Kai Schumacher delights in pushing the boundaries between classical and popular music while avoiding the wellworn clichés “Crossover.” Boasting an impressive pedigree, Kai studied at the renowned Folkwang University Essen with Prof. Till Engel, passing his „Konzertexamen“ with distinction in 2009. Since then, like a musical mad scientist, he has been constantly experimenting and combining seemingly incompatible elements with surprising results. His solo performances are acts of pure musical – and stylistic – alchemy, serving up heady mixes of Dadaism and Dancefloor, Avantgarde and Pop culture – sometimes all at once!
When not engaged in genre-defying pursuits, Kai Schumacher‘s repertoire focuses on American piano music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His debut recording of Frederic Rzewski‘s monumental “The People United Will Never Be Defeated” (2009) was hailed by Fono Forum magazine as a “pianistic sensation” and voted CD of the month. On his second album, “Transcriptions” (2012), he bravely turned to the musical heroes of his youth – Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Slayer and others – remixing them and transforming the concert grand into a four squaremeter sound monster, a mechanical sound-effects board, complete with prepared percussion. The third album “Insomnia” (2015) is the story of a nocturnal odyssey, at once soothing and disturbing. It´s five restless “hymns” to the night feature the works of five American composers written over the past 80 years. On his album „Beauty in simplicity“ (2017) Kai Schumacher was combining original piano compositions with his own arrangements for „enhanced piano“ to create a repetitive set between meditation und mania. Including works from three centuries ranging from Erik Satie through Steve Reich to Moderat Minimal Music meets its classical pioneers and descendants in Ambient, Techno and Post-Rock.
His upcoming album „Rausch” (October 2019, Neue Meister / Edel) is the first album exclusively to feature his own compositions. Schumacher abstains from using overdubs; in fact, no electronics are used at all. Instead, he employs his own form of “prepared piano”, manipulating the instrument’s mechanism and strings to produce an unusual array of sounds.
Kai Schumacher also works as a producer, regularly appears as an orchestral soloist and has toured throughout Europe, Asia and North- and South-America.
„Schumacher’s playing is so atmospheric and insistent that you’ll want to stay up all night until the early morning hours yourself!“ (Süddeutsche Zeitung)
“Piano music for the twenty-first century (…) That might at first sound as if an ‘angry young man’ of the piano were trying his hand at every possible musical trend that diverges from the mainstream, but it is actually an extremely creative attempt not only to surmount the boundaries between serious and light music, but also to create something that is truly new.“ (Pianonews)
“This recording is brilliantly in the spirit of the work, involving the player as it does in vocalising and improvising. Dazzling virtuosily.“ (Sunday Times)