Felix Obelix

the musical brainchild of Wendy Spitzer
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    November 12th, 2018adminUncategorized

    Hello there! The video to Portraits in Common, the public space project I did with photographer Douglas Vuncannon has now been released. Thanks to Downtown Durham, Inc. for grant funding of this project and to all the participants. Project co-conceived by Doug and I; photography by Doug; video and original music by Felix Obelix (i.e., me, Wendy Spitzer). In a country that feels more and more divided, here’s a slice of what non-division looks like:

  • scissors
    August 11th, 2018adminUncategorized

    Join me and my collaborator/photographer Douglas Vuncannon on Friday, August 17, 2018 at Five Points Alley in downtown Durham, North Carolina for a participatory project! Strangers will talk, mysteries will be revealed, portraits will be taken, a video made and, of course, new music from Felix Obelix will accompany that final video. Read more about the project below. Thanks to Downtown Durham, Inc. for the opportunity (and the funding! $$$) to do this! Look for that video later this year. Rain date: August 24, 2018. Questions? email me at felixobelix [at] gmail [dot] com.

    Portraits in Common

    As Durham changes rapidly, can its long-time and recent denizens and visitors interact in a meaningful way to learn about each other? In a time when civil society seems more divided than ever, can a simple, participatory art project bridge any of those divides? Can it create something of aesthetic value as well as social cohesion value?

    In this project, Wendy Spitzer (aka Felix Obelix, musician/composer/ art-maker) and Douglas Vuncannon (documentary photographer/musician) seek to engage the public in a collaborative, participatory art/photography exercise. Visitors will be paired with other visitors whom they don’t know and will be tasked with discovering the most unusual thing they have in common. After a seven-minute discussion, the participants will then be photographed together. The final outcome will be a video of the photographed portraits and an accompanying original musical soundtrack, to be posted online for Durhamites and the wider world.

    Here are a few photos from our beta testing of the project:

    Andy-Is Bill-Paul Moll-Alex

  • scissors
    April 23rd, 2018adminUncategorized

    Save the date: I’ll be performing a large-scale, multi-disciplinary show on July 14, 2018 at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The night will feature multiple sets with multiple groups and is based on the musical, literary, and art collaborations I’ve been involved with over the past two years. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details. Thanks!

  • scissors
    September 7th, 2017adminUncategorized

    …from Tracking the Creative Process in Music, a conference in Huddersfield, UK where I’ll be presenting some of my master’s research. Here’s a sneak peak of a video I’ll be showing, provided Hurricane Irma doesn’t obliterate the airline industry next week:

    See you soon, UK!

  • scissors
    May 17th, 2017adminUncategorized

    After an 800+ mile drive through wildflowered mountains and rolling hills and flat, wind-swept cornfields, I’ve arrived in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, here to present (as Felix Obelix, no less) my MMus research at the 13th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. As a diehard musician (“practitioner” in the parlance), I feel a bit of an imposter here, amongst the academics but I’m here no less. On Saturday (May 20 at 4pm in Engineering Room 106B1, if you happen to be around…) I’m be presenting on “Vulnerability, Trust and the Social Dynamic in Creative Collaboration: An Arts-Based Research Perspective”. Though everyone who’s ever played music with another person knows of it implicitly, I’ve tried to untangle some of the threads of how musicians negotiate psychological and emotional components while writing new music together. What do we talk about when we talk about co-creation? I explored this by both researching the field and then actually doing the thing, with my lovely collaborators. See below for more. I’d love feedback on this project! xxx Wendy / Felix Obelix

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    November 10th, 2016adminUncategorized

    Hi everyone,
    You’ll forgive me if I’ve been quiet here, as I spent the better part of 2016 researching, writing and performing a dissertation at Goldsmiths, University of London, in support of my Master of Music degree in Creative Practice. Entitled, Trust Them With Your Weird and Strange Notes: An Arts-Based Research Perspective on Vulnerability and the Social Dynamic in Creative Collaboration, I explored how the social dynamic and issues of risk, trust, and vulnerability play out when people collaborate on creative projects. Using an arts-based methodology, I teamed up with Genevieve Dawson, Nour Emam and Barnabas Poffley, writing music collaboratively with each, which we performed live on the 8th of September, 2016. In the research component of the roject, I developed a theoretical framework for how interpersonal dynamics impact collaborations and a few best practices for people working collaboratively.

