Burkhard Beins, born 1964 in Lower Saxony, lives in Berlin since 1995. As a composer/performer working in the fields of experimental music and sound art he is known for his definitive use of percussion in combination with selected sound objects. Furthermore, he works with live-electronics/analog synthesizers, plays bass guitar, and has conceived several sound installations.
Since the late 1980’s he is performing at internationally renowned venues and festivals throughout Europe, America, Australia and Asia as diverse as the LMC Festival (London), Int. Ferienkurse (Darmstadt), SKIF (St. Petersburg), Musiktage (Donaueschingen), Musique Action (Nancy), Choppa Festival (Singapore), Cave 12 (Geneva), HCMF (Huddersfield), The Now now (Sydney), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Cafe OTO (London), Kaleidophon (Ulrichsberg), Kid Ailack Music Hall (Tokyo), DOM (Moscow), Gaudeamus Festival (Amsterdam), Liquid Architecture (Australia), Meteo (Mulhouse), Taktlos (CH), Berghain (Berlin), Konfrontationen (Nickelsdorf), Serralves and Sonoscopia (Porto), Wien Modern (Vienna), MoMA (New York), New Music Festival (Hanoi), Irtijal (Beirut), KLEX (Kuala Lumpur), or Maerzmusik (Berlin).
Alongside his solo work he is a member of the ensembles Polwechsel, Activity Center, The Sealed Knot, Perlonex, Trio Sowari, Sawt Out, Vertigo Transport, Slurge, Tree, and Splitter Orchester and also works with composers/musicans such as Sven-Åke Johansson, Andrea Neumann, Keith Rowe, Axel Dörner, Chris Abrahams, John Tilbury, or Charlemagne Palestine.
He has been Artist-In-Residence at Künstlerhäuser Worpswede (2009), EMS Stockholm (2014), Muong Studios, Hoa Binh/Vietnam (2015), Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Captiva/Florida (2017), and the Agosto Foundation, Prague (2019).
Burkhard Beins leads workshops based on his graphic score system Adapt/Oppose. He is a co-editor and one of the authors of the book “Echtzeitmusik Berlin – Self-Defining a Scene” as well as the curator of a follow-up 3CD compilation featuring the Berlin Echtzeitmusik scene. Meanwhile he has released more than 60 CDs and LPs on labels like Zarek, Erstwhile, 2:13 Music, Hat Hut, Potlatch, Absinth, Herbal, God, Mikroton, or Confront.
“Burkhard Beins is best known as one of the most distinctive percussionists in European free music.”
– The Wire –
“A polymath who has moved among noise, notated and electronic sounds plus semi-acoustic improvising Beins expresses atonality in a unique fashion on each disc.”
– Jazzword –
“Simply one of the most imaginative percussionists around, indeed making the tag ‘percussionist’ seem hopelessly deficient.”
– All Music Guide –
“Burkhard Beins has proven to be one of those players delivering consistently intriguing releases.”
– Signal To Noise –
POR is an installational performance piece by the Berlin-based composer-performer and sound artist Burkhard Beins. Boxes of polystyrene are functioning as acoustic resonators, spread out on the ceiling and/or walls of the performance space. Long pieces of string attached to them are going across the room and run together around one spot on the opposite side. The performer moves between the taught strings. The sounds produced by rubbing, scratching or plugging come from different parts of the room depending on which string or strings are played and which box or boxes are resonating. A completely manual and acoustic way of sound spatialization.
But the strings can also be played by electric motors fixed on the very end of the strings. Short pieces of string attached to the motors are hitting the strings in a continuous way, thus producing constant drones. The pitch can be altered not only by the tuning of the strings, but also by changing the voltage (rpm) of the motors. A motor/propeller-driven string can be then also played by the performer by means of additional smaller pieces of polystyrene. By sliding them up and down the strings multiple ranges of harmonics and overtones can be discovered and explored. Now the sounds are coming from the polystyrene pieces in the hands of the performer. By dividing the vibrating string in this way the performer can let the sound jump down from the resonating box into his hands, so to say.
Another element used in POR is the rubbing and scratching of long strings attached to polystyrene boxes resting on the floor in alternation with the actual dragging of the boxes across the floor. Both kind of sound are produced by means of friction, but each time using a different principle of sound production.
POR – installed and performed by Burkhard Beins:
Berlin (UA 2000, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2015)
at Densités Festival/France (2009)
Muong Studio, Hoa Binh/Vietnam (2015)
in Bologna (2018)
and as ‘POR Extended’ for 2 performers (with Michael Vorfeld) at Errant Sound, Berlin (2020).