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Jeff Krieger
Jeffrey Krieger - Electric Cello
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WEBLOG   |   Featured Work: Shadows & Light for solo e-cello and real-time effects by Ken Steen. >>

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E-Cello Repertoire List

Some of the works in this list have very specific instructions for the electronics often with diagrams accompanying the score. The electronic interpretation for some other of the works is left up to the performer with loose parameters in text or no instructions at all.

NOTE: A MAX/MSP software patch can now be substituted for outboard gear such as an Alesis Quadraverb or a Digitech Harmonizer.

Osvaldas BALAKAUSKAS (Lithuania) has written several colorful works for electric cello. I like to use one of the first ‘real-time’ analog effects, the wah pedal recommended by the composer. Otherwise, the electronics are open to interpretation by the performer and can be very simple. The performer must make a tape or sequencer part for Heterophony, Orgija and Katarsis. The tape part for Solza-Gala is available from the composer. Medium difficulty.

Heterophony (1980) for electronic cello and sequencer (8:15)
Solza-Gala (1995) for electronic cello and tape. (12:40)
Orgija and Katarsis (1979) for electronic cello with flute and multiple percussion. (13:00)

Published by PWM Edition

Born Dancin' (1989) for electronic cello and drum machine by Eve BEGLARIAN (USA) was one of the first works I commissioned for the e-cello. I wanted something very contemporary, funky and fun. Born Dancin’ was inspired by the short story The Baby by Donald Barthelme. The story is read by the performer followed by the music. The drum machine (tape) plays the part of the uptight father and the e-cello the part of the baby. The piece features a multi-effects processor such as an Alesis Quadraverb with very funky effects. Medium difficulty. (15:00)

Hear this online at

Eloise (1990) for electronic cello and sampled cello sounds also by Eve BEGLARIAN (USA) follows in the same spirit as the above work. The work was inspired by the book of the same title by Kay Thompson. Eloise is six and lives at the Plaza Hotel in NYC. The titles of the individual movements reflect the music: a six year olds pride of self-definition; a playful child goosing a pompous teacher; a bad kid running down the hall of the hotel hitting sticks against the walls; a child enraged; a child lonely. Jazzy-pop inspired pieces featuring multi-effects from an Alesis Quadraverb. Medium difficulty. (18:21)

Hear this online at

Published by Eve Beglarian

The Lead Plates of the ROM Press (1990) by Jonathan BERGER (USA) uses the software program MAX and a pitch-to-MIDI converter for the e-cello that enables the computer to follow the performer and respond by playing sampled sounds. The Rom Press was a publishing house in Poland known for its editions of Yiddish poetry and Talmudic tracts. During the Nazi occupation members of the Resistance attempted to melt down the plates of these great literary works and religious tracts in order to produce ammunition. It is an extremely powerful, riveting work. Difficult. (11:53)

Recorded for New World Records CD NWCR680

leaving (1993) for electronic cello and digital effects also by Jonathan BERGER (USA) is another work worth looking at. Quirky but cool! Features a Quadraverb and a harmonizer. Difficult. (11:17)

Published by Maor Music Publications

Wild Oysters (1993) by Neely BRUCE (USA) is a set of short electronic pieces in twelve movements. For each movement the e-cello sound is processed in a unique way i.e. in one of the movements the cellist plays double stops through a harmonizer that produces a four-part harmony effect as in a choral further enhanced by a leslie speaker effect. Leslie speakers emulate the whirling, vibrating, dated, theatre organ sound. The piece features a Quadraverb and harmonizer. Very interesting little pieces. Medium difficulty. (14:30)

Published by Neely Bruce

The score to Ryoanji (1985) by John CAGE (USA) is a "still" photograph of mobile circumstances inspired by the garden of stones and raked sand at the Zen Buddhist Temple in Kyoto. Each two pages of the score are a "garden" of sounds. In my version there are four electronic cello parts, four voice parts and a single percussion obligato. The electronic cello glissandi resulted from tracing parts of the perimeters of stones; the voice parts can be interpreted as sounds occurring outside the garden; the percussion obligato represents the raked sand. All are played as sounds in nature rather than sounds in music. The performer must create a performance tape and process the sound of the e-cello in an appropriate way. (19:39)

Recorded for New World Records CD NWCR680

Variations II (1961) for any number of players and any sound producing means by John CAGE (USA) is one such score that is better realised on the computer. Cages’ score is made up of plastic transparent sheets with straight lines drawn on them as well as instructions. The performer tosses the transparent sheets and measurements are assigned to various elements of pitch, duration, rhythm, timbre, volume, total length, etc. Then a performance part is written out by hand taking quite a bit of time to complete. The computer and MAX/MSP software allows all of this to be done in realtime with the performer reading the score from the computer screen. Every performance is unique. A MAX/MSP patch must be created. (duration of work is open ended)

