Who is the fastest keyboard player in the world

Fastest pianist in the world plays 19.5 notes per second

Hamburg. Lubomyr Melnyk is the fastest pianist of the world. He can play 19.5 notes per second with each hand. An astonishing pace, sometimes no longer audible by people. It also holds on long-haul routes Ukrainian-Canadian artist the World record: For an hour it strikes up to 14 notes per second.

These officially measured superlatives are not that important to Gregor Samsa. “That's good for a doctorate,” says the man with the distinctive beard and alert look. But the 44-year-old is interested in completely different sides of Melnyk's game. The intensity. The improvisation. The attitude.

Record company for bands that hardly anyone knows

“What unites us is our uncompromising attitude,” says Samsa and smiles friendly. He is sitting on a flat black leather sofa. At the other end of a very soft carpet are two tall loudspeakers. A record player rotates at the edge. And the walls are lined with shelves that hold around 25,000 vinyl records. A room dedicated to sound. And the dialogue about music.

With Sounds of Subterrania in Bahrenfeld, Samsa runs a record company for bands that hardly anyone knows. More than 60 in number. Rock from Japan, pop from Mali, punk from the Netherlands, avant-garde electro chansons from the USA. And the stubborn cosmopolitan and world record holder Lubomyr Melnyk, with whom Samsa has already released five records. And who will be performing in the Elbphilharmonie Small Hall on February 7th, on Samsa's birthday.

Music at top speed

“Lubomyr is a door opener for classical music,” says Samsa with calm pride in her voice. The 71-year-old Melnyk is not an artisan who interprets the works of the masters with virtuosity. Instead, he created his own piano language with his "continuous music". The tones flow at high speed, overlap, develop an absorbing force, but also irritate with their complexity and release energy through ever new variations. “It's like I have the sun in my hands. The four winds. Ice, snow and hurricanes. Steel and factories. It's like the light streaming through my fingers. It's pure luck, ”says the piano player and composer about himself in a short documentary.

Samsa and Melnyk met a few years ago after a concert in the resonance room on St. Pauli. The label owner presented his ideas to the artist and asked if they didn't want to work together. Many conversations later, the cooperation began. “I really like that Lubomyr is so skeptical,” says Samsa. At his concerts, the musician also gives lectures on the advantages and disadvantages of diesel versus electric cars before he then plays a piece on the topic. An uncomfortable lateral thinking that is also inherent in samsa.

Make the world a better place with music

Samsa grew up in the Lutherstadt Eisleben in Saxony-Anhalt and moved to Kassel in 1993 to study sociology, politics, philosophy and social affairs. In addition to university, he was already living out his passion for punk rock. He organized concerts, made radio and published a fanzine. In 1998 he founded Sounds of Subterrania to release the record of a befriended band. “I believe that the world can be improved with music,” says Gregor Samsa, who incidentally named himself after Kafka's protagonist from “The Metamorphosis” - including an entry in the passport.

Spotify the music

He critically analyzes the changes in the music scene over the past decades. “Everyone has come to terms with the capitalist system and is looking to see how they can cope with it,” says Samsa. Today, pop culture would rarely really develop alternatives. The record has developed from a meaningful object to a pure product in order to advertise concerts and make bands better known. And society is being "spotified". In other words: In the style of digital playlists, songs have to work immediately, otherwise the majority of consumers will keep switching.

“This phenomenon can be observed even in the Elbphilharmonie,” says Samsa. "People leave the hall as soon as they don't like the music, instead of just being challenged by a concert."

With his label Sounds of Subterrania he wants to be a driving force. He is a seeker of the unknown. For the sounds and words that disturb and disturb. That stimulate reflection and discourse. That prevent the all too comfortable furnishing in filter bubbles and milieus.

“Exchange is the only way to overcome boundaries,” says Samsa. He is constantly thinking about the context. For example the working conditions of his African artists, some of whom were not allowed to enter Europe. That is why he is currently in the process of organizing a festival in the Ghanaian capital Accra.

Independence at all costs

“Lubomyr creates works on all these questions about social movements and solidarity,” explains Samsa. For example with “End Of The World”, a musical treatise on the fact that mankind's greatest crisis is man himself. In Hamburg, Samsa sees the theaters and cultural sites such as Kampnagel and the Golden Pudel Club as central places where there is still open discussion. Where friction and thus solutions arise. In this regard, the Hafenklang in Altona is particularly close to his heart. When he moved to Hamburg in 2008, he found his ideal home in the music club and also his first office space.

Samsa is someone who lives his independence at all costs. He even continued when water damage to his storage room in Hammerbrook destroyed 70 percent of its inventory two years ago. The loss hurt all the more because Samsa attaches particular importance to the design of its publications. He brings out many of his records as special editions, for which he makes each album cover by hand - from concrete, steel or denim, for example. Sometimes he produces runs of 500 to 1000 pieces in such a complex way. A restless creator, for whom the artwork of his works is also a political act.

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“I make myself aware of the work process by gluing, folding and assembling. I'll take the record, ”says Samsa happily. For him a kind of recapture: the sound carrier is then no longer a purely industrially manufactured product, but loaded with meaning again. The music is no longer fleeting or random.

Handcraft as a source of meaning in our high-speed times, whether like Melnyk on the piano or like Samsa in the record factory - a thought that doesn't break any records, but possibly makes the world a little better.

Lubomyr Melnyk Fri 7.2., 7.30 p.m., Elbphilharmonie, Kleiner Saal, tickets from 35.52 at www.elbphilharmonie.de, information about the label at www.soundsofsubterrania.com