ORIENTAL SPACE European Lebanese Improvisation Berlin debut
Mazen Kerbaj sax, tr (Beirut) Sharif Sehnaoui e-guitar (Beirut) Franz Hautzinger tr (Wien) Helge Hinteregger electronics (Wien)

Oriental Space” was formed in late 2003 by Austrian trumpet player Franz Hautzinger following his two visits to Lebanon, the first to play traditional quartertone trumpet with Palestinian folk singer Marwan Abado, and the second to work and perform with Mazen Kerbaj in the frame of the “Irtijal” festival for experimental and improvised music. The quartet came as an enhancement of his ongoing duo work with Mazen Kerbaj, both bringing in their most regular partners: Helge Hinteregger and Sharif Sehnaoui. Hautzinger and Hinteregger have both been central figures of the prolific Viennese contemporary and improvised music scene, taking part in the extreme minimalist tendency of the 90s as well as electronic music. Recently their style has diversified and they may take part in various projects ranging a wide variety of styles both with their own groups: Regenorchester, Zeitkratzer, Conforts of Madness… or in collaboration with artists such as Radu Malfatti, Otomo Yoshihide, Phil Niblock, John Tilbury, Lou Reed, Luc Ex or Roger Turner to name but a few.‚Ä®Kerbaj and Sehnaoui have been two of the main boosts for the burgeonin Lebanese improvised music scene that they contributed to launch in the year 2000, both by creating the “Irtijal” festival and “Al Maslakh” label. Their style has primarily focused on dense textural improvisation based on an extreme hijacking of their respective instrument by means of extended and prepared techniques. They have widely performed around the globe both in duo and with their main groups: “A” Trio, Moukhtabar Ensemble, Rouba3i… or in collaboration with musicians such as Michael Zerang, Stéphane Rives, Lê Quan Ninh or David Stackenäs among many others. Franz Hautzinger’s “Oriental Space” is the opening of an undetermined subjective space that does not correspond or refer to any specific style of music but rather to Hautzinger’s unique inner experience of the orient

Mazen Kerbaj
grew up in a Beirut family of film actors. He is a cartoonist, visual artist and musician and provoked a lot of attention during the last Lebanon war in 2006 through a weblog where he documented war incidents with his daily drawings. He lives and works in Beirut.

Sharif Sehnaoui spent his childhood in his hometown in Beirut before he relocated to Paris. He is of one of the most important representatives of the generation of Lebanese-French musicians that have dedicated themselves mainly to avant-garde and abstract music. 

IMPROV BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL debut
Heather O’Donnell keyboard, piano (Berlin) Sabine Vogel flute, electronics
(Potsdam) Tony Buck percussion (Berlin) Joëlle Khoury piano (Beirut)

The quartet was created for the fesitival. It is the first collaboration of Berlin and Beirut based musicians from different musical fields: rock, contemporary music, jazz and improvisation.

American pianist Heather O'Donnell has emerged as a distinctive and probing new voice on the music scene, presenting a repertoire that spans the 18th through the 21st-century with "masterful playing" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), "fine intelligence" (Philharmonic Magazine), and "fiery performances" (the Village Voice). She has performed throughout Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Recent Festivals include MaerzMusik (Berlin), Festival Agora (Paris), Peterhof Festival (St. Petersburg), Indaba Festival (Grahamstown, South Africa), the Chopin Festival (New York), Eclat Festival (Stuttgart), and Tanglewood Festival (Massachussets). She gave solo recitals all over the world, for example in
Amman, Kraków, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Beijing, Moscow, New York, and Berlin; she was a soloist with the St. Petersburg State Symphony, the Romanian State Philharmonic in Ploiesti, the DalSegno Chamber Orchestra, and the Harvard Orchestra. Heather O'Donnell plays a wide range of music, from Bach's Goldberg Variations through major works of the early 20th-century (e.g. Charles Ives's- Concord Sonata, Maurice Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit), continuing on to a passionate involvement with contemporary music. She gave over 30 world-premieres of solo piano works (including pieces by Luciano Berio, Walter Zimmermann and James Tenney) and is the dedicatee of works by several composers (including Michael Finnissy, Frederic Rzewski, and Oliver Schneller). She was featured on Deutschland Radio, Radio France, and Deutsche Welle Television and gave lectures and masterclasses at Columbia University (New York), New England Conservatory (Boston), Universität der Künste (Berlin) and Rhodes University (South Africa). Heather O'Donnell was the first prize winner and the recipient of the Gaudeamus Foundation Prize in the Fifth Krzysztof Penderecki International Competition in Kraków, Poland. CD projects for 2008 include new recordings on Mode Records, Kairos
Records, and Wergo. She was the artistic director of many commissioning projects including "Responses to Ives" and "Piano optophonique". Heather O'Donnell began studying piano at the age of five and was most influented by her teachers and mentors Charles Milgrim, Stephen Drury and Peter Serkin. She also worked closely with Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, Emanuel
Ax, and Claude Helffer. Aside from her musical life, she is an avid reader and amateur painter, and took several courses in Philosophy and Literature at the New School for Social Research and Columbia University. From 2000-2002 she was the assistant of philosopher Paul Edwards at the New School for Social Research.