Published by Edition Peters

The solo work Garland (1981) by Robert CARL (USA) was a work that caught my attention for it’s interesting programmatic possibilities. The eight and a half minute solo work is performed on the first half of a concert. On the second half of the concert a duo version with tape is performed. The tape part is prepared by playing only the first half of the solo. Then the performer plays the second half of the music with the tape. It is a very interesting transformation that happens over the course of a recital. This work has now been transformed into a multimedia work with a stunning video by Victor Velt. It is not necessary to perform with the work with video. The music was originally written for acoustic cello so the sound should be as natural as possible. Difficult. (8:31)

A Wide Open Field (1993) for e-cello and chamber orchestra by Robert CARL (USA) was my first opportunity to combine the instrument with a large ensemble. The sound of the e-cello goes through a series of transformations using a Quadraverb multi-effects unit. There is also some realtime sampling which creates a canonic effect. It is an extremely beautiful work. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t perform it! It is neither cellistically or technologically difficult. (16:43)

Recorded for Vienna Modern Master CD 3030, Music from Six Continents
Published by American Composers Edition

On A Dark Night Kindled .....(1988) for solo electronic cello by Richard EINHORN (USA) is deeply influenced by Bach Solo Cello Suites. However, the musically astute listener may pick up on old Cream song from their second album. Serious but funky! Originally written for acoustic cello so the performer is free to process or not process the cello’s sound. Medium difficulty. (8:00)

Published by Richard Einhorn

Suddenly It’s Evening (1997) for solo electronic cello by Donald ERB (USA) is beautifully poetic. The performer must sing while playing. I use a Quadraverb to color the sound of the e-cello. Difficult. (17:00)

Recorded for New World Records CD NWCR857
Published by Theodore Presser

Amazing Maze, (1996) an interactive computer environment by Karlheinz ESSL (Austria) is a computer program written in MAX that allows the performer a great deal of interaction. The performer uses MIDI pedals and the computer keyboard to ‘steer’ the improvisation. But the fingerboard of the e-cello can also trigger events as well. Through the use of the pitch-to-MIDI converter the performer is able to trigger sound files within the computer or tell the computer to compose a motivic idea. The computer acts like a ‘virtual’ partner composing music according to a set of compositional algorithms. The instrument takes on a new feature of being an actual controller as well as a sound generator. The work is for the advanced e-cellist. (length is open ended)

Published by Karlheinz Essl

Trio (1991) for e-cello and digital delay by Tom FLAHERTY (USA) plays with rhythmic hockets and explores sonorous possibilities. There are references to music as diverse as Varese’s Poeme Electronique and Bach’s chorale Es ist genug. A great piece for the beginning e-cellist because the electronics are fairly straightforward but not easy to co-ordinate and play. (8:00)

Threnody (2003) for e-cello and computer by Tom FLAHERTY (USA). In this piece the computer records, manipulates, and plays back the sound of the cello (and only the cello), beginning and ending with the simple and harmonious overtones of the open A string. Challenging. (9:00)

Published by Tom Flaherty.

On Connecticut Naturalism (2003) for e-cello and electronics by Michael GATONSKA (USA) was composed ‘in the field’ while hiking or biking in Connecticut. The performer creates effects patches for the e-cello on digital sound processors such as the Alesis Quadraverb and a Digitech Harmonizer according to narrative descriptions provided by the composer in the score. Additionally, a sampler/delay unit such as a Lexicon Jamman is used to layer and overlap the sounds of the e-cello and sections of the piece. A computer is necessary to run all of the effects. A very difficult and challenging work. (21:54)

Published by Michael Gatonska

Industry (1992) for solo e-cello by Michael GORDON (USA) requires a distortion effect that can gradually be added to the e-cello’s sound as the piece progresses.

Published by G. Schirmer Inc.

hendrixesque (1988) for electronic cello and tape by Henry GWIAZDA (USA) was originally written for the acoustic cello. You can process the cello in the style of Jimi Hendrix, flange, distortion, etc. Medium difficulty with a graphic score. (4:05)

themythofacceptance (1991) for e-cello and sound effects by Henry GWIAZDA (USA) is a work where the live performer is challenged to act more like a sampler then a traditional soloist. Henry asked for cello ‘licks’ from my repertoire, classical or otherwise, that were played through my harmonizer at various settings. He then combined these with sports sound effects. themythofacceptance started as a work that made a comparison between the mindless virtuosity that sometimes occurs in both classical and popular music to athletic events. Requires a harmonizer. For the advanced e-cellist. Graphic score. (10:25)

Recorded for New World Records CD NWCR680
Published by Henry Gwiazda

In UITT(particolare) (1980) for solo electronic cello by Ronald HALIER (Holland) the Italian subtitle particolare refers to the work as being part of a whole or blow-up. Dry amplified sound is all that is needed. You need to replace the D string with a second A string. Difficult. (8:30)

Recorded for OOdiscs 53 ACDCVC (currently not available)
Published by Donemus

Ricercare una Melodia (1984) for e-cello and computer by Jonathan HARVEY (England). Requires a MAX patch from the publisher. (6:00)

Published by Faber Music

Old Badman (2011) for e-cello and computer with MAX software. Difficult.

