Michael Kollwitz | Serenity II: More Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick

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Serenity II: More Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick

by Michael Kollwitz

'Serenity II' is the Billboard charting Top Ten New Age followup album to 'Serenity- Peaceful Music on The Chapman Stick' (2017). Both albums were performed on the extraordinary Chapman Stick and continue to garner acclaim and international airplay.
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Presence
3:24 $0.99
2. Wrapped in Love
4:15 $0.99
3. Climbing the Mountain
4:11 $0.99
4. Clear Passage
4:40 $0.99
5. Live and Let Live
4:43 $0.99
6. The Balance
3:12 $0.99
7. Blue Skies
3:37 $0.99
8. Pure Signal
4:47 $0.99
9. Welcome Home
3:49 $0.99
10. A Greater Purpose
3:08 $0.99
11. One with Nature
2:51 $0.99
12. Shaman's Cave
4:44 $0.99
13. Easy Does It
3:11 $0.99
14. Breaking Free
3:56 $0.99
15. Beyond the Clouds
2:39 $0.99
16. Way of Knowledge
4:18 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
'Serenity II' is the Billboard Top Ten New Age charting followup album to 'Serenity- Peaceful Music on The Chapman Stick' (2017) that reached #8 on Billboard one week after its release in April 2018. Michael's first album in the New Age genre - 'Serenity I' -enthralled listeners worldwide and continues to receive international acclaim and airplay while introducing many to a little-known instrument capable of astounding expressiveness and versatility. 'Serenity I' reached #8 on the Zone Music Reporter chart in Sept. 2017 and was nominated for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album of 2017 by One World Music Radio in the United Kingdom. It also gained placements on the 'Spa' channels of four international airlines.

Both albums consist of a full hour of simple, peaceful, relaxing music on the extraordinary yet uncommon stringed instrument created by Emmett Chapman in 1974 known as The Chapman Stick. One of the inventor's first students, Kollwitz wields his considerable talents on The Stick to create unusual sonic tapestries that evoke calmness, healing and reflection- like the red rocks of his hometown in Sedona, Arizona. He credits his musical inspiration to his ongoing study of 'Steps To Knowledge- The Book Of Inner Knowing' by Marshall Vian Summers.


Michael Kollwitz is a Stickman, but he’s no drummer. He is one of very few musicians who have mastered an unusual stringed instrument called “The Chapman Stick", and for the past forty years, he has stayed true to his mission to bring The Stick’s unique music to as many people as he can. He may have been born under a lucky star, or it might have been good old serendipity, but in the 1970’s, Michael was fortunate to cross paths with The Stick’s inventor, Emmett Chapman. To Michael’s delight, Emmett was more than willing to take him under his wing and the two embarked on a teacher-student journey that has lasted to this day.

Though Michael’s music career began back in high school as a talented trumpet player, once The Stick was in his hands, he didn’t look back. The Chapman Stick is the only instrument he now plays and records on. The Stick’s magic may well lie in the simplicity of its design: it’s part of the guitar family, and indeed, resembles the neck and head of a guitar, but is played more like a piano with two-handed tapping, and has an incredibly versatile range of sounds. The expressive instrument gives players endless possibilities, and Michael has harnessed these with virtuosic effect.

Being a first generation Stickman came with decided benefits for Michael. Consistently booked for musical gigs, he traveled extensively, opening for the Beach Boys one year, and earning raves for his one-of-a-kind performances along the way. By the early 2000’s, he had amassed such a following that he decided to record his first solo album and join the festival and fair circuit to play music full time. Sacramento became home base for a time, and with his typical flair, Michael became a fixture in the community. He had numerous television appearances, radio interviews and even starred as the subject of the award-winning documentary, “Stick Man.” In 2007, seeking new adventures, he relocated to Hawaii.

Hawaii proved to be a musically fertile place for Michael. He crossed paths with Carlos Santana while playing a gig on Maui, and Santana was visibly moved by Michael’s music. Fresh off the glow of having a personal musical idol respond so well to him, Mick Fleetwood also happened upon Michael during a performance. Fleetwood planted the seed that Hawaiian music would sound amazing played on The Stick, and Michael went on to record six albums during his time on Maui.

