Saturday
13. October 2007

Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche

Bob Rutman’s Stelle Cello Ensemble


Bob Rutman (D): steel cello
Mike Hentz (D): harps, jew’s-harps, vocals
Kersten Ginsberg (D): drums, percussion

The steel cello: a metal sail of more than two meters in height, vaulting under the tension of one long string. Bow chime and bass chime: two arcuate metal shields on curved iron pedestals, each of which carrying five finger-thick brass bars across a bridge. Primitive string bows made of fishing lines provoke deep, sonorous sound turbulences on these archaic and powerful instrumental sculptures—disturbing and ecstatic.
Bob Rutman, who celebrated his 76th birthday on May 15, is a constructor of instruments, a sound inventor and a musician, as well as a sculptor, painter and drawer. Rutman’s bizarre life story starts in 1931 in Berlin, shortly before the Nazis’ takeover. In 1938, Bob and his Jewish mother escape to Poland. After Finland, Sweden and England, he ends up in New York in 1950, from where he is sent back to Germany in 1951 to serve his time at the army. Afterwards he studies arts in New York and Mexico and becomes friends with beat poet Philip Lamantia. In 1966, Rutman constructs the steel cello and bow chime prototypes in his Soho art gallery—the steel cello later on being on display in the Museum of Modern Art and purchased by the art collector Marx. Besides his sculptural work in Boston and New York, Rutman founds the Steel Cello Ensemble in 1975; extensive tours through the USA and Europe follow. In 1990, Rutman returns to Berlin and immediately opens up another gallery. In 1998, he supports the Einstürzenden Neubauten on their USA tour. Bob Rutman has collaborated with Peter Sellers, Merce Cunningham, Robert Wilson, Dorothy Carter, Jacalyn Carley/Tanzfabrik Berlin, and Wim Wenders. The old man and his steel cello—the beatnic has long become the great master and favorite figure of Berlin’s underground. In Krems, Bob Rutman is performing with Mike Hentz, legendary member of the performance group Minus Delta t, and the versatile drummer Kersten Ginsberg.

© NOE Festival

© NOE Festival