Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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Karin Hellqvist: Reversed Output

Karin Hellqvist is standing in front of an old wood door holding her violin.

The violin player Karin Hellqvist says: "The plethora of traits forming a person's musical identity. I sometimes imagine as an artist's palette".

Field of study: Artistic Research (Violin)


This project refers to the musical equivalent as the “sonic palette”. Through years of extensive collaborative work Hellqvist experienced that most composer-performer collaborations fall into structures where the performer's role end by realising and presenting the composer's materials and ideas. Therefore, she has been longing for original collaborations capturing more of her personal sonic palette.

The Sonic Palette

In this project, Hellqvist explores what happens when she as a performer am defining her sonic palette and using it as the main material in the process of collaborative work. As the project's spine and innovative take on observing the process from the inside - the outmost original exploration of her sonic palette, she will also be composing herself.

Through those explorations, the project is challenging the hierarchy in collaborative situations and questioning who's defining the musical material. What happens to the process, work, music making and dynamics of collaboration when the composer aims at creating a brilliant rendition of the performer's sonic palette instead of vice-versa?

The project is:

  1. Investigating and defining Hellqvist's sonic palette
  2. Activating it as the starting point in a composition of her own as well as in composer collaborations – reversing the output of the collaboration


The method of defining her palette includes self-observation, composition and composition coaching sessions, dialogue with colleagues, interviews, improvising coaching sessions and text work. The method of activating it in composer collaborations/own composition includes six phases: activating the sonic palette, compositional work, pre-concert presentations, revisions, main presentation, evaluation and documentation, recording and presentations. Five composers will be involved in working with the reversed output collaborative model: Carola Bauckholt, Manos Tsangaris, Henrik Strindberg, Liza Lim and Christian Wallumrød.

The project focuses on contributing knowledge to both the research field and music milieu, adding valuable information and new structural pathways to the field of performer-composer collaborations and performer identity.


Context-wise, the project is well anchored in historical practice as well as more recent research on the role of composer and performer in collaborative work situations. This project though, draws even further on the very output of the material and process, challenging inherited structures and expanding the role of the performer through palette definition and composition.


The results of the project will be presented through high-profile concerts, institutional pre-concert presentations, documentation, texts concluding reflections, interviews and institutional presentations.

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Published: Aug 14, 2018 — Last updated: Mar 9, 2023