Iskandar Widjaja: Mercy | Neue Meister 0301115NM

Iskandar Widjaja: Mercy


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Label: Neue Meister

Cat No: 0301115NM

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 7th September 2018



Iskandar Widjaja (violin)


Iskandar Widjaja (violin)


Iskandar Widjaja just doesn’t line up with the image of a musician on the classical music scene. As the ambassador of a new generation he simply can’t be pigeonholed as representing this or that genre. He connects worlds: as soloist with internationally renowned ensembles – from the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the Munich, Warsaw and Shanghai Philharmonics to the Hong Kong Sinfonietta – and equally as a performer at mass-media events like Miss World or Miss Earth, the Milan EXPO or Paris Fashion Week. He has long been a TV star in East Asia with regular television appearances, commercial advertising contracts and “trending topic” status on Twitter. In his new project Mercy, Iskandar Widjaja presents a broad musical spectrum with a closely interwoven thematic structure, summing up his achievement to date and opening a new phase of his life.

Mercy begins with an improvisation on the composition “River Flows In You” by the South Korean pianist Yiruma. The British composer Max Richter, whose habitual field of operations is the electronic, ambient and film score scene, contributes the title track “Mercy”. A quiet, almost meditative work for piano and violin, it is framed by congenial segments with works by Arvo Pärt and Johann Sebastian Bach. “This project gave me the chance to give my imagination free rein and translate earlier experiments on the concert platform into the environment of the recording studio. I thought about what I would like to hear on disc myself, taking into account the reaction of my audience.” Long-time friends and associates – like the Italian electronic music artist Giordano Franchetti, who created a sound synthesis with NASA “space sounds”, or pianist Friedrich Wengler, whom Widjaja has known since his schooldays – accompany him on his new album. The greatest challenge proved to be the piece “Eneril” (inspired by J.S. Bach’s plea for mercy “Erbarme dich”), in which the vocal part was taken by Mongolian singer Urna Chahar-Tugchi, who grew up in a shepherd family in the grasslands of Ordos. “We took a risk, because Urna has a totally different approach to classical music and in any case she does not work with musical notation.” The result is a track that is Iskandar Widjaja all over: wandering between worlds, never without a homeland, being at home everywhere.

The release of Mercy on the Berlin Neue Meister label lays the foundation for an international concert tour in the late summer and fall of 2018.

“His music is out of this world, yet deeply relatable and warm. Iskandar is a force to be reckoned with.”
– Cameron Carpenter

“An artist who impresses me with his skills, but especially with his – in the best sense of the word – unconventional and deeply convincing musical statement: Iskandar Widjaja.” – Christoph Eschenbach

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