Björn Schmelzer


Björn Schmelzer studied anthropology and musicology but as a multidisciplinary artist he is primarily self-taught. He is the founder and artistic director of Graindelavoix, an artist company that starts from folds and faults in ancient repertoires to rehabilitate the fundamental anachronism of practices in time. From this point of view, Graindelavoix brings together artists of all disciplines: musical, visual, and performative…Over the course of long research stays, Schmelzer studied primarily in the Mediterranean world, in Italy (Sardinia, Sicily), Spain, Portugal and Morocco, specializing in vocal repertoire and performance practice. He studied several medieval vocal traditions in depth, their continuation and survival in later times, ornamentation styles, and the logic of operative knowledge. He combines this work with insights from anthropology, history, human geography, and ethnomusicology, resulting in various publications and concert programs. He is regularly requested as a guest conductor and lecturer. Björn Schmelzer has published several essays and articles for literary magazines, specialized magazines, academic publications, and exhaustive CD booklets. He is currently writing a book about vocal practices, derived from 10 years of expertise with Graindelavoix. With Graindelavoix he has received several prizes and awards such as ‘Young Musician of the Year’ by the Belgian Music Press.

In 2011, Schmelzer became the first “Creative Fellow in Musicology”, a collaboration between the Utrecht Early Music Festival and the Centre for Humanities at Utrecht University. Besides his activities as artistic director of Graindelavoix, he makes films, both fictional and documentary, often associated with Graindelavoix projects. As a playwright and director, he created, among others, Cesena with Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Muntagna Nera with Filip Jordens and Jan Van Outryve, Ossuaires with Koen Broos and Wim Scheyltjens and Trabe Dich Thierlein! with Margarida Garcia, Koen Broos and David Hernandez. Most recently, he designed audio-visual and interdisciplinary installations with Koen Broos and Margarida Garcia in The Hospital of Undersized Gestures.

Updated on 27 september 2022

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