Sheer Pluck - the name of a work for solo guitar by the American composer,
Milton Babbitt - was born of a combined initiative by Klaus Heim and Seth Josel.
Independent of each other's efforts in the late 90's and early 00's, both were wrestling with matters involving the continued expansion of the guitar repertoire and the difficulties encountered trying to maintain an integral overview of the developments in the New Art Music arena. Among others, they reached the conclusion that an extensive archive of sorts would potentially be of interest to guitarists, scholars and aficionadoes. Josel was busy compiling lists of electric guitar music and Heim was developing his own website called "contemporary guitar composers", which featured, above all, internet links for reference purposes. This site went online in 2002 and has proved already to be a valuable source of information for guitarists all over the world.
Since their encounter in the summer of 2002, Heim and Josel were determined to tackle the overwhelming challenges of the task at hand by creating and combining databases which would go beyond the simple listing of composer, work title and date. Among other things, they were interested in being able to provide information regarding the dissemination of new art music by including commissioning and premiere information. It happens to be a fact that the city of Amsterdam stands very much at the forefront of activities involving all things concerned with new music at the present time. By detailing the instrumentation for chamber music, they were convinced that the guitar was becoming liberated from its earlier isolation. Ensembles such as Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Nieuw Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, MusikFabrik NRW, Apartment House, are just a few of the major musical ensembles that have employed the efforts of guitarists on a continual basis.
Heim and Josel are committed to providing a much-needed service to the guitar community, but also to fledgling ensembles, scholars, and journalists who are interested in staying up to date with the latest developments on the "plucking" front.
The authors wish to thank Michael Friedmann at Yale, Stefan Conradi at Edition Peters, Josh Levine at SF State, Stefan Weise, and Alexander Herschung for their valuable help and assistance, especially during the development and pre-launch phase.
Klaus Heim studied comparative literature and philosophy and is now working as a computer programmer.
Seth Josel has recorded and performed a wide variety of contemporary music for the guitar. Details of his work can be found under: josel.sheerpluck.de.