Improviser, composer, songwriter, instrument builder, acoustic ecologist, or recording engineer; it is all part of a process: to put an idea into sound. The tool one needs could be a bassoon, a soldering iron, a computer program, a screwdriver, a microphone, a pencil and paper, a rehearsal, or even a good long walk. All are equally valuable methods in achieving beautiful, interesting, humorous, questioning or any other kind of sound world that expresses something meaningful and worthwhile.
C o r F u h l e r, described by the ABC as ‘A Modern Day Renaissance Man’, is an interdisciplinary eclectic musician, improviser, composer, sound artist, multi instrumentalist, instrument builder, inventor, visual artist, researcher and scholar whose practice crosses into installation, visual art, dance, puppetry, comic strip, music theatre and site-specific performance. He is a conservatorium trained pianist, guitarist and experimental electronics player, and is renowned for his pioneering extended piano techniques and his invention the keyolin, a hybrid violin and piano. He often functions as axle between various art forms: he has written scripts, choreographies and music for theatre, radio plays, dance and puppetry. Cor has a preference for juxtaposing old and new technologies (from super 8 film to the latest digital software) and he has composed for ethnic instruments, western instruments, self built devices and various electronic media. In his work, he puts a strong emphasis on awareness of acoustic and visual phenomena at a specific time and place.
Born 1964 in the Netherlands in a multi-cultural family (he is partly Romani), after travelling and since 2010 living in Australia, Cor is influenced by several creative cultures. He took his first lessons on organ at the age of 10, but disillusioned by the complete lack of understanding from his teachers (he mostly changed compositions and instruments to his personal preference), he soon became autodidact. Again disillusioned, but now by his own lack of instrumental technique and general knowledge, in 1983 he decided to go to the highly esteemed Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam to study piano and teaching methodology (his main teachers were Nico Langenhuijsen - piano and Misha Mengelberg - composition). During this time he spent much of his time in libraries, museums and on his bicycle in order to avoid musical tunnel vision. After finishing his studies in 1989, a year earlier than planned, he travelled around in Indonesia and went back to his natural state of following his own intuition. Since then he has been the artistic leader of his own ensembles (e.g., Corkestra, Wayang Detective, Fuhler/Bennink/de Joode, Cortet and solo), he toured internationally (Europe, Canada, USA, Japan, etc.) and released over 50 CDs, mostly with his own works and artistic concepts.
After a two-year research period Cor attained his PhD in composition in 2016 at the University of Sydney (with supervision by composer Damien Ricketson) and is now an active researcher with special interest in the relationship improvisation-composition, compositional multiplicity, corporeal kinetic installations, Fluxus, magic and mystery in art, and acoustic ecology. In 2017 he published his book Disperse and Display (which demonstrates a holistic approach to his research on modular compositional techniques and extended instrumental techniques) and he started working at the Conservatorium of Music in Hobart and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music; here he partly lectures composition, improvisation and ensemble as well as marks composition students’ essays. In 2018 Cor started a position as senior lecturer in sound and creative media studies at the SAE Creative Media Institute in Sydney.
"Sun Ra, Braxton, Mengelberg: in their different ways each is a genius at organizing organic, half-composed, half-improvised group music. Theirs are big footprints to walk in, but Cor Fuhler has big shoes of his own."
Corkestra liner notes, Kevin Whitehead
"With dizzying variety, spectacular group interplay, and writing that astounds from start to finish, this one is a winner and has rocketed to the top of my recommended list."
Corkestra review, Michael Rosenstein *One Final Note: Jazz and Improvised Music Webzine
"All in all, a superbly varied and ridiculously creative piece of work, strongly recommended."
Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic Magazine (Corkestra review)
“The music is intelligent, but not intellectual; humorous, but not out for effect…..Fuhler is supported by the best collaborative rhythm section in Dutch jazz at present: bassist Wilbert de Joode and drummer Han Bennink. This is music where idiosyncratic fantasy runs rampant.“
LS, Jazz News.
