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Knurl quartet – open call

Knurl Quartet is a one year residency in collaboration between Gaudeamus, instrument inventors initiative, Knurl lab and Rewire. During the development trajectory of the composer and cellist Rafaele Andrade and her own made instrument, Knurl, Rafaele will develop with three other cellists a multimedia performance composed by her to be performed at Gaudeamus 2023 and Rewire 2024. 

This is Knurl, an electroacoustic cello that offers to its musician the practice of diverse voice control, where each sound can be independently maintained and led by different sound techniques on-the-fly. It is a result of a personal impression towards the standard music practice, where artistic quality can become a synonym of integration, inclusion and diversity thinking by allowing different perceptions and hierarchies into music composition design.
When playing, Knurl has few actuators that can be defined on-the-fly to orient one of the possible 4 sonic layers. Those actuators are: Machine learning system, sound trackers (machine listening), tasks, patterns, envelope or a simple slider (potmeter).

Knurl is made with recycled bioplastic collected at the BENELUX ocean area, and designed open source by some members of the live coding community in the Netherlands. It runs and modifies its sound by the microcontroller bela, connected with motion sensors, touch buttons, potmeters and capacitive sensors. Knurl’s mission is to empower musicians to create performances with the assistance of digital applications. It also became a platform for an interactive and engaged performance with its audience, since the instrument has a web platform where users can control and manipulate the sound of the instrument live.

Development trajectory
The musicians will be encouraged to become developers of their own musical ideas. To do so, they will be practicing Knurl for the course of a year, discussing and making together musical elements reinterpreted based on their background playing cello. Rafaele’s intention is to make Knurl grow from an instrument to a platform for other artists to explore their own artistic practices.

By the end of the trajectory, the musicians will obtain a diverse range of skills and experience of practicing a new music instrument in a standard group scenario. We will be driven by the research question “How does a new musical instrument and musician redefine its role when it is part of a music group?”


How to submit

Submission are due Sunday, August 15th, 2022. Send us the following:

  • A motivation video (tell your story, your specialization, background and why do you feel connected with cello and new
  • A previous work (your composition, a performance, whatever you think it represents you the best!)

PS: the video quality won’t be judged in this stage

Who are we looking for

  • Cellists who are open minded and curious about innovative practices and new music
  • Cellists used to improvise and develop creative skills into their practice
  • Not obligated but a pro: Some Expertise with electronics, recording and working with interfaces
  • Musicians who are involved into cultural/musical practices and exploring reinterpretations of it (neoclassical music, iranian temperaments, for example )
  • We are committed to providing an inclusive working environment and we strongly encourage people of diverse backgrounds to apply, especially people who consider themselves underrepresented in this research field.

What will be offered

  • Each cellist/ Knurl player will receive one Knurl to practice (in the first meeting of 2023)
  • Full Compensation fee for rehearsals (for each participant): € 1.400,00
  • Full compensation for performance at Gaudeamus (for each participant): € 350,00
  • To be confirmed: Full compensation for performance at Rewire (for each participant).
  • Access to the facilities and tools at the instrument inventors initiative
  • Full video documentation of the residency, showcasing each participants and its practice (All participants must to agree to be recorded)

On the basis of the application you can join a first workshop on september 11 to discover the possibilities of Knurl. After the workshop three cellists are selected to form a quartet for the Knurl residency. We will explore and discuss innovative ways to extend and explore your music practice beyond the instruments through the practice and development of your own ideas. Rafaele will present a short introduction of Knurl’s interface, allowing the participants to try by themselves the practice that Knurl is representing.

Date: 11th September
Where: Utrecht, specific location TBA
What to bring: Bring your own cellos, interfaces and tools that you most feel comfortable or engage to explore
Participants: maximum 10

Residency / rehearsal dates
The three chosen performers will meet 8 times over the course of 2023 to get to know the knurl and each other and create a performance. These are the approximate dates:

  • 3rd week February, 2023 (3 hours)
  • 1st week January, 2023 (3 hours)
  • 1st week June, 2023 (3 hours)
  • 1st week August, 2023 (3 hours)
  • 1st week September, 2023 (6 hours, 2 meetings)
  • 2nd week September, 2023 (3 hours)
  • 4th week March, 2024 (6 hours, 2 meetings)
  • 1st week April, 2024 (3 hours)

Dates of final performance:

  • Gaudeamus 11th September 2023
  • Rewire 2024 (dates to be confirmed)