Michael has since taken The Stick to new heights, recording music in such diverse genres as Jazz, Classic Rock, Latin, Hawaiian, and Americana. Michael’s 21st album, “Serenity”, marks a change in course for his music. From the album art of the famous Sedona landmark, Bell Rock, to the rich, versatile songs, Michael’s goal with his latest release is to create a sonically healing experience, and evoke simplicity and relaxation for his listeners. Michael plans to continue recording and traveling, spreading the joy of The Stick, and the inimitable music he coaxes from it, one listener at a time.



to write a review

Kirk Brimmer

Very soothing and always delightful to listen to
I just wanted you to know that my wife and I played your CDs non-stop during our return drive to Georgia. Very soothing and always delightful to listen to.

I even have a Michael Kollwitz radio station on Pandora in my office. Great background music & nice to have on when my puppy & I curl up in the Lazy-Boy for a mid-afternoon nap.

Best regards and Happy Holidays!

Vivek Kumar - India

This is the first time I heard someone play the instrument called ‘The Chapman S
This is the first time I heard someone play the instrument called ‘The Chapman Stick.’ Well, my first impression was that it sounds like an acoustic guitar and somewhat similar to a Hawaiian guitar too but obviously, there is a difference in structure, size, and also the number of strings etc. apart from the playing style.
What I noticed very particularly is the weight the artist gave to every note in the 7th track ‘Blue Skies.’ The artist, by then, starts inviting the listener to pay more attention to the music rather than being carried upon the sound in a more carefree manner. Music is often conversational where the listener is drawn into talks by music though it does all the talking!
Listening to ‘The Chapman Stick’ was a great experience, and I can’t wait for some future music which may have more experimentation and maybe some collaboration with other musicians. Congratulations to Michael for another great music collection.

Simon Barrett - Blogger News Network

A delightful adventure into relaxation, just close your eyes and let the music f
I read the title with awe, a Chapman Stick enthusiast is as rare as a 1970’s British sports car with Lucas electrics! The ‘Stick’ is hardly a mainstream instrument. I first encountered it a few years ago when I met the aptly named band ‘The Stickmen’.
The Chapman Stick is a wonderful tool in the correct hands, and Michael Kollwitz has those hands. In total Michael has released 22 albums all on the Chapman Stick. The amazing aspect of the stick is that it gives the illusion of far more notes being played than in fact are, Serenity II is a delightful adventure into relaxation, just close your eyes and let the music flow over you. With 16 tracks Serenity II is a full hour of great music on the Chapman Stick. I am always interested in the history of a musician, it turns out that he originally was an up and coming trumpet player while in high school. It was after a chance meeting with the inventor Emmett Chapman that he fell in love with the instrument.

