String Quartet “Heartland”

Project                     Crowdfunding                     Producer                     Updates

PROJECT description (by Markus Reuter)
String Quartets

My idea is to write my first “String Quartet”, meaning a cycle of string quartet pieces. I see the music as an “album” in the traditional sense, not just a compilation of pieces. The goal is not to get them premiered/performed first, but to record them in a beautiful way with classical music producer and label owner Dirk Fischer of Solaire Records, Berlin. The music will get presented as a Deluxe Edition CD with beautiful artwork and a thick booklet with extensive liner notes written by Dirk's brother, music journalist Tobias Fischer. The official album release is scheduled for March/April 2019.

In addition we are looking at getting the scores published so that string quartets world-wide will have access to these pieces. Individual sections will also work as standalone compositions, which may increase the chances of this music to get played in public at some point.

Dirk suggested the Dutch “Matangi Quartet” as the string quartet to actually perform and record these pieces. He played them some of my other music and they liked it and have agreed on a recording date in mid-October. 

I do feel very inspired to do this work, and in terms of my development as a composer I see this as an important step. However, I'm actually feeling slighty intimidated by the prospect of writing this music. Recently I've been rather disappointed with the music that is being made by my peers, and I would like to do something more uncompromising, but I have no clear answer yet what that means in practice. I'm in research mode at the moment, working with a rather new kind of musical raw material.

Anyway, thank you very much for considering to support this project. I'm excited and curious...  

Markus Reuter

CROWDFUNDING (by Cédric Theys)
How do we make this project happen?

I decided to help Markus with this ambitious project when he first mentioned it in late 2017. I met Markus at a show in Boulder, CO back in 2011 and got to know him much better a year later at a music camp up in the Catskill, where for the first time I got to try the instrument he builds and plays, the U8 (I'm a proud owner of one!). Over the years we've crossed paths quite a bit and worked together on several endeavors. For this particular project, I advised him I would like to handle the logistics of the crowdfunding so he can focus on the music.

Of course this rather big writing/recording project needs funding. Your support is greatly appreciated and invaluable. Without you, the music would certainly stay on a piece of paper tucked away somewhere, collecting dust.

We decided to do this "crowdfunding" 100% DIY that is why we're doing this here on Markus' website. You will still have the opportunity to get some things in return for your generosity (see below). We are using PayPal to collect the funds; its a very secure way of doing it and the funds will go directly to the project with minimal service fees from PayPal, banks, etc. Please note that if your account is not verified you will have a maximum limit you can send (it varies per account) which will be lifted once you verify your account with PayPal (2-3 day process). There, you know everything.

The minimum goal is 10,000 EUR, which will cover the costs of recording, hiring the musicians, flights or train rides and food and lodging while recording, design, graphics, liner notes and manufacturing of the album. Anything over that amount will allow us to promote the music more, do some filming for a short documentary and the rest would pay Markus for writing the music.

So here are the options for your pledges:

- €10-25 / $13-32: download of the as-of-yet untitled string quartet album
- €26-39 / $33-49: signed CD of the as-of-yet untitled string quartet album
- €40-100 / $50-125: signed CD of the as-of-yet untitled string quartet album & the music score in PDF
- €101-150 / $126-189: all of the above and your name in the "thank you" section of the artwork
- €151 / $190: all of the above and a personalized soft cover book version of the scores
- €500 / $620: all of the above and a 30 minutes Skype conversation with Markus Reuter about the project
- €1000/ $1240: Executive Producer credit and all of the above
- €3000 / $3750: all of the above plus a 1-page piece of music (for a musical instrument of your choice or a small ensemble with up to 3 instruments of your choice) written exclusively for you, printed/personalized/signed/framed, and our eternal gratitude.

If you have further questions/concerns, please write to me at cedric"dot"theys"at"madducksrecords"dot"com

From the PRODUCERS (by Tobias Fischer)

Solaire was officially founded in 2015. But it's literally been on Dirk's and my minds for more than a decade. Each of our releases details our passion for great album releases, from exceptional music via insightful liner notes  to exquisite packaging. It's not so much a 'labour of love' and it certainly isn't a business venture. To  us, it feels like an expression of our life, the experiences we've made and the desire to share these with as many listeners as possible.

