The development of a particular style in music is not necessarily tied to an inevitable dependency on a single genre. It is more a question of a particular individual's own creative powers. Michael Riessler has kept his eyes and ears open for every variety of creative expression. He is interested in the connection between improvisation and modern classic music, speech and sound, music and dance. Out of this variety of impulses there has arisen an artistic personality within the last two decades that moves freely and without reservation between the various musical camps.
Born in Ulm, Germany in 1957, Michael Riessler studied clarinet and received music degrees at the academies for music in Cologne and Hanover, Germany (graduated 1975). His first professional experience was with the ensemble Musique Vivant in Paris (1978). In 1982 he played chamber music concerts with Siegfired Palm and Aloys Kontarsky, along with other modern improvisation groups. In 1988 he was with the Kolner Saxophone Mafia on a tour of West and Central Africa sponsored by the Goethe Institute. Through guitarist Claude Barthelemy he became involved with L'Orchestre National de Jazz Paris, and worked with the orchestra from 1989-1991. He did a solo tour through Russia in 1990 performing the compositions of Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Riessler has experimented with the outer borderlines of structure, sound, music, and speech. His musical explorations have run the gamut from such complex formations as in Le Bucher des Silences (1991) to extremely reduced ensembles such as his trio with Valentin Clastrier on hurdy-gurdy and Carlo Rizzo on tambourine, and his duo work with dancer Migel Charnock (1998). In 1992 Michael Riessler received The German Record Critics' Prize for his composition Heloise, which was commissioned for the Donaueschinger Music Days. His composition Honig und Asche was commissioned for the 1997 Berlin Biennale. His project Momentum Mobile (1993) consisted of hurdy-gurdy player Pierre Charial along with four jazz musicians, a string quartet, and a brass quintet. He has composed and arranged music for theater, radio, and films, and has been guest professor at the music academies in Den Haag Holland, Graz Austria, Orleans France, Toronto Canada, and the Institute for Contemporary Music in Darmstadt Germany. Riessler has performed solo concerts at major classical, contemporary, and jazz festivals throughout the world.
Riessler's playing credits span the breadth of contemporary music. He has worked with such diverse musicians as Steve Reich, John Cage, Carla Bley, Vinko Globokar, Michael Gibbs, Ensemble Modern, David Byrne, Sarah Vaughan, and Rabih Abou-Khalil; his orchestral credits include the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra.
In 1999 he released the CD "Orange", a work influenced by french poet George Perec, on the ACT music label. With classical clarinet-player Sabine Meyer and her Trio Di Clarone he recorded "Bach in 1 hour"; and in 2003, enlarged by French barrelorgan-player Pierre Charial, "Paris Mecanique". Also in 2003 he meets french cello-virtuoso Vincent Courtois and the renowned vocal-ensemeble Singer Pur at St. Gerold and records "AHI VITA" (apperared in 2004 on the ACT Label). He wrote the music for the Edgar Reitz-movie "Heimat 3" (2004), and, for ARTE, the music for the silent movies "Unheimliche Geschichten" (2001) and "Hamlet" (first performance in 2007 at the 57. Berlinale).