European trained violinist-composer Rupert Guenther specialises in bespoke concerts of inspired new works and sonatas of his own breathtaking improvisations. Every concert takes audiences on an immersive wellbeing journey as much as a musical one, and each concert presents a new series of highly imaginative site-specific “spirit of place” works, drawing inspiration from thousands of years of human history, architecture, nature, significant events through time, landscape, science, astronomy, philosophy, paintings, poetry, geology, anthropology, ancient artefacts, the night skies, mystical knowledge and personal stories. He creates his music much the same as a painter paints their pictures with great consideration onto a blank canvas, and since 2003 has independently released over 35 albums of his evocative improvisations along these lines, including 5 albums of his sonatas and other collected works commissioned and recorded by Australia’s national broadcaster ABC Classic FM radio. He also produces many interesting projects beyond classical music each year. These include world music concerts, ambient and meditation concerts, blues and folk projects with other accomplished artists in each of these fields. Collaborations have included Allan Zavod (Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty), Chris Copping (Procul Harem), Garry Young (Daddy Cool), Stephen Housden (Little River Band), Geoff Wright (JJ Cale), Andrew Duffield (The Models), David Jones (Vince Jones, James Morrison), and many of Australia’s top session players including Les Stacpool, Glenn Suckling, Steve Hadley, John Watson and John McAll.
Trained in the famous European violin pedagogue Igor Ozim’s method of playing in Vienna, Austria, Rupert studied extensively with two of professor Ozim’s proteges Brian Finlayson and Hefried Fister and attended Masterclasses and Summer Schools with professor Ozim in Australia and Europe. He was also heavily influenced by his contact with Norwegian violinist professor Terje Moe Hansen and absorbed his all-interval approach into his playing. He earlier studied for many years with Harry Hutchins who was a student of Carl Flesch in Paris. Rupert’s approach is all about holistic learning. He teaches holistic professional development courses for players and teachers at all levels and offers sessions in traditional violin studies, chamber music coaching, string teacher training courses, classical music improvisation, the mystical art of music, electric violin and extended playing techniques, as well as very relevant and practical approaches to healing stage-fright, self-care, wellbeing and meditation for musicians. His private clients include principal players from some of Europe’s finest orchestras such as Zurich Opera and La Scala, and some well-known pop musicians. His healing stage-fright sessions and improvisation masterclasses have been taught at many universities internationally including Vienna University for Performing Arts (MDW), Vorarlberg Conservatorium (Austria), St Paul in Lavantal Summercourse (Austria), international conferences for The Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM) in the USA and Switzerland, European String Teachers Association (ESTA) in UK and Sweden, Australian Strings Association (AUSTA), and Australian Society of Music Educators (ASME/ISME), as well as Australian universities including University of Western Australia, Western Australia Academy of Performing arts (WAAPA), Monash University, and University of Queensland.
His international collaborations in improvisation, cross-genre-arts and multi-media improvisation performances embrace both solo and collaborative ensemble projects based on site-specific (“spirit of place”) themes, events and venues. These projects span musical influences ranging from ancient cultures, western classical and other world music traditions, through to amplified soundscapes, extended playing techniques, electric violin, immersive meditation concerts, blues and folk music, and are where the individual background of each artist creates a completely unique synergy and language of music with each pairing. His performances and recordings include Australian keyboardist Andrew Duffield, drummer David Jones, Austrian/Australian cellist Penelope Gunter-Thalhammer, Canadian gong master Don Conreaux, American sculptor John Mayo, Australian indigenous musicians Dr Richard Walley and Amos Roach, Australian sound sculpture artist Rod Cooper, Australian composers Ros Bandt, Simon Charles and Brigid Burke, and Melbourne pianist Melvyn Cann.
Rupert brings a lifetime of experience in simple approaches for wellbeing to musicians. He has studied and practised meditation since a teenager and has been a meditation teacher for over 20 years. He also holds Australian government qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring, and in Training & Assessment. Additionally he is an advocate for a shift to holistic personal development and self-care in music and the arts, where the artist consciously works on developing in self-esteem and humanistic values in themselves equally in step with their music career and professional development.
He is an inspiring speaker on a wide range of topics, from violin playing, the environment and freedom of speech, to self-esteem and wellbeing, government and foreign policy, and he has presented regularly at many prestigious international conferences. His central theme in all his work encouraging others to embrace self-care and wellbeing to become the best version of themselves is that we must, as a world, heal our low self-esteem which otherwise allows us to continue the patterns of abuse and being abused in ways manifesting as conflict and neglect at societal, governmental, cultural, familial, personal and global levels - the underlying factor is always self-esteem. In his own areas of specialisation in music and the arts, Rupert holds out the same offer to schools, universities, education organisations and administration, as self-esteem is the central key to our wellbeing in every moment in these areas also.
Rupert is a driving force for new-paradigm holistic leadership in the arts, administration, government and foreign policy, which emphasises fostering self-esteem, and opportunity earned through demonstrating values of wellbeing and capabilities for compassion, selflessness, inclusiveness, collaborative teamwork and creativity as much as any concept of physical or intellectual excellence.
Concerts & Tours
He regularly gives recital tours and concerts internationally of his improvisations solo and in collaborations in venues including Tate Britain, London Docklands Museum, Bombora House NYC, the Church of St Anna in Vienna, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Recital Centre, Australian National University, National Gallery of Victoria, Monash University LaTrobe Valley, Perth Winter Arts Festival, WA Museum Boola Bardip, Government House Ballroom Perth, and The Baroque Hall in Adelaide.
Sideman to The Stars
A former member of the Vienna Chamber Opera, he has been sideman to the stars including work with The Beatles’ producer Sir George Martin, Olivia Newton-John, John Farnham, and Demis Roussos.
"My ethos for playing and teaching violin, string music in general, the arts - and life - is entirely built on uplifting people to feel safe to explore, discover and develop themselves holistically in humanistic values such as compassion, kindness, boundaries, inclusiveness, collaboration and cooperation as the wellbeing foundations of our work together so that they can restore the biggest missing piece in their education: their self-esteem. It is the one underlying factor in all of holistic wellness, and its absence is the underlying factor of every problem in the world. I subscribe to life-long learning, and that we always need to be working on ourselves side-by-side with our art-form to be of any value in selfless service to humanity and the planet. I seek to collaborate with other likeminded arts practitioners, arts administrators, teachers, government ministers, think-tanks and cultural leaders on the grounds of demonstrating cooperative/group leadership, listening, appreciating differences, having good boundaries, not judging but accepting as the starting point always, factoring in the value of and need for problem solving and healing time in our lives, and using best practice pathways for wellbeing in our communication, education, coaching, mentoring and career approaches, and incorporating other positive professional wellbeing inputs depending on the individual’s needs. I work in the long view of positive societal and cultural change, in fluid delivery frameworks, with regular review, and evaluation of feedback & reflections.”