Alan Bern
Alan Bern is an American composer, pianist, accordionist, educator and cultural activist, based in Berlin since 1987. He is the founding artistic director of Yiddish Summer Weimar and the Other Music Academy (OMA). He is internationally recognized for his contributions to the research, dissemination and creative renewal of Jewish music with Brave Old World, The Other Europeans and the Semer Ensemble, among others. He is the creator of Present-Time Composition, a musical and educational approach informed by cognitive science that integrates the methods of improvisation and composition.


Photo: Andreas Welskop

Nicolaas Cottenie
Nicolaas Cottenie is a violin player, composer and researcher. In the past few years he has been working in the University of Leuven and at the Antwerp Conservatory to research embodied cognition, Alan Bern’s Present Time Composition and how those two can be used in modern higher music education.
Apart from research work, he performs as a violin player, playing mostly his own music and traditional klezmer music. At the moment, his active projects are No Words, a silent film program for children; Azind, a traditional klezmer duo, and Halva, a klezmer band.


Photo: Manu Miethe

Birthe Bendixen (body/breath/voice)
first studied classical singing but realized soon that she was looking for a much wider range and more open space for the voice.The technical terms of singing are interesting, but it´s not enough just to learn all about the technical terms. The complex psycho-physical process became the main interest of her studies and work.
She took private lessons in Ilse Middendorf ‘s “Der bewegte Atem” and “Sensory Awareness” following the work of Elsa Gindler and Charlotte Selver. She tried to gain deep insight into the structures of the body.
What is singing? It’s not only the larynx but also a combined muscular and emotional release. Becoming aware of unconscious habitual controls is the beginning of the transforming how one sings. How to come in contact with breathing without controling? How to be aware without thinking? To develop one’s own voice means to gain knowledge of what is true in one’s individual, organic experience.
Birthe Bendixen creates and performs music theater, works with composers and artists, gives concerts and transmits her knowledge as a teacher of singing and bodywork.


Photo: Ulrich Hille

Workshop improvisation @ Berlin Exploratorium April 1-5, 2020