"Cor Fuhler has created a series of idiosyncratic and highly individual soundscapes, as convincing a case for prepared piano as you are likely to hear."
John Eyles l All about jazz l April 2007
"Even among his countrymen--raging iconoclasts like Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink, and Willem Breuker--Dutch keyboardist Cor Fuhler is a maverick. Conflating styles and disemboweling traditions, he takes the art of improvisation well beyond the playing." Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, 2000.
Areas of expertise
Composition (aleatoric music/the open work)
Piano - extended techniques
Produced/edited/mixed/mastered over 50 CDs, of which 30 as ensemble leader or co-leader, with own compositions.
Performed on most continents at major festivals (North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, London Jazz Festival, Melbourne Jazz Festival, etc.) with his own ensembles: Corkestra, Cortet, trio Fuhler-Bennink-de Joode, the Flirts, solo (piano, keyolin or analogue electronics).
Senior Lecturer at SAE Creative Media Institute, Sydney, 2018 - present
Casual Academic at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, 2017 - present
Casual Lecturer at Conservatorium of Music, UTAS (University of Tasmania), Hobart, 2017
Curator of Parallel Collisions at MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Sydney, 2016/17
Music tutor (jazz ensemble) at Abbotsleigh School, Wahroonga, NSW, 2016
Grant, Australia Council for the Arts, for touring and recording with Splinter Orchestra, 2016
Research Scholarship Award, University of Sydney, 2014 - 2016
Grant, Australia Council for the Arts, for the creation and recording of new work with Truancy, 2013
Composition grants during 20 consecutive years, Dutch Arts Council, 1992 - 2012
Lecturing and teaching - Princeton University, School of the Arts Institute of Chicago, West Coast Conservatory of Music Vancouver, Dutch Impro Academy, Salamanca Arts Institute (Hobart), etc.
Artistic co-director Doek Foundation including the annual international Doek Festival, 2001-2012
Boardmember of the Arts Council for composition in the Netherlands, 2002-2008
Co-curator of the weekly electronic improvisation series ‘Kraakgeluiden’ in Amsterdam, 2000-2006
Treasurer and chairman of the official Improvising Musicians Union (BIM) in the Netherlands, 1998-2002
‘Wayang Kancil’, educational shadow puppet program about gamelan music and Indonesian culture, 1994-1996
SMA (Music School Foundation), Amsterdam, the Netherlands - piano teacher, 1987
PhD - music composition, University of Sydney, 2013 - 2016
Masters in teaching and piano (improvising music) - Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam, 1983-1989
AMC - Represented artist Australian Music Centre
AFAE - Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology
BOSTES Teacher Accreditation - NSW Education Standards Authority
Fuhler, C., (2017), Disperse and Display, Structural Strategies for Modular Approaches in Compositional and Instrumental Practice, Conundrom Press, Australia.
Fabian, D., Napier, J., (2018), Diversity in Australia's Music: Themes past, present and for the future, chapter 15, Splinter at Mungo, The Art of Communication, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK.
Fuhler, C., (2016), Splinter at Mungo: The Art of Communication (research paper), Sonic Environments :: ACMC, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Brisbane.
Fuhler, C., (2016), A Filter of Noise: The Piano as Installation (performance/installation), Sonic Environments :: ACMC, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Brisbane.
Fuhler, C., (2015), The Partaking Piano: Expanding Concert Practice Through Electronic Actuation. 38th National Conference of the Musicological Society of Australia: Musical Dialogues, 49, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney.
Self Published Articles
Fuhler, C., (2017), Choreographic Music Performance, Connecting with Place, self-published, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., (2017), Music and Sound Design in Open-Air: finding a balance between man-made and environmental, self-published, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., (2016), New Techniques, New Instruments: juxtaposition, modification and design, self-published, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., (2016), The Modular Work: a practical guide and manual for assemblage, self-published, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., (2016), The Partaking Piano, Extended Perspectives: motivations behind customizing, self-published, Sydney
Fuhler, C., (2015), From Couch to Venue: the process of incorporating a new technique into your musical practice, self-published, Sydney.