Published by the composer.

Cello Chi (1986) for a singing cellist by Sarah HOPKINS (Australia) was conceived as a "journey in sound" and employs a wide array of extended vocal and cello techniques such as "bowed harmonics" and "circular didjeridu bowing" as well as "harmonic singing." Through singing a steady fundamental note in the low register and then modulating the shape of the mouth cavity, one can produce a "second voice" which consists of high harmonics or "overtones" which are the natural "upper partials" of the bass fundamental being sung. This work sounds great with a big room reverb enhancing every movement of the bow. A great piece for the beginning e-cellist. (14:07)

Recorded for OOdiscs 53 ACDCVC (currently not available)
Contact the Australian Music Centre

night chains (1991) for electronic cello and effects by Douglas KNEHANS (USA) requires heavily processed sound including distortion. I use a Quadraverb and a Boss Turbo Distortion Pedal. Very intense and virtuosic. Possibly over the top! Difficult. (14:46)

Recorded for New World Records CD NWCR680

night canticle (1995) for electronic cello, digital effects and computer by Douglas KNEHANS (USA) is the second in a series of a projected three. The work is beautifully ethereal. Besides the computer and MAX software, it requires MIDI pedals, Quadraverb, and a sound module such as an UltraProteus. For the advanced e-cellist. (8:15)

Published by Douglas Knehans

High Strung (1999) for e-cello and computer by Joseph KOYKKAR (USA) requires MAX software and MIDI pedals to trigger an accompaniment played by a MIDI band. Short and sweet! Not difficult but the computer part is tricky. (5:30)

Published by Joseph Koykkar

indian summer (1993) by Alvin LUCIER (USA) is a work that challenges the cellist to think and perform in an untraditional manner. The cellist plays a unison doublestop on adjacent strings that is slightly detuned creating a set of beats during a slow, upward glissando. A harmonizer and a MIDI pedal allows the performer to detune one of the speakers by only a few cents during the performance ad lib creating a second acoustical beating pattern. The performer improvises using these two sets of beats. Gradually the listener notices the two sets of beating patterns. The placement of the speakers are as important to the music as the performance itself. The work requires a harmonizer with a pedal. One of the most controversial works I perform. Tricky. (duration of the work is open ended)

Recorded for OOdiscs 53 ACDCVC (currently not available)
Score is included in the text of Alvin Lucier: Reflections / Reflexionen published by MusikTexte

Waves of Amber (2009) for e-cello and electronics by Bruce MAHIN .

Published by the composer.

Portraits (1988) for e-cello and computer by Pauline OLIVEROS. The performer receives sets of pitches from the composer generated by various algorithms derived from the time, date, place of birth and name. The performer then renders a self portrait using the given pitches guided by a mandala score (included) and instructions. An interactive computer program was created in the software program MAX/MSP by the performer which includes the mandala image.
Length can vary.

Published by the composer.

Crater Lizards (1986) by Carlos RODRIGUEZ (USA) is another great piece to begin experimenting with electronics. The electronic part, except for the fourth movement which uses some sampling, requires a digital delay unit. The first movement has a very close delay that creates a slapping effect along with some tapping on the fingerboard. The second movement uses no delay but is a funky bass guitar-like movement with the sound doubled an octave below. The third movement uses a very long repeating delay combined with natural harmonics, glissandi and playing behind the bridge for a natural environment effect. The fourth movement is a funky raga ending with a ferocious final movement. Each movement’s title is an anagram; I. Rogue Tom Cooks Crater Lizard (Toccata); IV. D. Koz Tours Electric Raga Room (Funk II). This is a very clever work! Difficult. (18:71)

Published by Carl Fischer

Landmine (2001) for e-cello, digital audio and electronics by Anna RUBIN (USA) is a text/sound work exploring the landmine crisis especially as it effects Cambodia. The computer running software such as MAX/MSP plays audio tracks triggered by the performer with a MIDI pedal. Effects patches are created with devices such as an Alesis Quadraverb and Digitech Harmonizer. MAX/MSP allows the performer to trigger sound files from the fingerboard of the instrument. Difficult. (17:50)

