Thomas Ankersmit Live performance | SIMULTAN Festival 2023

In 2023, the Serge Modular synthesizer celebrates its 50th anniversary. Originally developed by Serge Tcherepnin in 1973, it is widely considered one of the most powerful and versatile electronic instruments of the analog era. 

Unlike more well-known companies like Moog and ARP, Tcherepnin wasn’t interested in synthesizers as a tool for simulating traditional instruments (piano, organ, etc) in a cheaper or more portable package. Instead, he focussed on the potential of electronics to create previously unheard sounds and entirely new forms of music. The Serge Modular was deliberately sold without a manual or a traditional keyboard, encouraging experimentation.

To celebrate the anniversary, Issue Project Room in New York has commissioned Thomas Ankersmit to create new live music exclusively using the Serge Modular (so no digital effects or other equipment), and after the premiere in early 2023 he'll be touring with the material.

Following a recommendation from Maryanne Amacher, the Serge Modular has been Ankersmit's main instrument since 2006. With this new project, he'll be exploring the boundaries of its capabilities to create an almost organic, musique concrète-like sound world, but he’ll also be going "back to the essentials" with a more purely electric/electronic sound. The music exists in the tension between abstraction and a more cinematic sound: noise, crackle, hiss, pulsation become thunder, fire, rain, heartbeat - with Ankersmit trying to "breathe life" into the electricity.

Thomas Ankersmit is a musician and sound artist based in Berlin and Amsterdam. He plays the Serge Modular synthesizer, both live and in the studio, and collaborates with artists like Phill Niblock and Valerio Tricoli.

His music is released on the Shelter Press, PAN, and Touch labels, and combines intricate sonic detail and raw electric power, with a very physical and spatial experience of sound. Acoustic phenomena such as infrasound and otoacoustic emissions (sounds emanating from inside the head, generated by the ears themselves) play an important role in his work, as does a deliberate, creative misuse of the equipment.



Photo credit: André Delhaye

The project is part of the national cultural program “Timișoara – European Capital of Culture in 2023” and is financed and organized in partnership with the Municipality of Timișoara through the Center for Projects.

Part of

SIMULTAN Festival 2023

SIMULTAN Festival 2023