Creative Works (selection)
Fuhler, C., Delius, T., van der Schyff, D., (2019). Delius - Fuhler - vd Schyff, Fietstour. [Digital Album] WhirrbooM! Records, Vancouver BC, Canada.
Fuhler, C., etc all, (2017), Splinter Orchestra, SiteWorks at Bundanon, NSW.
Fuhler, C., Avenaim, R., Nakamura, T., (2017) FAN, FAN, CD Download release, SoundOut Recordings 004, Canberra.
Fuhler, C., (2017) Solo Upright, Cor Fuhler Solo Piano, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, TAS.
Fuhler, C., (2017) ‘Lucky I am Not’, installation, NOW now Festival, Redfern, NSW.
Fuhler, C., Denley, J., Zach, I., Herbert, M., (2017), Fuhler/Denley/Zach/Herbert, NOW now Festival, Redfern, NSW.
Fuhler. C., (2016), The Keyolin, part of Jon Rose’s exhibition at Carriageworks, Sydney, NSW.
Fuhler, C., et al, (2016) Splinter Orchestra, Mungo, Triple CD release, Splitrec label, Australia.
Fuhler, C., Cohen, M., Cohen, T., Molino, K., Brown-McLeod, J., (2016), The Bundanon Medieval, (science/art project), Siteworks, Bundanon, NSW
Fuhler, C., (2016), Listening Forrest (installation), Tyalgum Music Festival 2016, Tyalgum, NSW.
Fuhler, C., Butler, G., (2016), Gary Butler/Cor Fuhler, Gary Butler & Cor Fuhler, Live Groove Cafe, Leichardt, NSW.
Fuhler, C., Herbert, M., (2016), Fuhler/Herbert, Alpha Waves #8, Erskinville, NSW.
Fuhler, C., Altman, L., (2016), Threshold Poetry, NOWnow Series Edition II, 107 Projects, Redfern, NSW.
Fuhler, C., (2016), Lady Bell and the Rules of Lawn Bowling, installation, Sizzle 2016, Ensemble Offspring, Petersham Bowling Club, Petersham.
Fuhler, C., Denley, J., Stewart, B., Osborne, T., Farrar, P., (2016), TQM4F1, TQM4F1, Bohemian Grove / Lamps, Surry Hills, NSW.
Fuhler, C., Cooper, C., (2016), Picket, Live at Peggy’s, Peggy Glanville Hicks House, Paddington, NSW.
Fuhler, C., Altman, L., (2016), Threshold Poetry, Alpha Waves #5, Alpha Waves Gallery, Erskinville, NSW.
Fuhler, C., Denley, J., Stewart, B., Osborne, T., Farrar, P., (2016), TQM4F1, TQM4F1, Tectonics Adelaide, Adelaide Festival of Arts, 2016.
Fuhler, C., et all, (2016), Air Hockey, Microphony, Splinter Orchestra, Tectonics Adelaide, Adelaide Festival of Arts 2016.
Fuhler, C., Rapp, M., Cosseron, G., (2016), Rapp/Cosseron/Fuhler, Rapp/Cosseron/Fuhler, Soundout Festival 2016, Canberra.
Fuhler, C., (2016), The Rules of Lawn Bowling, installation, In Retrospect, 15 years of Splinter Orchestra, NOW now Festival 2016, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., et all, (2016), Splinter Orchestra, In Retrospect, 15 years of Splinter Orchestra, NOWnow Festival 2016, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., (2016), van Reyk, B., Reyk/Fuhler duo, Day two of the NOW now Festival, NOW now Festival 2016, Sydney
Fuhler, C., (2015), Poisonic Doctors, Ensemble Offspring, Musify+Gamify, Vivid Festival 2015, Seymour Centre, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., Farrar, P., Gorfinkel, D., (2015), Scordatura Angels, Boxcutters Presents, Boxcutters, Newtown, NSW.
