Thomas Myrmel

Art Form(s)

Film/Video, Music, Performance Art, Theater


[email protected]

I am interested in collaborative work.


Artist Statement

Throughout the last 25 years as a composer, I have continually returned to the investigation of two main themes in my work: 1) the gestures and movements inherent to sound production. 2) The relationship between acoustic and electronic sound. For me, sound is a product of the Gesture, which the audience receives with their eyes as well as their ears. This has lead me to focus on the physicality which is essential to the production of sound, the tension and release which are built into the act of music- making. In my work Wings Imparted (2013) I examined the conventional way the performer's body is shaped by the harp, and challenged this convention with a detailed sonic choreography for two harps and one harpist. Both of my percussion solo works Hitgalut (2004) and Divide Standing (2014), are based on a series of gestures which carries the performer through a vector in space. In my music-theater production Poolse Minnaar (2014), I collaborated with a stage designer to incorporate several of my self built instruments into the set, thereby completely integrating the musical gesture and the stage direction. My other focus is also evident in the Poolse Minnaar: my use of electronics to extend the sonic vocabulary of acoustic instruments. Through years of development, I have accumulated an extensive library of sonic extensions idiomatic to specific instruments and performers. Beginning with SymetemiS (Recorders, guitar and live electr. 2003) I expanded the limited dynamic range of the recorders, created an evolving timbre manipulation and counterpoint of extended technique. Gauntlet (2013) for two trombones and live electr, conferred contrasting electronic treatments to each horn, which extended them into two wildly different instruments. In my solo for violin and live electr Lent and Break (2017), I created an electronic component which magnified the minute overlooked sounds inherent to the reaction of bow and string. These studies culminated in the opera production De Cornet (2010,) where the individual electronic extensions integrated into the symphonic orchestra. Next to the individual instrumental treament, I composed a “meta extension” of the sound of the complete orchestra, expanding the dramatic language and expression of the piece. Together they augmented the conventional symphonic orchestral sound into a tapestry spanning the breadth of the sonic spectrum. As I accumulate research with a growing number of musicians, investigating their individual idiomatic potential, I focused increasingly on the musicians themselves, writing with a progressively higher priority for the individual over the instrument. This enabled me to concentrate on the performer's movements, gestures, and idiosyncratic mannerisms, building electronic extensions unique to their expression and character. No piece exemplifies this idiomatic focus more clearly than Pigeonhouse (2009). This idiomatic approach to musicians and their stage presence compelled me to challenge the limited physical expression I saw in the performance of electronic music. In 2005, I began building an electronic instrument which consists of motion tracking hardware and a MAX/MSP patch. This instrument traces the movements of the fingers, hand and arm in space, translating them into sonic data. Using this gesture controller I was able to perform electronics with a level of expression similar to those of acoustic instrumentalists. Going forward, the significant life changes of having two children, relocating to Minneapolis, Corona, and the murder of George Floyd have given me pause to re-evaluate my compositional path and its relationship to society. While I have always embraced themes of social transformation and challenging commonly held beliefs, this past year has urgently called me to do more, cultivate more explicit connections to the issues which this past year has laid bare. With this in mind, I have begun to actively search for of non-white background whose voices inform my creation in new and fulfilling ways. Finally, I am currently working on an album of art-songs based on my trip to Antarctica which will explore the intricate and precarious relationship of humans to the planet.

Thomas Myrmel (1982, USA) is a composer, performer and multifaceted artist, weaving the notions of social change, craftsmanship and creative expression into every aspect of his practice. He uses the techniques he acquired while studying composition at Conservatories in Rennes (FR) Chicago (USA) and Amsterdam (NL) to create music theater productions and performance art as well autonomous music in festivals throughout Europe, the middle east, the USA and Japan. His focus on collaboration has lead him to work with a wide range of artists such as composers Wilbert Bulsink, Anat Spiegel, Bart de Vrees, visual artists Keren Cytter, Noa Giniger, Zhana Ivanova, choreographers Valentina Campora, Inari Salmivaara, Hilary Blake-Firestone, and directors Nicola Nord, Sjaron Minailo, Matthias Mooij and Karin Netten.

Complimenting these performative collaborations, Thomas has also co-founded the art collective The Living Room(s) creating socially engaged exhibitions, performances and events, as well at Music for Music foundation, which facilitated musical exchange between European conservatories and refugee camps in the middle east. He is also co-founder of composer collective Monotak and the musicians organisation Splendor.
As a technically experienced musician, I have extensive work editing, mixing and mastering a wide range of recorded sound art, spatialized sound, and live sound reinforcement. These are skills that I am keen to share with other artists as the need arises.
In addition to these technical skills, I have also extensive experience in artistic production, event production, and project management.

I also provide composition, electronic music, trombone lessons.