Billy J. Bultheel, born 1987, in Brussels. In 2005 he enrolled at the Institute of Sonology, a department at the Royal Conservatory of the Netherlands, to study electronic music with Konrad Boehmer, Paul Berg and Kees Tazelaar. During his studies he developed a strong affection for early Renaissance music known as Ars Nova and Ars Subtilior. By applying the principles of polyphony onto the medium of electronic music, he developed a composition technique that merges complex rhythmical patterns with detailed sonic qualities to define single voices into larger resonating totalities. Applying his interest in spatialisation, he advanced in composing work for multi-speaker installations.
The inherent performativity of his music in combination with unconventional speaker set-ups brought him to shift focus to performance and choreography. In 2009 he started working with the choreographer William Forsythe at the Forsythe Company as a dramaturgical and artistic assistant. Simultaneously he started the MA program for Choreography and Performance at the Justus-Liebig Universität in Gießen, under Gerald Siegmund and Bojana Kunst and graduated in 2012.
In 2010 he founded the collective New Forms of Life and made installations and performances which have been shown internationally in venues as Mousonturm Frankfurt, Athens Biennale 2011, BRUT Vienna, and the KunstenfestivaldesArts 2012 in Brussels.
In 2013 Bultheel started his collaboration with Anne Imhof and became an essential part of her group of close collaborators, starting with her early works School of the Seven Bells, Parade, Deal, Rage that have been shown globally in museums like PS1, Palais de Tokyo, Centre Pompidou, Liste Basel.
In 2016 Bultheel wrote the music for Imhof’s wild acclaimed opera ANGST, performed in Kunsthalle Basel, Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin and MAC Montreal. In 2017 on invitation of Susanne Pfeffer for the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennial, Bultheel composed and produced the music for Imhof’s performance FAUST, which won the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. The music for Faust was released as an LP on the Berlin-based music label PAN in 2019. In 2019 Bultheel composed and produced the musical score and installation for Imhof’s performance Sex at Tate Modern, London. The music for Sex is to be released on PAN in the autumn of 2020.
In 2018 Bultheel brings his practices in performance and composition together into large performance installations. He transforms entire architectural complexes into musical instruments, and uses performance to activate these instruments with choreographed movement. Recent works are Signs of Invasion (2018) curated by Thomas Butler for Room E-1027 and When Doves Cry (2019) at the Schinkel Pavilion, both take place in Berlin.
Billy Bultheel is currently based in Berlin and Brussels.