Published by Anna Rubin
Recorded for Capstone Records CPS 8743

In With Love (1985) for cello and tape by Vivian ADELBERG RUDOW (USA), the taped sounds are electronically reproduced and/or spoken thoughts from twenty-three people in interviews about their moms, and moms sharing their thoughts about being mothers; original music composed for the work, plus fragments of earlier works by Ms. Rudow. With Love was first prize-winner in the 14th International Electro-acoustic Music Competition, Bourges, 1986, program division, the most important electro-acoustic competition in the world. Originally written for acoustic cello it is not necessary to process the cello’s sound. A fun, jazzy piece. Difficult. (16:45)

Published by Vivian Adelberg Rudow

Petals (1988) for solo e-cello and electronics by Kaija SAARIAHO (Finland) was originally performed by an acoustic cellist miked with the composer manipulating the electronics. In my version I perform with MIDI pedals modulating the electronics. The MIDI pedals are a great way to make a performer self-contained freeing him up for more performance possibilities. Requires a Quadraverb or harmonizer. Difficult. (9:35)

Recorded for OOdiscs 53 ACDCVC (currently not available)
Published by G. Schirmer Inc.

The Alph Through Gardens Bright (1994) for e-cello and computer by James SELLARS (USA) is one of my favorite works for the instrument. It is a musical fantasy, or a dream piece, based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's well-known poem, Kubla Khan. This piece utilises the capabilities of the electronics and computer in a very colorful and expressive way. The computer at times randomly controls the timbre of the e-cello and there are some real-time electronics for the performer. Requires a Quadraverb and harmonizer although the electronic interpretation is left up to the performer. This work is for the advanced e-cellist. (13:23)

Rebound (1994) for electronic cello and digital delay by James SELLARS (USA) is a short energetic piece great for starting out with the e-cello. All it needs is a little digital delay. Medium difficulty. (5:20)

Published by Hog River Music

In Heal the Wounds of War (1987) for electronic cello and video by Ken STEEN (USA), the video was created by Lyn Harper and is composed of "found images" recorded on VHS tape from broadcast TV programming on Veterans' Day, 1987. It is comprised of victims of the last fifty years' wars and was conceived as a timeless homage to victims of war on a global level. Requires a Quadraverb for a big room reverb. Medium difficulty. (12:00)

See this online at

Reliquary of Labor (2007) version for e-cello, electronics, video and sound by composer, Ken STEEN (USA) and media artist, Gene GORT (USA) commissioned by the Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut celebrates the idea of labor in all of its functional and artistic implications. Requires a computer and MAX patches. Difficult. (40:00)

An online performance can be seen at

Shadows and Light (1989) for electronic cello and digital effects by Ken STEEN (USA) was conceived as an artistic response to the AIDS epidemic. Shadows and Light explores the dynamic range of the electronic cello with additional nuances of expression provided by subtle electronic processing which allows the performer to create the illusion of the expansion and contraction of 'acoustic' space as well as other timbral manipulations. Requires a Quadraverb and MIDI pedals. Difficult. (9:50)

Recorded for New World Records CD NWCR680

Thalia (2004) for e-cello and orchestra by Ken STEEN (USA).

Published by Ken Steen

Axolotl (1981) for electronic cello and ghost electronics by Morton SUBOTNICK (USA) requires the composer’s custom electronics rented from the publisher. Difficult. (17:21)

Published by European American

Rocket Baby (1994) for electronic cello and MIDI instruments by Jack VEES (USA) requires a computer that plays MIDI files and distortion effects for the e-cello. Begins with a tape of radio disturbance and a reading about purported UFO sightings. Kind of minimalism meets alternative band. Difficult. (14:00)

Recorded for New World Records CD NWCR730
Published by Leisure Planet Music

Night Flame Ritual (1983) for electronic cello and color video by Reynold WEIDENAAR (USA) was originally written for the clarinet. Requires digital delay and a harmonizer with feedback capabilities. Difficult. (5:22)

The Stillness (1985) for electronic cello and video by Reynold WEIDENAAR (USA) is about a girl waiting for a subway train. A classic! Originally written for saxophone and can easily be adapted to the e-cello. Easy. (12:42)

Published by Magnetic Music Publishing Company

Come Window Golds Coming (1988) by N. Sean WILLIAM (USA) is a beautifully poignant musical response to the composers’ own poetry. Medium difficulty. (9:40)

Published by N. Sean William (deceased)

Recorded for OOdiscs 53 ACDCVC (currently not available)



Posted by: Jeffrey on Jun 15, 06 | 6:41 pm


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