Hayward, R., Matsumura, S., Thomas, C., Fuhler, C., (2015), Hayward/Matsumura/Thomas/Fuhler, Hayward - Matsumura - Thomas - Fuhler, Old Darlington School, Darlington, NSW.
Fuhler, C., (2015), Stones Park, 3 Fables, Giwalo Strips I, Wahroonga, Australia.
Fuhler, C., (2015), Usbaël & Usbaïm, Looking for the True Meaning. Giwalo Strips II, Wahroonga, Australia.
Fuhler, C., (2015), Cordially Yours (installation and performance), On Paper, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, NSW.
Fuhler, C., (2014), Tinderbox, Hatched, Ensemble Offspring, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Workshop.
Fuhler, C., (2014), Empty Gizzards, Hatched, Ensemble Offspring, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Workshop.
Fuhler, C., (2014), Jump, Jump, NIMA, Newcastle; Hibernian House, Level 4, Sydney; Foundry 616, Jazzgroove, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., (2014), Please Shoot my Hovercraft, Recital Anna McMichael & Zubin Kanga, ABC Radio, Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, Bendigo VIC; Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Workshop, NSW; Mona Foma Festival, Hobart, TAS.
Fuhler, C., Denley, J., (2014), Truancy - Denley/Fuhler, Truancy, CD/LP release, Splitrec Label, Australia.
Fuhler, C., Denley, J., (2014) Truancy (performance), Splitrec Promotion Tour, MIUC, Bar Open, Melbourne, VIC; Sounding Off, Electronic Music Unit, University of Adelaide, SA; Upstairs@199, Brisbane, QLD; Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, Canberra, ACT; Peoples Republic of Camperdown, Sydney, NSW; Turra New Music, Ellington’s, Perth, WA.
Fuhler, C., Thomas, C., (2014), Fuhler/Thomas, the NOW now, 107 Projects, Redfern, NSW.
Fuhler, C., Myhr, K., Schuit, O., (2014) Fuhler/Myhr/Schuit, Fuhler/Myhr/Schuit, Soundout Festival 2014, Canberra, ACT.
Fuhler, C., Janicki, S., Baxter, S., Thomas, C., (2014), Fuhler/Janicki/Baxter/Thomas, Fuhler - Janicki - Baxter - Thomas, ABC Radio, Soundout Festival, Canberra, ACT.
Fuhler, C., Dorrian, E., Thomas, C., (2014), Fuhler/Dorrian/Thomas, Fuhler - Dorrian - Thomas, Soundout Festival 2014, Canberra.
Fuhler, C., Denley, J., (2014), Fuhler/Denley, Fuhler - Denley, Soundout Festival 2014, Canberra, ACT.
Fuhler, C., (2014), Convexcone, New Music Network and the NOW now present the Splinter Orchestra at PACT, New Music Network, NOW now, PACT Theatre, Erskinville, NSW.
Fuhler, C., (2013 - 2014), 18 Spoonfuls, If that Diamond Ring Turns Brass, Lullabies Old and New, Anna McMichael and Tamara Anna Cislowska, Port Fairy Spring Festival, VIC; Mona Foma Festival, Hobart, TAS; Tyalgum Music Festival, NSW; Peninsula Summer Music Festival, Mornington Peninsula, VIC; Duneira Estate, VIC.
Fuhler, C., (2013) 18 Spoonfuls, Close Your Eyes and I’ll Close Mine, Lullabies Old and New, by Anna McMichael and Tamara Anna Cislowska, CD release, Tall Poppies Records, Australia.