Sabine Vogel was born in Munich, studied jazz-flute at the Anton Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria. Sabine Vogel focuses on sound and improvisation, using extended techniques both acoustic as well as electronic, creating a very personal contemporary language for the flute. In 2000 Sabine Vogel moved to Berlin, since 2005 she has been living in Potsdam. She has a busy concert schedule with performances in Europe and throughout America, working privately in group ensembles as well as collaborating with New Music composers, a.o. Alex Nowitz, Swedish composers Malin Bång, Mattias Petersson and the Japanese composer Shintaro Imai. She played with the Anthony Braxton 12tet, which had its worldpremier on the
Free Music Festival in Antwerp in August 2005. She has played and worked a.o. with Arto Lindsay, Tony Buck, Jim Denley, Chris Abrahams, Jack Wright, Axel Dörner, Andrea Neumann, Chris Dahlgren, Schwimmer, Ensemble Zwischentöne and the Walter Thompson Soundpainting Orchestra.

Born in Sydney in 1962, Tony Buck is regarded as one of Australia's most creative and adventurous exports, with vast experience across the globe. He has been involved in a highly diverse array of projects. Apart from The Necks, he is probably best known as leader of hardcore/impro band PERIL. Early in his musical life, after having graduated from the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, he became very involved in the jazz scene in Australia, often touring with visiting international artists such as Vincent Herring, Clifford Jordan, Mickey Tucker, Branford Marsalis and Ernie Watts, as well as Australians Mark Simmonds, Paul Grabowsky, The catholics, Sandy Evans and Dale Barlow. Following time spent in Japan, where he formed PERIL with Otomo Yoshihide and Kato Hideki, Tony moved to Europe, and has involved himself in many projects there, including the development of new "virtual" MIDI controllers at STEIM in Amsterdam. Tony has played, toured or recorded with, among others, Jon Rose, Nicolas Collins, Tenko, John Zorn, Tom Cora, Phil Minton, Haino, Switchbox, The
Machine for Making Sense, Ne Zhdall, The EX, Peter Brotzmann, Hans Reichel, The Little Red Spiders, Subrito Roy Chowdury, Clifford Jordan, Kletka Red, Han Bennink, Shelley Hirsch, Wayne Horvitz, Palinckx, and Ground Zero.

Joëlle Khoury piano player, improvisator and composer from Beirut is mainly known for her jazz projects. She founded the jazz quintet “In-Version” 1994 that released two CDs. She is a professor at the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music and teaches piano and “Introduction into Music of the 20th Century”. Furthermore she studies music and economic scientific studies at the George Mason University in Virginia, USA and received her master of Philosophy at the University St. Joseph in Beirut. With her jazz quintet she has performed at various festivals in Lebanon, France and the Czech Republic. During the last years she collaborated more and more with the electronic musician Tarek Atoui. Recently he developed the electronics for the successful world premier of the monodrame “Dream She is...” composed by Joëlle Khoury for Fadia Tomb El-Hage. Their new Jazz-Noise-Quartet is called “Lap-Bop”, crossing boundaries between each of their clashing musical genres.