10 March 2022

Heatman Marek Scholler transmits energy not only on stage

Machinist or musician? Half and half | Autor: archives of M. Scholler

In the spirit of the Rangers song, he says that “engineering met him by accident.” Eventually, Marek Scholler found his way into the field, became interested in thermomechanics, which he now does as a freelancer and still collaborates with his alma mater. In addition, he has an unmissable hobby, which has long since grown into a second profession: as a bandleader, he leads the eighteen-member Brno big band New Time Orchestra.

A look at Mark Scholler's website, aptly named, reveals that he is a specialist in the field of CDF, or Computational Fluid Dynamics. “It is about computer simulations of flow and heat transfer for various applications,” explains Scholler, adding with a smile that he originally chose to study at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of BUT (Brno University of Technology) because he did not want to spend all his days at a computer in his future job.

But that shouldn't tempt him to study thermomechanics, a field that deals with the acquisition, transformation and transport of energy and the efficiency of its use, in his third year. “I enjoy the fact that it's a fairly abstract field, you don't have anything tangible in thermomechanics. I was interested in that even back then,” he says.

Marek Scholler still cooperates with his alma mater | Autor: Lucie Baziková
He was lured away from his studies just before completing his doctorate by a job with the international company Honeywell, where he went freelance after twelve years. “This was partly forced by the fact that the entire department was moved from the Czech Republic to India. On the other hand, I guess it was meant to be,” says Scholler in retrospect, who was able to put even more effort into his next project, which at first glance has little to do with engineering: the big band New Time Orchestra. If it weren't for the pandemic, he said he would have answered “half and half” when asked if he felt more like a machinist or a musician. The coronavirus shuffled the cards a bit, but it doesn't change the fact that New Time Orchestra belongs to the established domestic big bands.

“I've played in similar bands before. I saw how things could be done differently, better, but my efforts to change things always came to nothing. So I figured that rather than persuade anyone, I'd do it my own way,” Scholler says of the time when he started the band.

“We try to play energetic stuff,” says Scholler | Autor: SANDL
From the beginning, he had a professional orchestra in mind. “The band is built on the basis of a classic big band, 18 people, which is not easy to support. That's why I wanted it not to be a hobby project, but to reach out to professional musicians at the highest level so that we can make good music and so that our work can be properly honoured. We are trying to push ourselves higher and higher, not only artistically, but also visually and marketing-wise,” he says.

When he started out as a bandleader, he was helped by the same thing that made his transition from employment to business easier a few years later: contacts. “If you have to start something on your own, you can't start from scratch. It's good to build contacts with people who can help you with your idea – whether you're talking about starting a business or maybe a band,” Scholler believes.

We don't want to make art production for a limited spectrum of listeners. Rather, we want to be mainstream and accessible in the best sense of the word.

We return to thermomechanics, which Marek Scholler likes so much. He also named the agency under which the orchestra plays as HEAT art. Above all, he constantly stresses the importance of the energy transfer between the band and the audience.

In addition to swing hits, the New Time Orchestra's repertoire also includes arrangements of pop, jazz, funk and rock. “We don't want to do art production for a limited spectrum of listeners. Rather, we want to be mainstream and accessible in the best sense of the word. This type of orchestra, just from the way it is built, is destined to play energetic music. We have four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones and a rhythm section. I try to put energetic things into the repertoire, where it is possible to use the power of the orchestra and build up the composition. Even the singer Hanka Holišová, who often performs with us, is a very energetic personality and is able to sell our compositions very well,” explains Scholler, who plays around two dozen performances with the orchestra every year.

New Time Orchestra with singer Hana Holišová | Autor: VASVAFOTO
He's still waiting for his dream gig. His highest point is said to be the Sydney Opera House. “I've never been there, but the videos and photos give me a great feeling about the place. Carnegie Hall doesn't get me out of my chair, but I would love to play at the Sydney Opera House,” concludes Scholler. So let's see if Heatman can take his energy to the other side.


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