The music of the Voutchkova/Thieke duo focuses on micro tonality, imagery and intensely dynamic, often slowly developing and moving soundscapes. Violinist Biliana Voutchkova and clarinetist Michael Thieke have worked together within (and in between) both compositional and improvisational methods since 2011. For the past years they played more than 70 concerts together – in Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Serbia, Bulgaria, Sweden, Japan and the USA (Meakusma Festival/Eupen, Experimental Intermedia/New York, Blurred Edges/Hamburg, Biegungen im ausland/Berlin and Ftarri Festival/Tokyo, etc.).

Support has been granted to them by the Goethe Institut, Musikfonds / Germany and the Trust for Mutual Understanding / New York / USA. The duo is also engaged in multi disciplinary projects and collaborations with various guest artists. Among those are musicians Roy Carroll, Luca Venitucci, Svetlana Maraš, Hans Tammen, visual and sound artists Gretchen Blegen, Hans Peter Kuhn, and choreographers / dancers / performers such as Julyen Hamilton, Maya Carroll, Litó Walkey, Akemi Nagao, Ingo Reulecke, Ahmed Soura and Louise Wagner.

This year the duo celebrates their 10th anniversary with the exhibition-concert “Materiality & sound”, in collaboration with the designer studio Rainer Spehl.

Concert at Sammlung Hoffmann in Berlin on 8 May 2014 / Sound: Andreas Paolo Perger / Video: Carlos Bustamante

For booking inquiries, please contact Joanna John / hello@kissthefrog.no

In 2016 the duo started developing their concept Blurred Music which is dedicated to the translation of the visual concept of blurriness into sonic forms and strategies. The project brought the duo on an elongated concert tour in the USA which culminated with the release of a triple album with recordings from the live concerts, selected as Record of the year 2018 in the reader’s poll of Free Jazz Blog. In 2018 Voutchkova/Thieke received a grant from Musikfonds in Germany to develop this concept into two new directions – a quartet extension with bass recorder player Miako Klein and double bass player Andrew Lafkas, and a new long length installation format with durations of up to 5!!! hours.

Photo: Boriana Pandova

The granulation of sound into exquisite detail was once the field of the electronic music composer. But, a new type of instrumental virtuosity has been mastered by artists such as Voutchkova and Thieke. Emerging from experimental and improvisational practices, it’s a virtuosity that puts a lens on the particles of sound within sounds. And through deconstruction of (traditionally conceived) instrumental tone, these granulated particles of sound became the material of a whole new world of music being created on the same old instruments. After all, instruments are just tools. Musical shifts occur from how we listen to sounds, what we perceive in them, as well as how our listening affects our relationship with the world. Much of music’s movement toward micro-elements manifested through compositional processes, into forms of chiseled and austere beauty. But an increased expressivity has entered experimental music through the immediacy, intimacy and interactivity of improvisation. As a result of their close collaboration, Voutchkova and Thieke have developed a strong interest in exploring the granulated particles that increase the sensitivity of perception for themselves and their audiences. They deliver the findings of these explorations with intensity and feeling.
– Nameless Sound/USA


Is it even always an advantage to replace a picture that is not sharp by one that is?
Isn’t one that isn’t sharp often just what we need?

– Ludwig Wittgenstein

Blur is a form of inexactness, indeterminacy, uncertainty in the depiction or reproduction of an object or state of affairs; it need not constitute an error, rather it can be desired or perhaps impossible to avoid. Blur creates blanks that serve as stimuli for supplementation by subjective concretisations that stretch far beyond what the object actually (re)presents. The duo works with the theme of blur in the field of music, on the level of formal composition as well as in the details of the musical material. The music’s structure creates a blur; improvised parts alternate with fields of pre-structured material in which digital recordings of the duo are duplicated by live performance.Virtually identical fragments of the live performance synchronise simultaneously with the playback, unavoidably giving rise to blur in the temporal dimension, in the rhythmic, timbral, and motivic variations, in the microtonal interpretation of individual pitches. The live portion of the duplicated material is still improvised, but within a framework purposefully restricted by the pre-recorded material, the intervals between which are indeterminate. To perception, what is being composed in real time blurs into what has been structured in advance; the difference can be registered only after an interval, if at all.

Elsewhere (3 CD 2018) / Record of the year 2018 in the reader’s poll of Free Jazz Blog

Blurred Music Elsewhere (3-CD/2018) / Record of the year 2018 in the reader’s poll of Free Jazz Blog
As Found Sound Anatomy (CD SA010/2017) with Roy Carroll, electro-acoustic media.
Already There Flexion records ((CD/2013) Sold out

Blurred Music CD Release concert
Live at Sammlung Hoffmann/Berlin 

Blurred Music / Philadelphia
Live concert at ADK/Akademie der Künste Berlin 

About Blurred Music 

It’s a pleasure to follow the patient, intricate explorations of this Berlin based duo, as Voutchkova’s string double-stoppings mesh with Thieke’s woodwind multiphonics. Notes pass into noise and back again…..Some of these passages have a remarkable, haunted quality, as if the music is staring at itself in a mirror…
The result is a fresh, very listenable stretch of close instrumental interplay.

Clive Bell, The Wire (UK)

The vibe or flow has a mysterious sense of synchronicity, a current that runs throughout, which can be felt by those sympathetic to the magic forces within. There is quite a bit more going on here that one might imagine. The duo slowly yet consistently shift through many different layers, melodic and abstract fragments are in constant motion, making the results both fascinating and unpredictable.
Bruce Lee Gallanter DowntownMusic Gallery (USA)

I was overwhelmed by the passionate intensity and unity of their music. Their conversations have substance
and are full of nuance and subtleties that matter
DM, Vital Weekly

Simply surrender to the magnificent sonic universes of Voutchkova and Thieke. Soon enough you may find yourself drawn again and again to their addictive duets, wishing for more and always discovering new nuances and ideas. Voutchkova and Thieke offer an arresting journey through sounds and sounds within sounds, increasing their and ours, the listeners, sensitivity of perception. Their sonic explorations are sketched with quiet intensity, reserved but passionate dynamics, adventurous, inventive spirit and austere beauty. Both carefully deconstructs the conventional, sonic spectrum of their instruments into subtle particles that flow organically, creating a completely new language on their own.
Eyal Hareuveni, Free Jazz Blog