The Alchemist of Souls


Abraham Brody

The Alchemist of Souls

Introduction by Gulnaz Can

Photography by Ram Shergill

Set Design by Daen Palma Huse

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Abraham Brody is a brave, beautiful human being. He sits quietly on a chair and invites you to sit opposite him. He looks at you, looks into you. He takes his violin, touches it, listens to it, tastes it without taking his eyes away from your eyes. It is not only a very intense and intimate moment that you are sharing with a musical performer and his instrument, but it is also probably the first moment in your life in which you are being invited to participate in this kind of unusual and sensual interaction. You almost become the notes, you are the inspiration that leads Abraham’s fingers and teeth to the strings of his violin. It is love, very instant but very profound. He plays what he sees in you, how you make him feel, how you change his mood.

In order to do this, he opens his body, his ears, his fingers and his eyes to you, and his heart leads this opening. It is almost impossible not to feel very emotional through this experience. Art has never been this full of passion or enlightenment.

For The Protagonist Magazine, Abraham performed in a specifically designed set for the first time and we filmed his performance. Performance art is very hard to capture on film but in so doing, the team and James Corbin as the cinematographer attempted to explore a new means of showcasing what Abraham does, adding a rich visual element to mirror his performance and feeling, as is shown in the images here. He describes his experience of the shoot as different to anything he has done so far.

Read the full interview in our print issue one available online on or in bookshops and on newsstands worldwide.

Abraham explains about his work:

 “Recently I have been working more with video, and researching the power of ancient cultures and rituals as a way to heighten my own and the public's awareness of ourselves and our inner worlds. For me it is also a deeper way to connect to my roots. Upcoming performances will be a collaboration with Underdogs Gallery Lisbon and a folk music research project in Belarus next month. I am very excited to share that in June I will have a solo show in New York at Sla307 Gallery where I will show my new video installation and performance 'Nourish'. Drawing on my Lithuanian roots, it addresses issues of globalisation, migration, and loss of tradition, showing relationship to land and sacred ancient sites in Lithuania."

We are looking forward to see Abraham in concert at Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre NYC in June. Shortly after that in July he is commissioned by Fabrika CCI Gallery in Moscow and will travel to Buryatia, Siberia, near Lake Baikal. On location he will create a new video and performance piece through working with Buryat shamans and their relationship to ancestors and nature. The work will then be presented in a two-week exhibition in Moscow in October 2016.

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Abraham Brody started to play the violin when he was six years old, whilst growing up in New Hampshire, just outside of Boston. Since then he has received classical training in Boston and studied at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and in London. He created the performance “The Violinist Is Present” in an attempt to break out of the rigid format of classical performance on stage. This project was inspired by Marina Abramovic, who subsequently asked Abraham to take part in one of her own projects at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland.

Abraham has also performed in countless venues across Europe, the USA and Canada, including the Symphony Hall in Boston, Sziget Festival in Budapest, the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Moritzburg Festival in Germany, the Frauenkirche in Dresden, the Royal Opera House, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and several times at the Barbican, where he was invited to complete a residency.

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