Wolftones - a brief history

“Do you have any earmuffs?” So began an unlikely friendship and musical collaboration between Ben Russell and Matt Schreiber on a cold day in Maine in the mid 2000s. Ben was on a break while playing with the Portland Symphony, Matt was sales clerk at an outdoor clothing
store. Ben noticed a stack of CDs on the counter recently checked out from the library, including string quartets and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, with whom Ben played while living in Boston. Conversation ensued.

Soon after their chance meeting, Matt made a lateral career move and became a librarian for the Portland Symphony and started curating a performance space in town where he and Ben began to collaborate. Ben, a classically trained violinist with a thirst for finding his own sound, Matt, a product advisor-turned orchestra librarian with a fledgeling obsession with the accordion, the two musicians came from disparate backgrounds but shared a strong chemistry and fascination with the transformation of sound into emotion and back again.

Despite the odds, Matt and Ben continued to play music together for the next decade with rare but consistent frequency. Between cats in Berlin, in a former shoe factory in Maine, on a porch in New Orleans, the duo managed to find space and time to make music together because it somehow it mattered, deeply. Now for the first time in their friendship, Matt and Ben live in the same state, and the duo has a name - Wolftones.

A wolf tone is a frequency produced on a bowed instrument that matches its natural resonance. Often considered a nuisance because of the howling sound it can create, a wolf tone possesses the instrument and makes it sing in its own voice, whether the player wants it to
or not. Sound takes over. The duo invites their music to do the same to them, and to you.

There were no earmuffs, yet ears are warm.

Wolftones at the Soundpost, Portland, ME, 2007. Photo by Somira Sao
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Ben Russell


Matt Schreiber