreas Gogol, but this time with his oldest musical partner in Germany, Gunnar Lettow.

February 17 / Defne Sandalcı (spoken word), Şevket Akıncı (guitar, effects), Korhan Erel (electronics) at Space Debris, Istanbul. Şevket Akıncı and Korhan Erel had met in late 2004 and started the audio-visual spoken word project Mugwump together, before founding the seminal free-improvisation ensemble Islak Köpek. Mugwump’s music was quite structured and composed. This time, they will perform an improvised version with amazing witch of the word Defne Sandalcı.

February 21 / Solo performance at the opening of exhibition “You are here now” curated by Tuçe Erel and Seval Şener at ARTE Sanat, Ankara, Turkey. Korhan’s last concert in February will be a conceptual solo at the opening of “You are Here Now”, a group show co-curated by Tuçe Erel and Seval Şener in ARTE Project Space in Ankara. The show’s theme is “Anthropocene”, the term that denotes the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. 

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Cyminology in Istanbul

Korhan Erel will be playing with Cyminology as one of the guest musicians on January 25 at Borusan Music House. The other guest musician is Martin Stegner, violist extraordinaire, who has been playing and recording with Cyminology for a long time, including their last album “Phoenix” released on ECM Records.

Korhan was invited to play with Cyminology in 2015 by the group’s founder Cymin Samawatie, after the two met during an improvised concert in Berlin with clarinetist David Rothenberg and nightingales, which was a part of “Berlin Bülbül”, David and Korhan’s project on Berlin’s nightingales. Cymin and Korhan have since been busy developing a duo as well as being part of other projects, one of which is “Hide & Seek” a sold-out series of five performances in January 2017 that features an amazing group of youngsters from Afghanistan, Germany, Iran and Syria. The other project is “Female Voices of Iran”, a festival in March 2017 celebrating the Iranian female singing voice co-curated by Cymin Samawatie.

The ECM band Cyminology combines Persian poetry and chamber-esque contemporary music: East and West, old and new in beautiful synthesis. The subtle yet dynamic, softly-pulsating music takes its cue from the sound of the Persian language presenting poets such as Rumi, Hafis and Khayyam. This concert will also feature some Turkish poetry.

Cymin Samawatie’s compositions combine elements from different kinds of music, including chamber jazz, open improvisation, modern composition, impressionism and minimalism.

Cyminology creates a space, in which post-migrant European culture is expressed in music and poetry. It is an adventurous experience to listen and to watch the sensitive interaction within the Berlin based quartet that was founded in 2002.

Cymin Samawatie, vocals, composition
Benedikt Jahnel, piano, composition
Ralf Schwarz, double bass
Tobias Backhaus, drums


Martin Stegner, viola
Korhan Erel, electronics, sound processing

Listen to Cyminology’s music here

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“Harscht?” with Rahel Kraft in compilation


Korhan Erel and Rahel Kraft (voice, electronics) met on October 14, 2016 at Club der polnischen Versager in Berlin. The amazing cello quartet Octopus was playing that night. They struck up a conversation while smoking outside the club, and decided to meet for a session when Rahel was back in Berlin. That session happened on December 14. Rahel and Korhan set their instrrahel-kraftuments up and started playing, experimenting, failing… basically having fun. Rahel had the idea then to contribute a part of this session to a compilation of works based on the human voice: Utterances. This compilation was put together by Richard Sanderson and released on his “Linear Obsessional” label, which releases “experimental, improvised, and other music that falls through the cracks”. It contains 112 tracks that are each exactly two minutes long, sorted in order of submission date. “Harscht?” is the 111th track. The compilation comes also with a PDF booklet containing information, drawings, images.



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The Liz and Cymin Samawatie Music Lounge

Korhan “Liz” Erel is going to perform with The Liz in the KIMFEST on December 9 at Berlin’s Prachtwerk. The trio will perform their piece “Book of Birds”. The Liz has performed this piece at Quiet Cue, Moers Festival and Urban Acoustic Tribes. Their performance at Moers was recently chosen in the taz newspaper by music journalist Philipp Rhensius as the best concert of 2016.

