Sunday, January 14, 2007

Wolfgang Muthspiel Concert

I learned from CnJ 99.9 FM, the only jazz radio in Jakarta, that there would be a live performance of Wolfgang Muthspiel at Rasuna Concert Hall Kuningan, Jakarta. The performance was on Sunday January 14, 2006.

I have never heard the name before, and had never been to the concert hall either. So I did a little research about the musician and later on asked direction about the concert hall location.



I called CnJ and got information about the concert location. It's right after Pasar Festival. Fine. I got also contact number to book the ticket.

Then I called Warta Jazz to get more information, and was picked up by a journalist. Unfortunately he couldn't get firmed information about the performance. Probably because it's sponsored by Austrian Embassy, and also by Medco - the giant oil company, and hence the organizer was not too worry about publication, he said.

He seemingly a little bit disappointed, and decided not to put anything in his web about the performance. Besides, he said, for a solo performance the ticket price was a bit too expensive.

Finally I only went with Dewi, my wife, since my daughter changed her mind at the last minute, and none of my sons were willing to go. The elder played PS, the younger preferred to play on-line games…

We just bought the ticket at the place, guessing that there would be vacant seats for us. We were right.
The ticket price tags were Rp.100,000 for back rows, Rp.150,000 left and right wings, and Rp.350,000 for VIPs in the middle. We decided to seat at the left wing.

There were about 100 people watching the show, in a hall with a capacity of 400. Austrian Ambassador, as the main sponsor, gave the opening speech. The Swiss Ambassador was also there.

At about 8pm, Musthpiels entered the stage, gave a short speech, a light smile, and immediately started the show, playing his fingers around one of his electric guitars. I felt like watching a classical music performance rather than jazz, where people were just sitting quietly and nicely, were afraid of making noises, even noises from camera’s shutter movement.

Watching Musthpiels on the stage was like watching a demonstration of superb and flawless technique in using his ten fingers on the guitars, combined with his foot skills in using kind of sequencer to produce accompanying chords and other back ground sounds.

For me, however, it’s not a perfect performance that I was expecting. It missed the entertainment element of a good live show. Apart from his awesome techniques, he’s just too serious on the stage.

Well, if I could make a little suggestion to Musthpiels, it would be that entertainment element of the show that he needs to add. Then a person like me would have a more memorable time with him, or perhaps I was not the right target audience for Musthpiels?


































Wolfgang Muthspiel was born in the small town of Judenburg, Austria in 1965.
He studied violin at age six, then switched to guitar at age 15. He studied classical and jazz guitar in Graz, Austria.

He won various national competitions for classical music as well as the International Guitar Competition in Mettmann, Germany.

With his brother Christian, a trombonist, pianist and composer, he formed "Duo Due" in 1982. "Duo Due" has performed extensively in Europe, the United States and North Africa and has recorded two albums for amadeo/PolyGram.

In 1986 Muthspiel left Austria and emigrated to the United States, first settling in Boston to study at New England Conservatory with Mick Goodrick and David Leisner. Later he attended Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, graduating "Magna Cum Laude" in 1989.

At Berklee he met Gary Burton, who invited him to fill the guitar chair in the Gary Burton Quintet. With Burton, Wolfgang was featured in close to 200 concerts at jazz venues around the world.

Muthspiel was chosen by Musician magazine as one of the top ten jazz guitarists in 1994 and was named Jazz Musician of the Year in Austria, 1997, by the Prime Minister of Austria.

He was awarded the Allstar Award for Outstanding Musicianship; and he won the Gold Medal Award at "Musicfest USA," Orlando, Florida, a jazz competition hosted by Downbeat Magazine.