The singer Maria Jonas is one of Cologne’s most creative and versatile personalities, and can be experienced as a performer of early and, more and more frequently, improvised music – as a soloist and in her ensembles Ars Choralis Coeln and Ala Aurea (ensemble for medieval music). Maria Jonas is always searching for a lively interaction with early and all kinds of music. For this reason, the term “trobairitz” describes her work better than the usual designation “singer.” The trobairitz were the female counterparts of the troubadours of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries in southern France. The word comes from the Occitan word “trobar”: to find, to invent. As a creative spirit, Maria Jonas is increasingly also consulted for the development of event concepts. Thus, in 2008, she assumed the artistic direction of the intercultural sound workshop “KOLUMBA sings,” which takes place annually with varying guests. She is also decisively involved in the Cologne initiative ZAMUS (Center for Early Music).
Bassem Hawar grew up in a very old cultural landscape between the ancient Sumerian cities of Ur and Lagash in southern Iraq. This region is renowned as the home of musicians and artists. In Bassem Hawar’s family, too, many artistic talents are to be found. He studied Arabian music for his instrument, the djoze (Iraqi fiddle), at the renowned Baghdad Conservatory, the only institution of its kind in the Arabian world. Following his studies of musicology, he was instructor of djoze at the same institute, where he also worked in the instrument workshop on an innovative construction and playing technique of the djoze. He played with the Iraqi Symphony Orchestra in Arabian countries and in Europe, and also with the groups Lagash, Ahoar, Sidare, Duo Melodic, al-Bayariq, Babel, Yuri Honing Trio/Orient Express, Baghdad Ensemble, and others. He has lived in Germany since 2000.
Already early on, Dominik Schneider set out in search of the most varied tone colors, and occupies himself today primarily with flute playing in multifarious variants. Since 2010, in his own workshop, he has made, among other things, an early transverse flute model that is especially suitable for the music of the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. Moreover, the sound aesthete is a sought-after quinterna player, and also frequently collaborates with ensembles such as Vox Werdensis and Ars Choralis Coeln on the portative. In addition, he dedicates himself to free improvised jazz with Cologne’s jazz ensemble MÄÄR. Under the name BadAntiko, he interacts between the borders of classical music and other genres. At the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, he teaches (together with Stefan Klöckner) “Music of the Middle Ages” in the master’s program. In addition to all the music, his portrait photos are top-notch.