Portrait in Die Zeit



Portrait in the Attic






“..Magda Mayas has expanded the language for internal piano music making”


Peter Margasak, Downbeat Magazine, 2010



About the Solo Album "Heartland" on Another Timbre


"...it's hard to believe that it's a recording of solo piano music. Mayas' training as a classical musician has helped her develop a highly attuned sense of touch for the keyboard, which is still in evidence but now extends to the percussive treatment of strings, arresting control of attack and resonance, and the real-time orchestration of timbres. Like Cor Fuhler, Andrea Neumann and Sebastian Lexer, she's developed an approach to the piano that grapples with the entire instrument, from strings to soundboard, keys to frame..."
Michael Rosenstein - Paris transatlantic magazine

"....This is a great CD, very powerful and intense.The piano is the piano throughout, but Mayas knows how to pull out so many more of the instrument, the scraping, bowing and plucking that this fifty minute release is a breathtaking work..."
Frans de Waard - vitalweekly

"Heartland is great, a real tour de force of solo, entirely acoustic improvisation.( ..... )  this CD is not about innovation or technique, but it is a fine example of one musician using their undoubted skill to portray strong, emotional music in a very direct, powerful manner. Another really good one."
Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear

But even though she turns the piano into a steel drum band, a box of rocks, and an amplification chamber for precipitation, she never lets go of the piano’s essential self. (..) she is most in touch with the piano as a miniature orchestra.
Bill Meyer, Signal to Noise

"It is one of the widest and deepest adventures into the sonic heart of the piano, including its entire cardiovascular system attached to it.(...)  It is so powerful that it's captivating."

Stef Gijssels



"Put together, it's an exhilarating sonic brew: after her introductory drones disperse, the music flies with cartoon-like velocity.  Metrically intricate, brittle patterns ricochet against the instrument casing like it's a pinball machine, strings twanging together like the expressive tuning of a blues guitarist.  Towards the finish, keyboard harmonies get more empathically struck – Mayas began with the future and has worked back to the instrument we already know."

Phillip Clark, The Wire


"The real success of Heartland lies not just in the sounds that Mayas produces, but in the way that they are put together into a coherent and compelling performance. Across its two extended tracks, the energy and invention of the album never flags. It maintains a forward momentum that draws the listener in. (...) On occasions here, she generates such a variety of sounds that it is difficult to believe they all emanate from one woman plus one piano."

John Eyles : All about Jazz

The next night’s highlight was the duet by Tony Buck (percussion) and Magda Mayas (prepared piano). Harmonics seeped from all that they struck, scraped and wrung out producing a luscious ebb and flow of complex layers. Lost in the evocations of this piece, I imagined at one point that I was hearing the everyday sounds of a small town, notated and reproduced in musical form. Eyes closed, I lost track of instrument identity sometimes and had to look back at the stage to understand exactly what was creating these sounds so full of cadence, resonance and melody.
tony osborne: the now now festival 2011

„....Improvised duos have lots of pitfalls to avoid: levels of alertness and/or
talent can be too disparate, the speed of interaction may never sync, one
person can try too hard to push the music in a certain direction, etc. But from
the very first sounds they made and all the way to the final tones of the
encore, these two were in perfect balance throughout. Tightly intertwined at
the level of both the sonic material they pursued and the rhythmic pointillism
with which they went about their journey, they stunned me into wide-eyed,
open-mouthed attention.“

By Andrew Choate
 facsimilemagazine 2007


"There’s just 36 minutes of music here, but every second of it is interesting.
(..) but there’s no attempt here to emulate the iconic piano
and drum duos of the past – Coltrane and Ali, Taylor and Roach. Mayas and
Buck create their own intimate languages and in the process deliver
something very special and exactly the right length."

The Wire
Reviewed by Brian Morton April 09

About  Great Waitress

"If spiders have musical dreams while spinning webs, they might sound like the fragile wisps of sound created by Great Waitress....Sometimes the individual instruments become blurred in a sonic mystery that is both enthralling and disorienting. Almost invariably, the sounds are tiny and delicate - just the faintest engraving upon silence - and as intricately connected as that spider's web"
John Shand

„In the end, Flock creates an uncanny listening experience... For this reason, it’s both exciting and unsettling: we know that these three musicians created what we hear, that it is a direct product of their considerable talent, and yet we are haunted by a sense that there’s some other element at work, something we won’t ever be able to unmask. This isn’t to suggest some mystical or divine hand was lent to Great Waitress— it is solely the work of three impressive musicians—only that the result of their collaboration transcends our ability as listeners to fully grasp how everything comes together just so. And so it is.“
Dan Sorrells

"Great Waitress" is a trio, with Magda Mayas on piano, Monika Brooks on accordion and Laura Altman on clarinet, and their music is featherlike, with soft sounds cautiously weaving a calm but intense silenscape. ... Fragile and solid at the same time. Like touching the wings of a butterfly, it is almost as risky and daring to listen to this music, as your personal volume and sound could harm what you hear.
all about jazz

"It’s lucid improvisation that doesn’t revel in compulsive freak-outs or stagnant passages.
The effect is partially hypnotic and largely unsettling..."
Bobby Power
"...the contemplative trio of Magda Mayas, Monika Brooks and Laura Altman. It’s very, very quiet, the overlapping of soughing and sighing from Brooks’ accordion and Altman’s clarinet creating a sustaining environment for the rattles and moans coaxed from the piano by Mayas, who without ego leads this concentrated exploration. This trio exemplifies what I find most interesting about improvised music: each musician equally in the moment, equally open to discovery, listening at the very deepest level and choosing their techniques in relation to each other, to create an absorbing, cohesive whole."
Gail Priest, Realtime Arts 


About the Duo with Christine Abdelnour
 Album " Myriad" on unsounds
Magda Mayas and Christine Abdelnour deliver mesmerizing improvised music that takes full advantage of the sonic possibilities of two acoustic instruments, piano and alto saxophone. They take the listener on a path, precise, tense, and greatly adventurous. This is music that demands commited listening; a highly rewarding improvisation.
.....The end result is beautiful, with music stripped of every useless ornamentation or decoration, revealing a level of physical and emotional sensitivity coupled with a coherent aesthetic vision.
Fragile, ethereal, intense and beautiful. A great listening experience for music lovers with open ears.
....Magda Mayas is a young percussionist from Berlin but her favorite instrument is the piano. And this is sheer luck for us, the listeners, since she has developed a very solid technique on tingling, scraping, bowing and scratching the strings inside the piano, speaking to us in a very personal and comprehensive sonic language....
What we have here is a highly conscious, crafted sound of a duo that amounts to an impressive wholeness of a single entity. This is a very rare scenario when we discuss avant-garde improvised music played live (during the Meteo Festival in France).
....After their first album Teeming, Myriad certainly reinforces the appetite for more recordings of this unusual duo that consists of a standing pianist and a sitting sax player.
Written by Fotis Kontomichos Posted in Recent arrivals
Album "TEEMING" on olofbright
.... But even more important, Abdelnour and Mayas have the sort of rapport that is necessary for music made on the fly to take wings. No matter how unusual each player’s sounds may be, they sound like just the right thing in each other’s presence.
By Bill Meyer
....Its a breathtaking fifty-five minute ride which leaves the listener not only highly impressed with a sheer, great variety of music, but also slightly exhausted of this roller coaster ride. Wow. (FdW)
Address: http://www.olofbright.com
....Both musicians have a wide enough palette of sounds to keep things from becoming repetitive, and there is enough surprise and invention in the music to keep me engaged completely, the music doesn’t ever sound date or generic.
Richard Pinnell


cover photo by Peter Gannushkin