EPhB had a central role in the mediation project “Waterways” as part of the biennial festival “ZeitRäume Basel” 2017. The initial idea came from the architect Raul Mera, who had long been interested in the hidden water veins that run underneath Basel’s city center. He was especially interested in hidden canals, such as the one that carries the waters of Birsig river from the zoo to Basels “Mittlere Brücke”. Raul’s concern was to make these water veins tangible, palpable and audible for the population. The project was based on a now 35-year-old project by Herzog & de Meuron, which was never implemented: fountains and open channels on the market square. The renowned German composer Carola Bauckholt and her composition class at the Anton Bruckner Private University Linz were enlisted for the musical elaboration. She realized this idea together with the EPhB and with students of Basel high school classes.
The project travelled as a co-production to Wien Modern and took place around and in (!) the lake at Prater.
The first concert of the EPhB series in 2017 took place in co-production with the Museum Tinguely Basel in the context of the exhibition “Music Machines / Machine Music”. Since the 1940s, the American composer Conlon Nancarrow has written almost exclusively compositions for pianola or player piano, as the instrument is called in America. This instrument was invented at the turn of the century and has inspired composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, George Antheil and others to write works for it. Nancarrow has written over 50 “studies” that are not feasible for human hands and fingers. East German composer Wolfgang Heisig met Nancarrow in Paris in the 1990s and has since specialized in reconstructing Nancarrow’s rolls – as a composer, he writes solo works as well as ensemble works with phonola (a machine that is placed in front of a “normal” piano and moves the keys instead of a live pianist). With his strong affinity for unusual sound production, Basel composer Alex Buess contributes a new work for phonola, ensemble and live electronics.