Femmes in Sonology: Hilde Wollenstein

Zosia Hołubowska (Mala Herba) / 25 cze 2020

Hilde Wollenstein is an electronic music composer, improviser, and sound artist from the Netherlands, currently studying at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague. Before entering the wondrous world of electronic music she studied classical clarinet at the Utrecht Conservatory. Her work embraces the inaudible, noise, free improvisation and experimental club music.





1. Please introduce yourself and tell us more about your practice.

Hello. My name is Hilde Wollenstein and I would currently define myself as an electronic music composer, improviser and sound artist. Before I entered the wondrous world of electronic music I studied classical clarinet at the Utrecht Conservatory. My work embraces the inaudible, noise, free improvisation and experimental club music.

2. What drove you to electronic music?

I don’t remember exactly what got me into electronic music. I think the ball started rolling when I discovered Iannis Xenakis, a pioneer in electronic music and serialism. His work made a very big impression on me at the time, which is now hard to put into words. As a clarinet student, I wanted to create something new and get away from traditional classical music practices. Designing sound and composing gave me my own artistic voice.

3. What are the main tools and techniques you are currently exploring?

Currently, I am exploring the notion of technology as a metaphysical entity as opposed to a medium that merely facilitates exchange. Therefore, the technology I employ embodies the message of the work rather than just implementing it. I try to address the metaphysical and existential question of technology in art. I am currently working on a sound installation entitled “The Sacrifice”, where I am investigating themes of the inaudible, rituals, and the idea of mystery through the audification of a flame.

4. What was the idea behind this podcast and what was the process of creating it?

This podcast is a manic collage of reflection, recollection, ecstasy, desperation, and several more emotional landscapes. Involving compositions of ambient drone and warm harmonic noise, using free improvisation, whale communication, and harsh beat making. Developing this podcast has been one of my outlets in our rather turbulent situation.

5. The new music/ advanced electronic music scene can be a pretty male-dominated space. What are your experiences/ thoughts about it?

Yes. Unfortunately, the new music/ advanced electronic music scene is, like nearly every other field, male-dominated and inequality is a reality. To break this, there is still a long way to go, but platforms like Oramics and similar initiatives in this scene give us much hope.

5. Are there any femme/ non-binary pioneers that inspire you?

Someone who has been an inspiration to me for a long time is Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). She was a composer, writer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath, a well-known composer of sacred monophony. Her music is highly spiritual and remains a big inspiration to me. I can recommend anyone to dive into her world.

6. Do you have any contemporary femme/ nonbinary artists that you follow and want to share their music?

Yes, Marlene Fally made a podcast last week and it is so, so good.