Korhan will improvise with Cymin Samawatie (voice), Liz Allbee (trumpet), Elisabetta Lanfredini (voice) in Cymin Samawatie’s Music Lounge evening at Galerie Kremers on December 15. This concert will have a food buffet and contributions to this buffet as food or drinks is highly encouraged.

The-Liz-1-von-1-1024x683 spotbehind





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“Deconstruction of a Poem” with Lerna Babikyan

lerna-babikyan-korhan-erelLerna Babikyan is a dancer, actress and teacher who has recently relocated to Berlin from Istanbul. Korhan and Lerna have known each other for a long time, and have collaborated several times, the first time being as early as 2008, when Korhan designed sounds for Lerna’s solo piece Var/Yok.

Korhan and Lerna have decided to see how a collaboration in their new home Berlin would yield, and will perform at Immanuelkirche Gemeindesaal on November 27. Their performance is titled “Deconstruction of a poem” and will be the first experiment of a new work-in-progress.

The event is hosted by dancer Ingo Reulecke and will also feature him in duo with musician Holger Bey.

Immanuelkirche is in Prenzlauer Berg at Immanuelkirchestr. 1 (M2 stop Knaackstraße).

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UnStumm in Hong Kong and Singapore

UnStumm is Korhan Erel’s intercultural collaborative audiovisual project he developed with Nicola Hein. The project was premiered with the support of Akademie der Künste der Welt in 2015 in Cologne between artists from Germany and Turkey. Nicola and Korhan are now taking UnStumm to Hong Kong and Singapore. The Hong Kong leg will be between November 2-5 and the Singapore leg between November 7-10.

UnStumm Hong Kong is a joint effort in collaboration with Eric Wong, musician and composer based in Berlin and Hong Kong. UnStumm Hong Kong is kindly sponsored by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, and Goethe Institut.

The rehearsals and performances will be at the facilities of the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble. Two teams, each consisting of two musicians and two visual artists from Hong Kong and Germany, will be rehearsing for three days and then will present their work on November 5.

UnStumm Hong Kong teams are:

Vvzela Kook – Video Art
Chin King – Guzheng
Sven Hahne – Video Art
Korhan Erel – Computer, controllers, electronics

Eric Wong – Guitar
Crystal Bug (Yau Wan Kei) – Video Art
Claudia Schmitz – Video Art
Nicola Hein – Guitar

UnStumm Singapore is organized with the support and collaboration of LASALLE College of the Arts. This UnStumm will be somewhat different than UnStumm’s usual format. There, the artists from Germany will be a part of a larger project called the Irish Circus. It will take place in the The Singapore Airlines Theatre of LASALLE.

The Irish Circus is a project that is based on the score for “____,____ ____ circus on ____,” by the experimental composer John Cage, which sets up a strict formula on how to translate any book into a performance. UnStumm’s German artists will join LASALLE’s very own lecturers Dr Timothy O’Dwyer and Brian O’Reilly, and the students of the Electronic Music Studies department of LASALLE as well as the German visual artist Lillevan to create an experimental audiovisual extravaganza on November 10 in the LASALLE.

This will be Korhan’s second event about John Cage after the centennial concert he co-produced in Istanbul at the end of 2012.



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Concerts in September

Korhan Erel playing Omnibus - computer instrument in Cologne, photo by Peter Tümmers (B&W)Korhan Erel will play many concerts in several German cities in September. The first twoconcerts will be in the Platzhirsch Festival in Duisburg on September 3 and 4 with the core trio Empire of Thorsten Töpp, Liz Allbee and Korhan Erel plus guest artists.

Korhan will play a duo with video artist Akiko Nakayama at the Geoff Stern Art Space in Berlin on September 7.

Next stop will be Hamburg with Korhan’s long-time collaborator Gunnar Lettow in Gunnar’s Frequenzgänge concert series. Lettow Erel Duo is celebrating its fifth year by playing with the legendary Tim Hodgkinson on September 9.