Steve Sheppard

Review from One World Music Radio
The first time around I adored the work of Michael Kollwitz and his original album Serenity, with the second edition arriving some months later, we are gifted with no less than 16 more tracks to soothe our souls and ease our minds with Serenity II.
The supreme smoothness and calmness of approach can be found with ease on tracks like the opener The Presence and the attractive and kindly composition Wrapped in Love.
What Kollwitz does so well is create an serene atmosphere, which is constant and gentle throughout the entire hour, fine examples of that fluency can be found on the forever onward energies of Climbing the Mountain, a track that has a slow sense of focused movement and then the openness of Clear Passage, a piece that contains a certain sense of a light hearted quality within.
The Chapman Stick may be worth some research if you are not aware of the instrument, I would say that of all the artists who perform with this instrument, Kollwitz must be at the top of that musical tree, this is so evident with you listen to pieces like Live and Let Live, this has a distinct Jazz ethic to its construction and the ever charming The Balance, a warm composition that creates a wonderful sense of well-being whilst listening, but then again the whole album does.
The warmth of this release is a total boon, especially if you feature the previous album on a playlist, you will have near on two hours of serenity, those subtle tones of tranquillity can be further emphasised by compositions like Blue Skies, a song with such depth of colour and musical field, or Pure Signal, an arrangement that simply floats with the bliss of a summers day.
The Chapman Stick manifests a liquid like tone to its refrains like no other instrument, and a much eased back motif comes as a result of this very careful and crafted performance, two good examples of this are the pieces Welcome Home, a track that seems to have a divine balminess about its construction and the smooth confidence of A Greater Purpose.
There is also a superb technical essence to this album that can be really enjoyed as well, listen to the gentle intricacies of compositions like One With Nature, a calm short form styled song that is as tender as it is peaceful, or Shaman’s Cave, where one will find a wonderful narrative to guide you along your way within the piece.
Michael Kollwitz has a talent for creating a temperate atmospheric musical environment with each track, pieces like Easy Does It, the perfect Sunday morning opus and the crafted and quite brilliant Breaking Free, a song with the chilled ambience of a spring afternoon in the mountains.
By the time you have reached this point, you will be so relaxed and calm, you may just want to lay back and close your eyes, I would imagine the sleep that would follow would be some of the best ever, so to gift you two last sublimely laid back and unflustered arrangements is the total pleasure of the artist.
The shortest track off the album is our penultimate offering and called Beyond the Clouds, a piece that contains a composed and still feeling, akin to laying on your back looking up at an August sky, cloud watching. The last composition is probably the most placid and gentle of all and called Way of Knowledge, this one will really give you such a sublime sense of calmness as it plays.
Michael Kollwitz has done it again; he has created yet another alternate dimension of supreme tranquillity to get lost in. Serenity II connects perfectly with its sister album and gifts to you yet another hour of utter bliss with which to ease the trials and tribulations of the day completely away.

Candice Michelle

Contemplative music on the Chapman Stick
Michael Kollwitz is a lifelong master of the Chapman Stick – a guitar/piano type of hybrid instrument in both its sound and functionality, which resembles the head and neck of guitar but is played more like a piano by using two-handed tapping. Having previously lived in Sacramento, California before relocating to Hawaii in 2007, Kollwitz’ latest album, entitled Serenity II: More Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick, was recorded in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. His 22nd album to date – and 2nd album marketed in the “new age” genre – Serenity II embarks along a similar musical path as its equally mesmerizing predecessor, Serenity, in the form of 16 instrumental compositions that were inspired by the book Steps to Knowledge: The Book of Inner Knowing by Marshall Vian Summers.

The album opens with “The Presence”, an earthy and soul-soothing piece that perfectly sets the mood for the rest to follow, as a balmy melody washes over the senses like a warm current. Kollwitz’ signature sound is intimately cozy and leisurely, as he seemingly merges the equally spellbinding albeit naturally contrasting environments of the Hawaiian pacific with the Arizona desert, often within the same composition. The melodies mostly possess a dreamy, fluid quality that is frequently enhanced by atmospheric backlighting in the form of subtly shimmering and suspended tones, which lend the compositions additional depth and richness.

Thoughtful song titles allude to themes of personal reflection, whether it be inwards upon one’s own feelings and emotions or outwards upon surrounding natural landscapes, as one might easily imagine themselves cozying up by a fireplace, relaxing by the Oceanside, or peering out into a sunset canyon from a mountaintop.

While it’s difficult for me to choose a favorite track on this album – being that every composition is as equally compelling as the next – after repeated listens, I did find myself particularly drawn to “Climbing the Mountain” and “Blue Skies”.

Although an electric instrument, the Chapman Stick emits an organic sound that would naturally appeal to fans of atmospheric and relaxing acoustic music. All in all, fans of Michael Kollwitz’ previous album, Serenity – as well as Jeff Pearce’s stylistically similar landmark album on the Chapman Stick entitled Rainshadow Sky – are enthusiastically encouraged to add Serenity II to their personal collection!

Ed Dilley

Your music makes me feel good!
So cool my friend. I love all your music. Your music makes me feel good. I play it all the time when I am at Biohome.

Donna Zenner

Playing continually in the car.
I bought Serenity II for a school teacher that plays it at rest time after lunch. The kids love it, so does she. I bought one for me that I keep playing continually in the car. Thank you for all you do! Great job!! Blessings to you & your music!

