Aleksander Kolkowski

Photo © Sandy Danbury

Aleksander Kolkowski (Supersonix artist in residence, Science Museum) is a composer, violinist, sound artist and researcher born and based in London. In a career spanning over 30 years as a professional musician, he has appeared at major festivals worldwide and recorded for numerous record labels with a variety of ensembles, bands and as a solo performer.

Over the past 12 years, Kolkowski has explored the potential of historical sound recording and reproduction technology, combining his unique collection of horned string instruments with gramophones and wax cylinder phonographs, to make contemporary mechanical-acoustic music. This work has been shown across Europe and in the USA, and broadcast by the BBC, WDR, Deutschlandradio and others.

In 2002 he founded Recording Angels, a project that examines our relationship to recorded sound using Edison phonographs and disc record-cutters in performances, installations and workshops. Recording Angels events have incorporated singers, singing canaries and instrument building as well as live-made sound inscriptions onto wax and lacquer. Large-scale works have been commissioned by MaerzMusik – Berlin, Sonic Arts Network and the BFI South Bank.

Recent activities include a disc-recording booth for repurposing digital CDs as 45rpm analogue records and both sound installation and performance work where antiquated sound reproducing machines, mechanical musical instruments and historic recordings are combined with state-of-the-art electronics.

His major project to date has been an archive of contemporary musicians, artists and writers recorded exclusively on wax cylinders. Begun in 2006 and continuing, the Phonographies collection is now available online and is broadcast through a series of weekly radio shows on Resonance 104.4 FM.

Aleks is giving a unique performance at Exhibition Road Music Day, the culmination of Supersonix. Click here for details.

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