Virtuoso Virtual

Dancing Ink - visualised classical music

The film VIRTUOS VIRTUELL is an emotional music visualisation. Flowing ink goes on an exciting and poetic journey through the music. It is based on the overture of the opera DER ALCHYMIST by Louis Spohr (1784-1859).

This experimental film, directed by the drawing artist Maja Oschmann and I, got 43 international film awards.

Abstract hand-crafted ink drawings emerge and take on characteristics and moods of the music. They accompany the music and narrate a story that appears to be laid out in the melodies and rhythms. The interplay of timid encounters and dynamic pursuits, the agile lightness and confrontation, awakens a multitude of associations.


The overture inspired Maja and me to a narrative interpretation of the music. We combined our different artistic experiences of storytelling and expressive drawings to music. Together we developed new animation techniques and created our own visual language.


Our leading ‘character’ is based on a black ink stroke. It waves, jumps, fades and surges, synchronised to the music, through an abstract environment. The threshold between the figurative and non-figurative allows a wide range of associations and emotions to form, such as curiosity, joy, anger or threat. In a world of black and white the simple stroke mesmerises the viewer and takes him on a journey through the music.


direction, producer, project idea, storyline, compositing, technical direction, stereoscopy, ink animation


direction, drawing, storyboard, image choreography, film layout, ink animation


Maja Oschmann (*1975) is an artist living in Kassel, Germany. Many of her projects focus on the relationship between drawing and music.

original music

composer: Louis Spohr (1784 – 1859)

excerpt from the overture of the opera “DER ALCHYMIST”

performed by Broadcast Symphony Orchestra Berlin, conductor Christian Fröhlich

with kind permission of  Cpo – Classic Production Osnabrück


music at the end credits

composer: TILL MERTENS


Premiere with live orchestra

The premiere was during the anniversary celebration of ‘1100 Years of Kassel” in the congress palace attended by 2000 guests in February 18th, 2013. The film music was performed live by the State Orchestra of Kassel, conducted by Helmut Imig. Imig also composed a postlude for the performance. The major of our city granted us the first award for the film, named the ‘Fulle Oscar’.

Special Recommendation

Certificate: “especially commendable”, German Film Quality Assessment Board (FBW)

Suitable for ages 0+

Voluntary Self-Regulation Organization of the German Film Industry (FSK)

Part of film program for educational purpose

The film is included in educational programs offered by German and international institutions as following:


Minifilmclub, German Film Institution / Film Museum (dff), Frankfurt. Get the work sheet.


Cinemini-Europe in association with:

The Austrian Film Museum

German Film Institut & Film Museum

Eye Filmmuseum, Netherland

Kinodvor Cinema Ljubljana, Slowenia

Taartrovers, Netherland

Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School (BFM), Estonia

European Children’s Film Association, Belgium

Serralves Foundation, Portugal


Mitmachkino 2022, German Film Quality Assessment Board (FBW)

Film Awards

Der  Film erhielt auf internationalen Filmfestivals 43 Film-Preise.


Opening Film and Special Mention, DOK Leipzig 2013 – Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, Germany


Best Animated Short, Starz Denver Film Festival 2013, USA
The jury statement: Yet from the moment it starts, until the last note is played, this mesmerizing film meshes music, timing, and choreography in a beautiful dance of ink-on-paper.


Best Experimental Film, BuSho International Short Film Festival 2013, Budapest, Hungary


Best Experimental/Abstract Film, Ottawa International Animation Festival 2013, Canada


Special Mention of the children jury, Animafest Zagreb 2014, Croatia


Special award: outstanding in matching the idea of visual music, Visual Music Award 2014, Gelnhausen, Germany


Jury Award: Best Animation and Audience Award: Best Animation, Short Sharp Film Festival 2014, Coffs Harbour, Australia


Award for the Best Art, NAFF International Animation Festival 2015, Neum, Bosnia and Herzegowina


Best Film, Tehran International Animation Festival 2015, Tehran, Iran

Funding and Sponsors

Hessian Museum Association e.V. / Hessian Ministry for Science and Art

Kasseler Sparkasse

The German State Film Funding – FFA

The Hessian Film Funding

German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media

Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Hessen-Thueringen

Stadt Kassel, Cultural Office

Germany’s national film funding institution

Kasseler Bank

Landgraf Moritz Stiftung

Dr. Wolfgang-Zippel-Stiftung

United Residential Cities eG 1889

and private sponsorship


The film was shown at 180 international film festivals.


International Animation Film Festival Stuttgart 2013, Germany


Edinburgh international film festival 2013, UK


Artisan Festival International 2013 , Cannes (World Peace Initiative) France/USA


Animateka International Animated Film Festival 2013, Ljubljana, Slovenia
(Elephant international children competition programme)


Anima Mundi 2013, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Dublin International Short Film And Music Festival 2013, Ireland


International Animation Film Festival Stuttgart 2014, Germany
(part of special program: ‘Best of 10 Years’ and ‘Abstract Films’)


Annecy, International Animation Film Festival 2014, France


Hiroshima International Animation Festival 2014, Japan

International Animated Film Festival ANIMATOR 2014, Poznan, Poland


Goldener Spatz 2014 – German Media Festival for Children, Gera/Erfurt, Germany 


TAAF – Tokyo Anime Award Festival 2015, Japan

Louis Spohr Association

VIRTUOS VIRTUELL was inspired and supported by the International Louis Spohr Association, Dr. Klaus Ostermann.

Spohr Museum

The film was produced for the Louis Spohr Museum in Kassel in stereoscopy. The film is displayed on an auto-stereoscopic monitor. The museum focuses on versatile experiences and activation of all senses.


The film also offers deaf visitors the opportunity to experience the visual translation of a piece of music.


A special exhibition ‘Making of Virtuos Virtuell’ at the Spohr Museum Kassel in 2012 took place during the art exhibition ’documenta 13’. 58000 visitors of the exhibition have seen the unfinished film in our exhibition coincidentally. Some of them have left a note in our guest book, like: … this is the best of the ’documenta’. But our film wasn’t part of it.



Another exhibition was at the German Film Museum in Frankfurt in 2014 / 2015.


Get more information about our audiovisual exhibition.


7:22 minutes


Thomas Stellmach and Maja Oschmann


Thomas Stellmach


Thomas Stellmach Animation, 2010 - 2013


Overture of the opera DER ALCHYMIST by Louis Spohr (1784-1859). Music of the end credits: Till Mertens


Motion capture of the digital ink stroke and film clips of flowing ink on paper and in water composited in After Effects for the stereoscopic version in 3D.


mp4 1080p stereo 24fps, 25fps, 29,97, 50fps

DCP 2K 24fps, 48fps, 2D and stereoscopic

35mm Dolby Digital



Short Film
music visualisation, Virtuoso Virtual, short film