The musicians we love to work with take a similar approach to art. They tend to work within their own ideals and philosophies, using their own vocabulary and concepts. Some of them are incredibly talented at drawing in large audiences. Others want to deal with nothing but the music. All of them share the belief that music is more than a passive experience, that is not about consumption but communication, that art can not be separated from life.

When we first met Markus many years ago, when the label didn't even formally exist yet, it was instantly clear to us that we had found someone special. We were thrilled by his first steps into the world of contemporary composing, his sheer commitment, by the epic scope of "Todmorden 513" and its ability to create a bridge that leads from courage to beauty.

Since then, the idea of an album of original compositions for Solaire has always been on the table, the subject of many inspiring conversations over good food, of epic discussions in person or via email. On our end, it was a purely selfish desire: Markus has developed a distinct personal language and a compositional system that yields astoundingly original results. If there's ever been a music that feels fresh and yet familiar at a time when these terms have become exchangeable and stale, this is it. We simply want to be able to have permanent access to it and to be able to listen to it in the best possible sound quality.

Releasing a classical recording is expensive. Even established labels have reverted to drawing in corporate sponsors, shying away from investing in new composers. We have never wanted to go down that route. "This Recording was Funded by No One", printed in the liner notes of most of our records, has become our tongue in cheek corporate slogan. By supporting Markus' crowdfunding campaign, you can turn that phrase around without having to go down the route of big business.

Most of all, you will help him support his music without compromise. We've seen the scores to the pieces he's written and heard performances of them and we can tell you: If you love Markus' work, you wouldn't want it any other way.



02/08/2019: 'Heartland' can now be ordered in many formats. Please go here:

: The release date for 'Heartland' has been made public today, as well as a short video teaser/preview.


Markus writes "Thanks to Dutch Rall for the amazing video work, the Matangi Quartet for their incredible skill and musicality, and to Tobias Fischer and Dirk Fischer of Solaire Records for having encouraged me to do this. Special thanks to the financial backers. Without you this would not have happened."

10/21/2018: From Markus: "I couldn't be happier with the 2 days of recording "Heartland". The whole team as well as the circumstances were just perfect. All 8 compositions were played beautifully by the Matangi Quartet and recorded in surround at 24bit/192khz by Dirk Fischer in a beautifully sounding church. Dutch Rall was taking still photos of the performers and of me, shot performance video footage during the first day and filmed interviews with all involved people on the second day. Tobias Fischer conducted the interviews. We're aiming at releasing the album in April 2019. Stay tuned for more updates."


10/08/2018: From Markus: "For logistical reasons the recording dates have been moved to the 17th
and 18th of October and it will take place in a church in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Dutch Rall will be there to film the process including interviews with people that have been involved with the project."

09/17/2018: An update from Markus on the string quartets: "My pieces for string quartet are completed! :-)"
The rehearsal dates before the recording session will take place on September 27th, October 4th and October 9th.

From the Bogota airport en route to Guatemala.
07/01/2018: As most of you know, the crowdfunding part of the project is over and thanks to all of you, it was a great success! Markus is already writing the music and has half of it done. We were also able to get someone (we'll keep the name under wraps for the moment) to come to the studio in Amsterdam and film for the project. The extra funds are helping to make this happen!  Keep an eye here for other updates. Though they come too much apart, feel confident that all the time is not wasted and things are happening.

05/01/2018: What a month can do! The project is definitely going to get done now that we're so close to reaching the 100% mark. More updates will be coming once the campaign closes and the actual production is under way. Thanks you to everyone who is coming on this adventure with us!

03/27/2018: Here are a few pictures of the studio where the string quartet will be recorded at sometime in October. And the campaign is at 85%! We're in the last stretch, thanks so much.





03/13/2018: Sorry for the radio silence but I wanted to let you know that as of today we are at a bit over 75% of goal. In a month, that's not too shabby! Thanks to everyone who contributed.

02/24/2018: As of today, we've reached over 60% of the goal! Thank you to everyone who has contributed. It now seems possible that some of the extra things we were hoping on doing might even happen. Lets surpass the goal!

02/18/2018: After just a few days we are already past 25% of goal! Thanks to everyone who pledged early in the process. Still lots to do but the project is finally moving forward after being on standby for a few years.

02/12/2018: After a few weeks figuring out administrative details for the project to be set up, we're finally making this page live!