The Inquisitive Musician
The struggle for precedence between the Kunstpheifer and the Common Players presented in a sparkling new comedy

A project by Cindy Bernard
Translated and adapted by Cindy Bernard and David Hatcher
Music director: David Watson
The Inquisitive Musician at LACMA The Inquisitive Musician, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, May 7, 2011 (photo by Don Lewis)

The Inquisitive Musician is an adaptation of a 17th century satire attributed to Johann Kuhnau, Bach's predecessor as cantor of Leipzig, Germany. The satire pits itinerant "beer fiddlers" against the official city sanctioned "Kunstpfeifer" (or "art piper") in an argument over who is the better musician and has the right to perform and be fairly compensated. The struggle arises out of the challenge of an economically strained populace to compensate musicians for their laborŅa familiar story which continues to this day.

The roles are populated by artists, musicians and writers who identify with the struggle represented in the play which is presented as a staged read with video and live music.

Interested in bringing The Inquistiive Musician to your city? Contact me at cbernard (at) soundcommons (dot) org.


The Stedelijk Performance, presented in conjunction with the Holland Festival, June 22-23, 2013

The Inquisitive Musician by Cindy BernardThe Inquisitive Musician, The Stedelijk, Amsterdam, June 22-23, 2013

The Cast:

Prologus / Pickelhering: Steve Heather
Bona: Hilary Jeffrey
Count Musophilus: Frans de Ruiter

The Beerfiddlers:
Snortel-Hänsel / Käthe: Felicity Provan
Bocks-Märten / Bailiff: David Watson
Pechmann / Waschebleil: GW Sok
Schiefer-Barthel / White Horse: Seamus Cater

The Kunstpfeifers:
Paulis Harmonicus: Thijs van Leer
Enantius: Alison Isadora

The LACMA performance, May 7, 2011

The Cast:

Prologus / Pickelhering: Dick Hebdige
Bona: Haruko Tanaka
Cupid: Ami Tallman
Count Musophilus: Thomas Lawson

The Beerfiddlers:
Fiedel-Hänsel / Käthe: Marnie Weber
Bocks-Märten / Bailiff: David Watson
Pechmann / Waschebleil: Mike Watt
Schiefer-Barthel / White Horse: Dave Muller

The Kunstpfeifers:
Paulis Harmonicus: Gregory Lencyzcki
Enantius: William Roper

Musicians: William Roper, David Watson, Tom Watson

The Inquisitive Musician was produced at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on May 7, 2011 with support from the Harpo Foundation, US Artist Projects, The Durfee Foundation and the Goethe Institute. For the first time it incorporated a video of The Comdey of Washesbleil, a play with in a play which takes up Act 6 of the production.

Additional resources for this production:
THE LACMA Photo Album
The LACMA Program
The Inquisitive Musiican Top 10 at UNFRAMED, the LACMA Blog.
Video documentation online soon

The Tonic Performance, November 8, 2005

full cast
The Cast:

Prologus / Pickelhering: David Hatcher
Cupid/Bona: Tracy Williams
Count Musophilus: Alexander Gray

The Beerfiddlers:
Fiedel-Hänsel / Käthe: Shelley Hirsch
Bocks-Märten / Bailiff: David Watson
Pechmann / Waschebleil: Michael Smtih
Schiefer-Barthel / White Horse: D. Mark Kingsley

The Kunstpfeifers:
Paulis Harmonicus: Guy Richards Smit
Enantius: Alan LIcht

Musicians: Okkyung Lee, Kenta Naagai, David Watson

The first production of The Inquistiive Musician was presented on a very tight "shoe strng" at Tonic, in New York, in 2005 and accompanied a solo exhitition at Tracy Williams, LTD

Additional Resources for this production:
Tonic Photo Album
Video Documentation
Tonic Program
THe performance of The Inquisitive Musician was broadcast in its entirety as a part of Christopher WIlliams' Radio Danièle project on February 6, 2007 on Radio Citta Del Capo in Bolonga, Italy. The archived broadcast is currently offline.

Screen Tests, 2004

Raymond Pettibon reading Pechmann from The Inquisitive Musician Raymond Pettibon reading the part of Pechmann, the Beerfiddler


Pechmann, The Beerfiddler:
Sam Durant
Mitchell Brown
Raynmond Pettibon
Joe Potts
Tom Recchion Dave Muller

Paulis Harmonicus, The Kunstpfeifer:
David Patton
David Schafer
Tom Watson
Fredrik Nilsen
T. Kelly Mason

A one hour DVD, The Inquisitive Musician: Screen Tests was completed in November 2004 and consists of artists and musicians reading the arguements of the Beerfiddlers and the Kunstpfeifer as presented to Count Musophilus.

Additional Resources for this production:
Screen Tests Photo Album
Video Documentation