Fuhler, C., Denley, J., (2013), Fuhler - Denley, Fuhler - Denley, the 12th Annual NOW now Festival 2013, The Red Rattler, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., Noetinger, J., Schmickler, M., (2013), Fuhler - Noetinger - Schmickler, Electro Acoustic Sessions: Piano Circus, Grand Theatre, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Rose, J., Curran, A., Fuhler, C., Avenaim, R., (2013), Alvin Curran, Jon Rose, Cor Fuhler and Robbie Avenaim, An Evening with Alvin Curran, Jon Rose, Cor Fuhler and Robbie Avenaim, SIMA, Sound Lounge, Seymour Centre, Sydney.
Fuhler, C., (2013), When Snoopy met Boop, On Loop Ensemble Offspring, Carriage Works, Sydney; Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne.
Avenaim, R., Fuhler, C., Gorfinkel, D., Abrahams, C., (2013), Sonic Systems Laboratory, Sonic Systems Laboratory, ABC Radio, Old Darlington School, Darlington, NSW.
Fuhler, C., (2012), Gas Station Sessions - Corkestra, Gas Station Sessions, CD release, Platenbakkerij Records, Amsterdam.
Mekuria, G., the Ex, Fuhler, C., et all, (2012), Y’Anbessaw Tezeta, Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Friends, CD release, Terp Records, Netherlands.
Fuhler, C., (2012), Seasalt, Corkestra, Dutch Music Week, Centro Culturel Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Fuhler, C., (2012), the Gap Sextet, The Gap Sextet, Doek Festival #10, Bimhuis, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Fuhler, C., Abdelnour, C., Pettigrew, S., (2012), Fuhler/Abdelnour/Pettigrew, Fuhler - Abdelnour - Pettigrew, Soundout Festival, Canberra.
Fuhler, C., Nakamura, T., Avenaim, R., (2012), Fuhler/Nakamura/Avenaim, Fuhler - Nakamura - Avenaim, Soundout Festival, Canberra.
Vogel, S., Fuhler, C., (2012), Vogel/Fuhler, Vogel - Fuhler, Soundout Festival, Canberra, ACT.
Fuhler, C., Bennink, H., de Joode, W., (2012), Fuhler/Bennink/de Joode, Fuhler - Bennink - de Joode, Bimhuis, Amsterdam; Free Willie Festival, Bielefeld, Germany.
Fuhler, C., (2011), Camels and Bumps, Corkestra, North Sea Jazz Festival, Yenisei Hall, Rotterdam.
Fuhler, C., (2011), Keyolin solo, Cor Fuhler, ABC radio, Handmade Music Festival, West Space Gallery, Melbourne.
Fuhler, C., Denley, J., (2011), Fuhler/Denley, Fuhler - Denley, Soundout Festival 2011, Canberra, ACT.
Fuhler, C., Myhr, K., Gorfinkel, D., (2011), Fuhler/Myhr/Gorfinkel, Fuhler - Myhr - Gorfinkel, Soundout Festival 2011, Canberra.
Avenaim, R., Fuhler, C., (2011), Avenaim/Fuhler, Circle Jerk, Revolt Melbourne Artspace, Melbourne.
Fuhler, C., (2011), Solo piano, Fuhler solo, 1885 Britomart, Creative Jazz Club Aotearoa, Auckland, New Zealand.
Johnson, H., Fuhler, C., (2011), Johnson/Fuhler piano duet, Johnson - Fuhler, !!!!Festival of Adventurous Music, Kenneth Meyers Centre, Wellington, New Zealand.
Cor has worked with:
Frances Marie Uiti
Louis Moholo Moholo
Leo 'Wadada' Smith
Dalian Peking Opera Troupe
Jean Jacques Avenel
Bree van Reyk
Le quan Ninh
Clous van Mechelen
I Wayan Sadra
Willem van Manen
Christine Sehnaoui Abdelnour
Günter 'Baby' Sommer
Gamelan Ensemble Widosari
Sally Ann McIntyre
Rene van Barneveld
Martin van Duynhoven
Peter van Bergen
Wilbert de Joode