Christine Ott has performed as a solo ondist with numerous classical orchestras at festivals and in operas around the world. In 2006, she was chosen to represent the ondes martenot at the inaugural Festival of Electronic Music in Budapest. At the same time, she has been teaching the instrument at the Strasbourg Conservatory since 1997 and in 2019 received a music teaching prize for her improvisation and image composition workshops.
Intimately linked to cinema, she has created many internationally-praised cine-concerts (‘Tabu’ by Munau, 2012; ‘Nanook of the North’ by Robert J. Flaherty, 2019) and has been composing film soundtracks for many years. With her duo Snowdrops, she created the soundtrack for ‘Manta Ray’ by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng (Mostra de Venise 2018), and with her quartet for ‘La fin du silence’ by Roland Edzard (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, Cannes, 2011). She also collaborates with other film-makers like Claire Denis, Martin Provost, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Léa Fehner. After ‘Solitudes Nomades’ (2006) and ‘Only Silence Remains’ (2015), ‘Chimères’ (for Ondes Martenot, 2020) is her third solo album.
1: In 1906, JJ Thomson was awarded for his work on the conduction of electricity in gases
2: In 1928, Maurice Martenot presents his instrument at Paris Opera.
3: In 1989, Voyager 2 is closest to Neptune.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
The creation of sounds itself. Often as improvisations, and linked to the physical contact I have to different instruments.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
As a child. I began with the piano at 6.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Damn, I don’t know… For today I could say:
Joan Jeanrenaud – Metamorphosis
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Jack the Ripper – Ladies First
Anouar Brahem – Les Pas du Chat Noir
Stravinsky – Petrouchka; Le Sacre du Printemps (Cleveland Orchestra / Pierre Boulez)
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Une liberté de vie. Une ville d’échanges (in french) . And also the place I played last year with my side-project Snowdrops. Nice place called Silent Green, nice neighbourhood too (I remembered a nice small cemetery, and great church bells singing that I recorded).
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
The botanical garden in Strasbourg. And at night, two very old cranes illuminated near the water.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Time to die.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I think the CD of ‘Unremembered’ by Sarah Kirkland Snider.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Thom Yorke and the Balanescu Quartet.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Hmm, difficult to say… If you allow me, I’ll give you four gigs as a performer. A solo in Strasbourg: a musical show called ’24h de la Vie d’une Femme’ in which I played the piano, Ondes Martenot, and I sung surrounded by trees. And three shows in Paris. One with Foudre! in the St. Merri church. One with Snowdrops at the archaeological crypt of Paris. One with Syd Matters at La Cigale.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Just tools. Technology of the Ondes Martenot. Technology of the pedals. Technology of the piano. Technology is everywhere. Or nowhere. Nothing will replace musical inspiration.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have 2 sisters and 3 brothers. I’m still close to one of my sisters. But I’m not sure of what she thinks about my own music.
Christine’s third solo album ‘Chimères (pour Ondes Martenot)’ is out 10th April via NAHAL Recordings (LP/CD/Digital) and is available for pre-order now.
Photo © Jean-Pierre Rosenkranz