    I’ve done some mammoth projects in my time, but this one kind of took the take. I’m happy to report it was awarded DISTINCTION (i.e., for you non-Brits, a really high grade), and that I’m graduating overall with distinction. I’m reworking the dissertation a bit to see if it can be published as a journal article, but if you’re interested in reading it now, shoot me an email (felixobelix [at] gmail.com) and I’ll send you a copy. Video from the performance is forthcoming…

    Here are some still photographs from the sessions. Thanks to my advisor, Dr Lisa Busby, for her guidance through this process, and of course to Gen, Nour, and Barny, without whom I would not have been able to have done this. Lastly, I return to North Carolina, US of A in mid-December, so I’ll see you stateside for more Felix Obelix shenanigans (an academic term), in 2017! xxx Wendy

    me + Genevieve, in collaborative songwriting.






    me + Nour, exploring improvisation with acoustic instruments and live electronics






    me + Barnabas, aka ‘rhythm study’ – explorations in meter manipulation in instrumental tunes

  • scissors
    January 26th, 2016adminUncategorized

    Finally got video of ‘Church of Bones’ –  one of the choir pieces I was commissioned back in spring 2015. This is the European premiere, at the New Music Ensemble December Concert, Goldsmiths University, London.

    The performers:
    Felix Obelix (i.e., me!) – conductor!
    Stirling Copeland – piano
    Callum Speed – bass
    Henry O’Brien – bass (+soloist)
    Rem Berger – tenor
    Nicholas Stuecklin – tenor
    Grace Lee – alto
    Catarina dos Santos – alto
    Mathilde Bataille – alto
    Anna Gunn O’Connor – soprano
    Emma Clark – soprano
    Maria Magnusdottir – soprano

    If you are interested in performing this piece, please email: felixobelix [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for watching!

  • scissors
    December 11th, 2015adminUncategorized

    The European premiere of one of my choral pieces, ‘Church of Bones’ will happen tonight at 7:30pm in the Great Hall of Goldsmiths, University of London as part of the New Music Ensemble concert. I’m conducting and the performance will be accompanied by a projection of my photographs of the Sedlec Ossuary (Kutna Hora, Czech Republic). Thanks to the NME, to the choir (Henry O’Brien, Callum Speed, Nicholas Stuecklin, Rem Berger, Mathilde Bataille, Grace Lee, Catarina dos Santos, Emma Clark, Anna Gunn O’Connor and Maria Magnusdottir) and the pianist Stirling Copeland, for all their hard work and enthusiasm. The show is free, Londoners!


  • scissors
    October 9th, 2015adminUncategorized

    FO fans and acquaintances and spambots whose programs have programmed them to come here:

    I’ve relocated to London for 2015-2016 for a graduate programme (a MMus in Creative Practice at Goldsmiths, University of London), which means new tracks, new performances, and fish-and-chip-inspired nightmares. I do plan at some point to officially release the two tunes for high school choir premiered last spring, but in the meantime, I want to remind you of some anniversaries:

    The Ringtone Album is two years old now, solidly walking around and mouthing off like all two-year-olds. I’ve been told by several humans that their own two-year-old humans really like this record: catchy and weird and each song just a minute long, perfect for toddler attention spans. Originally intended as a series of songs for your cellphone to ring with, people no longer care about ringtones, and the tunes are taking on a new life as podcast/TV bumper music. If you’re a person looking for 10 seconds of exactly this for your podcast or TV show or commercial, please shoot me an email (felixobelix [at] gmail).

    The Tick of the Clock, the Beat in the Chest – The first Felix Obelix album, now five years old, has started kindergarten and has its own fully-fledged personality. My emotions towards this album are very complex, as my personal life exploded shortly after its release. In freefall from that, I didn’t have much heart to push it in the way it deserved, but listening now after all this time, I am still very proud of this record (and appreciative of the small army of musicians it took to pull it off). This is a “pop” record, or perhaps more precisely, an “unpop” record. For fans of those who explore the relationship of time and death to memory.

    Both can be listened to here: https://felixobelix.bandcamp.com/music or via all the regular channels of almighty internet.



  • scissors
    April 13th, 2015adminUncategorized

    I’ve been working with Ethan Chessin and the good young people of Camas High School in Camas, Washington, long-distance from Prague via Skype. Two of Camas High School’s choirs will be premiering two commissioned pieces I wrote specifically for them, this Saturday at the First Congregational Church in downtown Portland, Oregon (USA). If you’d like to attend, the address is 1126 SW Park Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205 and the concert starts at 7pm. The concert is part of a project called Joined Forces, in which composers were commissioned to write unusual pieces for high school choir. I wrote one piece about teenage female aggression called “Braid Your Hair Tight” specifically for the Treble Ensemble (women’s choir), and another SATB piece about the Sedlec Ossuary outside of Kutna Hora, Czech Republic called “Church of Bones”. Listen to an NPR story about the project here:

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