Los Angeles based Jherek Bischoff is equal parts composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumental performer. Hailed a “pop polymath” (The New York Times), a “phenom” (The New Yorker) and “the missing link between the sombre undertones of Ennio Morricone and the unpredictability of John Cale” (NME), Bischoff has blazed an unconventional path in creating an impressive body of work in his 30-odd years. After spending most of the 00’s touring and recording in DIY indie rock and experimental groups including The Dead Science, Parenthetical Girls and The Degenerate Art Ensemble, Bischoff found himself creating orchestral music almost accidentally. Utilizing his DIY background, Bischoff wrote his critically-acclaimed 2012 orchestral pop album Composed on a ukulele, recording one instrument at a time with just one microphone and a laptop, layering each individual track to synthesize the sound of an orchestra. Composed features a host of impressive cameos including David Byrne, Caetano Veloso, Nels Cline (Wilco) and Greg Saunier (Deerhoof). NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross devoted a half-hour interview to discussing the album, Bischoff’s musical background and his unique childhood being raised on a sailboat.
In the last few years, Bischoff has collaborated with an ever-growing list of notable creators including David Byrne, Neil Gaiman, Zola Jesus, Amanda Palmer, Ariel Pink, Ben Folds, Vance Joy, Sondre Lerche and Al Gore, and has performed at venues and festivals around the globe including Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, BAM, Ecstatic Music Festival, Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center / Liquid Music, Seattle’s Moore Theater, Adelaide Festival, and Tasmania’s MONA FOMA. As his focus has turned more toward his work as a composer, Bischoff has seen commissions from Kronos Quartet, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, St Ann’s Warehouse, and his work has been performed by the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Adelaide Art Orchestra, Wordless Music Orchestra and yMusic.
Ever the prolific creator, Bischoff continued to broaden his musical profile with the addition of his first musical theater score Johnny Breitwieser for Vienna’s Schauspielhaus in 2014, as well as his work on television scores for Starz’s Blunt Talk and Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp in 2015.
So far, 2016 has already proved a busy and productive year, with the release of Strung Out In Heaven an EP of David Bowie cover songs arranged for string quartet, with vocals by Amanda Palmer, Anna Calvi, John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig) and Neil Gaiman, resulting in performances of the music at TED Talks in Vancouver, Radio City Music Hall, and Royal Albert Hall for BBC Proms.
Most recently, Bischoff released his newest record Cistern - an ambient orchestral album which was recorded with a live orchestra in a church in Hudson, New York. He is currently working on a musical for Theater Basel as well as a collaborative album with Kronos Quartet.
For a peek into Bischoff's childhood on a sailboat and his former home studio in Seattle, check out this clip from WQXR's Making Big Things out of Very Little: Q2 Spaces
Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano – “The Ballad of Guiteau” (2015)
Scores: Composed Instrumentals (2012)
Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers – “Kule Kule (Orchestral Version)” (2010)
Under The Sour Trees (2009)
Amanda Palmer – "Purple Rain - Prince Cover" (2016), Strung Out In Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute (2016), Theatre Is Evil (2012)
Kronos Quartet – "Flying Rivers" (2016), "A Semiperfect Number" (2015)
Xiu Xiu – Xiu Xiu Plays The Music of Twin Peaks (2016), Fabulous Muscles (2004), A Promise (2003), Chapel of the Chimes EP (2002)
Sondre Lerche – “Surviving Christmas” (2015)
Vance Joy – "Fire and the Flood" (2015)
Neil Gaiman – The Sleeper and The Spindle Live w/ String Quartet (2015)
Brooklyn Youth Chorus – “Childhood’s Retreat” (2015)
Yacht – I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler (2015), Shangri-La (2011), See Mystery Lights (2009)
Maya Beiser – Uncovered (2014)
Missy Higgins – Oz (2014)
Mirah – Changing Light (2014)
Parenthetical Girls – Privilege (2013), Entanglements (2008), Safe as Houses (2006), (((GRRRLS))) (2004)
David Byrne – “Eyes” (2012)
Soko – I Thought I Was an Alien (2012)
People Get Ready – People Get Ready (2012)
Jason Webley – In This Light: Live at Bear Creek (2011), The Cost of Living (2008), Only Just Beginning (2004), Counterpoint (2002)
Los Campesinos! – Hello Sadness (2011), Romance Is Boring (2010)
Degenerate Art Ensemble – Red Shoes (2011), Sonic Tales (2009), Cuckoo Crow (2006), The Bastress (2005), Look-Away Popeye (2003)
The Dead Science – Villainaire (2008), Crepuscule with The Dead Science EP(2006), Frost Giant (2005), Bird Bones in the Bughouse EP (2004), Submariner (2003)
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – Etiquette (2006), Young Shields (2006)
FILM, TELEVISION & THEATER
Blunt Talk – Starz (2015-16)
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp – Netflix (2015)
Johnny Breitwieser – Schauspielhaus Vienna, Austria (2015)