Dick Metcalf -Editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews

I believe this song will be recommended for an award (and GET it).
Michael Kollwitz calming tasteful Chapman Stick beauty Michael Kollwitz – SERENITY II:  After listening to the beautifully calming and tasteful music that Michael has created on his newest release, I continue to be amazed… since the album isn’t scheduled until April 13th, 2018, there is only one sample available (I’ll come back and add the others in when I’m notified that the album is in “pre-sale” mode), but “Wrapped In Love” will make you a believer, I’ve no doubt… you just can’t play music like this unless you have already realized the value of true peace and love – a truly stunning performance from a very gifted artist.
The whole sentiment on “Live and Let Live” is a wonderful expression of joyful living, and reminds me (strongly) of the years I spent in Hawaii… Michael’s weave of subtle strings in, around and through his Chapman Stick make this composition one that will stay on my playlists for years to come.
Life’s daily challenges won’t seem nearly as insurmountable as they may have when you listen carefully to the gentle (yet powerful) motion on Michael’s “Climbing The Mountain”… this is the kind of music that will help you rise above the trials and tribulations and ascend to new heights… a truly beautiful piece of music.
You get a total of sixteen sonic adventures on this album; it clocks in at just over an hour… be sure to block out that time, so you can listen to Michael’s magic with your headphones on… I’ve no doubt you’ll find your own personal favorite track, but mine is (unquestionably) the deep and spiritual movements on the 4:40 “Clear Passage”… in fact, I believe this song will be recommended for an award (and GET it).
I give Michael a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99 for this superbly creative sonic wonderment.

Dyan Garris for New Age CD.com

Timeless and utterly effortless, “Serenity II” by Michael Kollwitz is the ultima
Following the successful 2017 release of the album “Serenity,” Michael Kollwitz has done it again with his 2018 album release, “Serenity II.” This is his 22nd album, and his 2nd album release in the New Age genre.   Kollwitz’s instrument is the unique and unusual Chapman Stick, which he describes as “the perfect marriage between piano and guitar.” Kollwitz composed and performed all 16 tracks on “Serenity II.” The album is extraordinarily serene – aptly named – and melodic, speaking to us of gentle, warm breezes and flowing, peace inside and out.
The album opens with the rich and mellow, “The Presence.” Graceful and elegant, with a smoothly fluid melody, it’s soul-soothing and memorable. “Wrapped in Love” on track 2 follows suit, and we may find ourselves wanting to stay in this harmonic, tranquil space forever. Yes, I think I will.
Exploring further, and finding every song on this album to be stunningly beautiful, “One With Nature,” track 11, is a personal favorite; a dreamy composition with a soft flute underlay.  Track 12, “Shaman’s Cave,” is most wonderful, with intricate, delicate, and transportive nuances. “Easy Does It,” on track 13 is just that. Easy, laid-back, and effortlessly peaceful.  Although it was really hard to choose, “Breaking Free,” track 14, is my definitive favorite on the album. The mix here is gorgeous, making a lush and languid landscape for perfect relaxation.  “Beyond the Clouds,” track 15, perfectly conveys a heavenly feel with an ethereal melody and whispy underlay. The album closes out with the facile and eloquent “Way of Knowledge,” which is just over 4 minutes of pure bliss.
“Serenity II” is just the right amount of everything on every single track, and the perfect addition to any contemporary New Age album collection. Timeless and utterly effortless, “Serenity II” by Michael Kollwitz is the ultimate oasis of true serenity.  Highly recommended and a “must have.”

Diane Hilbert

My house feels so peaceful with your beautiful music
WOW, Michael, I love the CDs. I play Serenity at night to go to sleep with and I play Secret Mountain during the afternoon when I sit down to relax after doing the necessary chores. My house feels so peaceful with your beautiful music, especially with the stress we have been going through with my son and his family in the middle of hurricane Irma. Their home is on the Cudjoe Key which got the center of the storm as it crossed the Keys. They are okay after evacuating twice and ending up in Pensacola. Their two daughters are returning to their colleges this weekend in Lakeland and Miami. My son and his wife can’t return home for a few weeks. At least they are all okay. I will be thinking of you every day as I listen to your music. God bless