Hauschka (Volker Bertelmann) is an independent experimental musician based in Dusseldorf, Germany who is internationally recognized as a 21st century exponent of prepared piano technique, a tradition dating back to late 19th and early 20th century French composer Erik Satie. The piano is prepared when "preparations" (consisting of nearly any conceivably applicable object or material) are inserted between the strings or onto the hammers of the instrument; a wider application of the term takes in all manner of additional modifications that expand the sonic and operative possibilities of the piano. Hauschka has successfully combined the chamber music aspect of prepared piano (see composers Henry Cowell, John Cage, Christian Wolff, Max Richter, Maurice Delage, and Arvo Pärt) with pop, rock, and electronic sensibilities. Incredibly, this puts him in league with such diverse artists as easy listening duo Ferrante & Teicher; rockers John Cale of the Velvet Underground, Tom Constanten of the Grateful Dead, Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, Terry Adams of NRBQ, David Bowie, Elton John, the Waitresses, Eddie Van Halen, and Tori Amos; electronica's mad scientist Aphex Twin; Ernst Horn of the darkwave ensemble Deine Lakaien; and jazz pianist Brad Mehldau.
Hauschka's music might be said to reference (inadvertently perhaps) all of these aspects of the prepared piano equation, and he could even be regarded as a conceptual cousin of Denman Maroney, Erik Griswold, Sylvain Chaveau, and Anthony Pateras. His playfully repetitive constructs, which certainly reflect the influence of Satie, are also at times reminiscent of early keyboard works by Philip Glass or something from out of the minds of Terry Riley and Steve Reich. His best work suggests the achievements of Frank Pahl, Pascal Comelade, Yann Tiersen, and Henry Brant as well as the self-perpetuating modalities associated with gamelan. Hauschka, who with Luke Sutherland and Stefan Schneider is a member of Music A.M., has collaborated with Torsten Mauss to actuate the club/electronic duo Tonetraeger. With several albums, an EP, and a 2008 Eurasian tour to his credit, Hauschka is an inspiring example of a musician who is unimpeded by stylistic boundaries or conventional notions of marketability.[AMG arwulf arwulf]