Helmut Eisel, Clarinet
"I do not make music. Music is already here, in every moment. First, I hear it inside myself, then I transmit it to my clarinet to share it with my audience. It comes into existence in the here and now, in the spirited encounter with someone vis-à-vis. Music is a language and it says even more than words.“" Helmut Eisel
Since his early childhood, Helmut Eisel was enthusiastic about the idea to tell stories, to in-veigh, to comfort, to laugh and to cry with his clarinet. His grandfather Leo taught him the basics of playing clarinet and he discovered how multifaceted the player can express himself on this instrument. During his math studies Helmut Eisel played in various jazz bands, where he enhanced his competence in improvising.
Decisive was the meeting and friendship with Giora Feidman with whom Helmut Eisel has now been working together since 1989. Feidman made him familiar with klezmer music and its spiritual impact. It became an inspiration for his own improvisations – Eisel’s "Talking Clarinet" was born. Just like Feidman, Eisel uses his clarinet as a human voice and seeks the intensive contact with his audience. By using improvisation, spontaneous dialogues develop – between Eisel and his co-musicians as well as with the listeners.
Helmut Eisel is considered to be one of the best and most interesting Klezmer-clarinetists in Europe. He developed his own style out of traditional music for wind, jazz, klezmer and classic.
Giora Feidman says: "You only need to hear a few seconds and you immediately know: this is Helmut playing!" And if not – it’s not him!
After his diploma in mathematics in 1985, Helmut Eisel worked as a business consultant until 1993. During that time he started taking part in Giora Feidman's masters classes. Together with ESPE and his own trio Helmut Eisel & JEM, he gave concerts in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Georgia, and Israel. Engagements with the Nationaltheater Mannheim ("Ghetto") and the Theater Basel ("Sunset") forced him to decide between music and business. He decided to dedicate himself to music.
Besides his basic group, the trio Helmut Eisel & JEM, he founded several groups together with first class international musicians. During the festivals, seminars and concerts of "Clarinet & the Klezmer in the Galilee" in Safed and Jerusalem / Israel of which he has regularly been part during the last 15 years, Helmut Eisel’s composition Phoenix for two clarinets and string orchestra was premiered in Yad Vashem (Jerusalem) together with Giora Feidman and the Jerusalem Strings in the seminar’s final concert in 2007.
1998 saw the birth of the duo "Eisel's clarinet stories" and a solo program; the quintet Helmut Eisel & Band was founded in 2001. Concerts and CD projects together with the pianists Marina Baranova and Sebastian Voltz as well as the Sebastia Voltz Trio and with the classical harpist Verena Jochum actually stand for Helmut Eisel’s creative encounter of classic, jazz and klezmer which is gaining a growing part in his artistic interest. Another extremely successful project is the program "Gypsy meets the Klezmer" together with the Gypsy Swing guitarist Joscho Stephan and his trio.
The communication and bridging between styles and genres as well as to his co-musicians and the audience is also the central idea of Helmut Eisel’s symphonic programs and compositions such as the Rhapsody for an Unknown Klezmer (2011), the Naftule-family concerts and his own, very personal adaption of the famous Mozart clarinet concerto (CD "time change" 2011).
Carrying out the philosophy of his "Talking Clarinet" Helmut Eisel has also been part of various drama productions such as Iskender (Essen, RUHR.2010 festival) and Wie im Himmel (Bad Gandersheim, 2010/11) under the direction of Johannes Klaus.
Since 1993, Helmut Eisel has regularly lead workshops for Klezmer Improvisation in Germany, Israel, Norway, Poland and other countries and contributed in the fields of improvisation, communication and corporate culture.
- „Talking Clarinet – Einführung in die Klezmer-Improvisation“ (Notenheft mit Playalong-CD, Advance Music, 2014)
- Mozart/Eisel: „Blue Adagio“, 2. Satz aus Mozarts Klarinettenkonzert, Bearbeitung (advance music, 2015)
- Mozart/Eisel: „Bowling with Mozart“ (advance music, 2015)
- „Israeli Suite – Neue Klezmermusik der Seele“ (westpark publishing)
- „Durch Klezmermusik zur Improvisation“ (Notenheft mit Playalong-CD)
- 2017 CD “Naftule und die Reise nach Jerusalem“, Helmut Eisel & Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, Dirigent: Alexander Merzyn, Sprecherin: Kerstin Klaholz (animato)
- 2017 CD „Bei dir war es immer so schön“, Joscho Stephan/Helmut Eisel Quartett (MGL)
- 2017 CD „Don Juan à la Klez“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (Neuklang)
- 2016 CD „Rhapsody for an Unknown Klezmer“, Helmut Eisel (Klarinette), Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen sowie Kinderchöre der Region, Dirigent: Daniel Huppert (animato)
- 2015 LP Helmut Eisel & Sebastian Voltz Trio, Live-Mitschnitt des Studiokonzerts in den Bauer Studios Ludwigsburg (Neuklang)
- 2014 CD „Talking Sinatra“, Helmut Eisel & Sebastian Voltz Trio (Neuklang)
- 2013 CD „Klezmer in the Air“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (pianissimo)
- 2012 CD „Gypsy meets the Klezmer“, Joscho Stephan/Helmut Eisel Quartett (MGL)
- 2011 CD „time change“ (u.a. Mozart Klarinettenkonzert) Helmut Eisel & JEM, Thüringisches Kammerorchester Weimar, Dirigent: Martin Hoff (animato)
- 2009 CD „Clarinet Colours“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (Neuklang)
- 2008 Mitwirkung bei der CD „The Spirit of Klezmer“ von Giora Feidman (pläne)
- 2007 CD „Impromptu“, Marina Baranova und Helmut Eisel (Neuklang)
- 2006 CD „Klezmer at the Cotton Club“, Helmut Eisel & Band (westpark)
- 2005 CD „Naftule und der König“ mit Helmut Eisel & JEM und dem RSO Saarbrücken, Leitung Marcus R. Bosch
- 2004 CD „Midnight Dreamer“, Helmut Eisel & JEM
- 2003 CD „Hot Klezmer Clarinet“, Helmut Eisel & Band
- 2002 Komposition und Einspielung der Filmmusik zu „Zwischen Himmel und Erde“ von Karl Heinz Heilig
- 2001 CD „Eisel bläst Brandwein“ mit Eisel, Ebersbach & Freunden
- 2000 CD „Broken Silence“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (westpark/INDIGO)
- 1998 CD „Passions for Klezmer“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (westpark/INDIGO)1999 CD „Clarinet Stories“, Helmut Eisel & Friends (westpark, INDIGO)
- 1997 CD „Funtasie“; Helmut Eisel & Clarinet Funtett (westpark, INDIGO)
- 1996 CD „Israeli Suite“, Helmut Eisel & JEM(westpark/INDIGO)
- 1994 CD „Klezm’n Soul“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (westpark/INDIGO)
- 1993 CD „The Spirit of Klezmer“ mit Asoj (Koch international)
- 1991 CD „Forget The Tears“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (pläne/ARIS).