For her first album releases as a soloist, nomadic Australian cellist and composer Judith Hamann presents two collections of her sonic inquiries into shaking and humming. Her CD, Music for Cello and Humming
, features two pieces for cello and humming written specifically for Hamann by composers Sarah Hennies and Anthony Pateras> alongside Hamann's own “Humming Suite” and “Study for cello and humming.” Having arisen intuitively from Hamann's investigations into shaking, just intonation, psychoacoustic phenomena, and the voice in relation to the femme presenting body in performance, humming here also references dislocation, or ventriloquism. Although teetering on the edge of audibility, the intimate and vulnerable closed-mouth sounding enters into subtle interference with her cello, drifting into acoustical beating and bringing instability to otherwise more formal grid structures. The capacity for rupture of this volatile fragility reaches its apotheosis on Hennies' “Loss,” a piece that deliberately instructs Hamann to hum beyond the limits of her voice range. Going against the grain of chamber music orthodoxy, the guaranteed failure set in motion by this instruction yields a generative sound of effort reminiscent of Xenakis' storied desire for an instrumentalist to play with the sorrow of knowing they can't do everything. With an arc suggestive of sudden life change, “Loss” casts queer epistemology onto composition, positioning failure, undoing, unbecoming, and transforming as alternative ways of knowing or being. Hennies' signature composite merging of individual components here brings oral sounds that include breathing and coughing together with humming, cello, and sine waves. Like Glenn Gould's 1982 Goldberg Variations
or Pauline Oliveros
' Accordion and Voice
, this timbral meeting of bodily utterances with consummate musicianship imbues Hamann's humming work with a breakable, human strand, here as humbling as it is uncomfortable.
Judith Hamann is a cellist and performer/composer from Naarm/Birraranga (Melbourne), Australia, now based in Berlin. She has “long been recognised as one of Australia's foremost contemporary-music cellists” (RealTime Arts). Her performance practice stretches across various genres encompassing elements of improvised, contemporary classical, experimental, and popular music. Currently her work is focused on an examination of expressions and manifestations of 'shaking' in her solo performance practice, a collection of new works for cello and humming, and ongoing research surrounding “collapse” and the “de-mastering” of instrumental practice.
Judith Hamann has studied contemporary classical repertoire with renowned cellists including Charles Curtis and Séverine Ballon, as well as developing a strong practice in improvisation and sonic arts through collaborative projects both in Australia and internationally. She has worked with artists and ensembles including Australian Art Orchestra, Oren Ambarchi, Dennis Cooper
, ELISION ensemble, Sarah Hennies, Graham Lambkin, Alvin Lucier, Toshimaru Nakamura, The Necks, Áine O'Dwyer, Stephen O'Malley
, Eliane Radigue
, Wadada Leo Smith, Ilan Volkov, Tashi Wada, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. She is a member of Golden Fur, Hammers Lake, The Argonaut String Quartet, the Harmonic Space Orchestra, and has duo projects with Rosalind Hall, Anthea Caddy, and Lori Goldston
Judith Hamann is a champion of new and rarely performed music, immersive approaches to sound, and engages with a range of interdisciplinary and experimental projects including collaborative work with visual artists Keith Deverell, Sabina Maselli, and film makers Joshua Bonnetta
and Benedetta De Alessi.
She has performed or composed music released on labels including Blank Forms
, Black Truffle, Saltern, Pogus, Another Timbre, Caduc, and Marginal Frequency.