On September 13, Korhan will play a trio with flutist Angelika Sheridan and guitarist Eric Wong in the Plattform Nicht Dokumentierbarer Ereignisse concert series in Cologne. Angelika Sheridan was Korhan’s musical partner in UnStumm Cologne in September 2015, and Eric will be their partner in UnStumm Hong Kong in November 2016.


Cologne-based pianist and composer Laia Genc and Korhan Erel have been collaborating on numerous occasions and projects since 2015. Their duo Serene has already played two concerts in Cologne and Korhan is a member of Istanbul Composers Orchestra (ICO), which was founded by Laia and a group of composers/musicians based in Istanbul. ICO has played three concerts in 2015 and 2016 in Cologne, Istanbul, and Berlin. On September 17, Korhan will join Laia’s jazz trio Liaison Tonique with Markus Braun on double bass and Jens Düppe on drums in the Euskirchener Kulturnacht at Park Hotel in Euskirchen.

The-Liz-1-von-1-1024x683 spotbehindThe Liz has caused quite a stir with their project “Book of Birds” at Quiet Cue in Berlin and in the moers festival in Moers in 2016. They will play their second performance of “Book of Birds” in Berlin in the Urban Acoustic Tribes on September 23 at ACUD Studio. In the same event, Korhan will play their quadraphonic solo piece “üçgen-dörtgen” on September 24 at Villa Elisabeth. Korhan had premiered this piece in the Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art Vienna (MAK Wien) in April 2013, and also performed it in the Quiet Cue @ KINDL event in September 2015 in Berlin.

The last concert in September will be with the duo with singer/composer Cymin Samawatie. They will perform poetry from Iran and Turkey in a voice-electronics setting at the Werkstatt der Kulturen in Berlin on September 30. The duo had played for the first time at Radialsystem in February 2016 as a part of Sasha Waltz’s event Zuhören: Continu by Sascha Waltz and Friends. Korhan is also one of the guest musicians in the ECM-band Cyminology with one concert in Munich in April 2016 and one upcoming concert in Istanbul in January 2017.Cymin Samawatie and Korhan Erel

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Concerts in Wiesbaden, Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Krailling

Korhan Erel, Omnibus computer instrument, photo by Peter TümmersKorhan Erel is going to be playing some very exciting festivals and concerts in many cities across Germany in July.

First one is the Humanoise Congress #28 in Wiesbaden on July 1-3, where Korhan is going to camp out with an amazing line up of improvisers from all over Europe: Elena Margarita Kakaliagou (french horn), Jonas Kocher (accordion), Dirk Marwedel (extended saxophone), Hannah Marshall (cello), Theo Nabicht (contrabass clarinet), Ulrich Phillipp (double bass), Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Wolfgang Schliemann (drums), Nicolas Souchal (trumpet).

Following that, Korhan is going to play with field recording artist and owner of sound art label Gruenrekorder Lasse-Marc Riek at the Institut für Neue Medien in Frankfurt on July 5. Lasse-Marc and Korhan are also members of the Animal Music Quartet alongside Elliott Sharp and David Rothenberg. This concert is organized by Phonophon.

On July 14, Korhan is going to improvise with Liz Allbee (trumpet), Adam Pultz Melbye (double bass) and Emilio Gordoa (vibraphone, objects) at Berlin’s Sowieso, to be followed by a first-ever meeting with Gianpaolo Peres (voice) and Hilary Jeffrey (trombone) for “Pasolini Spiritual” at Weincafe W. in Berlin. On July 16, Korhan will improvise in a duo with friend and cellist Nora Krahl at Gelegenheiten in Berlin. Last performance of July in Berlin will be in the Improvisation XChange Berlin 2016 on July 23 with dancers Jenny Döll & Michael Shapiro, and soprano sax player Manuel Miethe.

Korhan Erel playing Omnibus - computer instrument in Cologne, photo by Peter Tümmers (B&W)Korhan will end the month with two concerts in Krailling and Munich. Both concerts are organized and will be with Udo Schindler (clarinets, saxophones). On July 28, Udo and Korhan will be improvising with  Sebastiano Tramontana (trombone) at Ars Musica, München, and on July 29 as a duo at Salon für KLANG + KUNST, Krailling.




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