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Tiny Desk Premiere: Hauschka

Hauschka performs a Tiny Desk concert.
Michael Zamora
Hauschka performs a Tiny Desk concert.

The last time Volker Bertelmann stopped by NPR to perform as Hauschka, back in 2010, he dumped handfuls of Ping-Pong balls and anything else he could think of over the strings of our in-house grand piano, a performance captured in one of NPR's pristine studios (in a building that no longer exists). But for the Tiny Desk, the pianist and composer assumed the challenge of preparing our significantly smaller upright in a much-less-controlled environment.

It's hard to spot everything Hauschka deployed for this mostly improvised set, but after dismantling much of the piano's cabinet, he stuffed the strings with tin foil, a glob of pink putty, cellophane, piano tuner mutes, sleigh bells, gaffers tape and whatever else he could rummage from a large bag of toys he carries with him.

Hauschka is joined by cellists Carol Anne Bosco and Devree Lewis who, since the set was mostly improvised, were told to simply come on "about 10 minutes" into his performance. Note that the songs are named for the location they were performed, in this case "Washington," and numbered. The closing cut, "Loved Ones," is from his latest album, Philanthropy.

Bertelmann's performance at the Tiny Desk comes just over a year after winning an Oscar for his score to the film All Quiet on the Western Front.


  • "Washington One"
  • "Washington Two"
  • "Washington Three"
  • "Loved Ones"


  • Hauschka, aka Volker Bertelmann: piano
  • Carol Anne Bosco: cello
  • Devree Lewis: cello


  • Producer: Robin Hilton
  • Director/Editor: Maia Stern
  • Audio Technical Director: Josephine Nyounai
  • Host/Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Sofia Seidel
  • Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Michael Zamora
  • Tiny Desk Team: Hazel Cills, Kara Frame
  • Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

Copyright 2024 NPR

Robin Hilton
Robin Hilton is known as the host of NPR's New Music Friday podcast, the former co-host of All Songs Considered and for his name that appears in white bubble letters above every concert at the Tiny Desk, a series he helped start in 2008 with Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson. He produced several early acts, including the second-ever performer in the series, Vic Chesnutt, and suggested naming the series Tiny Desk after Tiny Desk Unit, a band Boilen was in in 1979. He's since produced performances at the Desk by everyone from Sharon Van Etten and Son Lux to Steve Martin, Harry Styles and Chance the Rapper.