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

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Serenity III: More Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick

by Michael Kollwitz

More exquisite, peaceful music on The Chapman Stick in this last album of the 'Serenity' trilogy. 'Serenity II' charted on Billboard and was considered for a Grammy nomination. 'Serenity I' also received nominations and significant international airplay.
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Cloud Number Eleven
5:16 $0.99
2. Soft Forest
5:01 $0.99
3. Tell Me Why
3:49 $0.99
4. Wherever It Leads
3:44 $0.99
5. Gift of Peace
3:38 $0.99
6. Smooth Sailing
3:40 $0.99
7. Sunday Morning
4:36 $0.99
8. Contemplation
4:14 $0.99
9. Winding Down
4:11 $0.99
10. Crystal Caverns
3:57 $0.99
11. Playful Curiosity
3:09 $0.99
12. Forgive and Forget
4:43 $0.99
13. Have a Good One
4:12 $0.99
14. On the Lake
4:36 $0.99
15. Secret Cargo
2:20 $0.99
16. Good Night Sleep Tight
2:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Kollwitz is one of the original pioneer players of a little-known contemporary American stringed instrument known as The Chapman Stick. Capable of astounding expressiveness and simultaneous multi-part arrangements, ‘The Stick’ combines elements of guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion; all into a single instrument that is played with both hands lightly tapping the strings. The technique used to play The Stick is much more like a piano than a guitar, and it yields a full, rich sound all it’s own that is unlike any other instrument. One of inventor Emmett Chapman’s first students, Kollwitz is one of the instrument’s strongest advocates, and one of it’s most prolific recording artists.

A Sedona, Arizona resident who gains inspiration from the natural beauty of the area, Kollwitz composes and records soothing, relaxing contemporary instrumental music exclusively on The Stick- which he jokingly refers to as “the best musical instrument you’ve never heard of.” Seeing Kollwitz perform in Hawaii, Carlos Santana was impressed by his performance and described Kollwitz’s music as “a gift of the heart.”

His last two albums, ‘Serenity’ & ‘Serenity II,’ have received significant international airplay in over 25 countries around the world. His music has received numerous prestigious nominations and is playing on the Spa channels of seven international airlines. The music also plays in hundreds of hospitals across the U.S. on the CARE Channel. ‘Serenity II’ made the Billboard Top Ten New Age albums chart one week after its release in April 2018 and received Grammy nomination consideration.

‘Serenity III’ is Kollwitz's 23rd release and the last album in his popular Serenity trilogy. One of The Stick’s first professional players, Kollwitz has had a colorful career and has released albums in multiple genres including classic rock, jazz, flamenco, and even Hawaiian music.

Advance reviews of ‘Serenity III’ have been overwhelmingly positive and another appearance on the Billboard Top Ten New Age album chart would be no surprise.

Music critic Jonathan Widran of Los Angeles, CA had this to say about the album: “Entering into the mystically melodic, soul transporting musical world of Michael Kollwitz via his exquisite new collection ‘Serenity III’, the feeling is one of a cool and calm euphoria. While the rich and compelling compositions he plays on the unique stringed instrument are designed for gentle reflection and meditation, these chill vibes are balanced by the extreme joy of discovery of a wonderful artist whose music I wish I had been introduced to much sooner.”

You may feel the same way after hearing all three 'Serenity' albums by a rare talent who is known internationally for his compositions on “the best musical instrument you’ve never heard of”.



to write a review

Candice Michelle

An atmospheric instrumental delight!
Michael Kollwitz is a lifelong master of The Chapman Stick, a unique stringed instrument created by Emmet Chapman that resembles the head and neck of a guitar but is played more like a piano. The third installment in his soothing Serenity trilogy, Serenity III is comprised of sixteen balmy passages that are comfy, cozy and beautifully pristine.

Having formerly resided in Sacramento, CA before relocating to Hawaii in 2007 until eventually settling in Sedona, AZ, Kollwitz seemingly infuses a part of each of these beautiful locations into the essence of his work, with his pieces often evoking a vast range of scenic beauty stretching from the red rocks to the blue Pacific.

Warmly melodic and deeply tranquil, additional textural threads and tones all produced on The Chapman Stick are subtly woven into the compositions, effectively casting them with a dimly-lit ambience and creating additional depth to get lost in. Not surprisingly, the album’s song titles are mostly inspired by natural landscapes, reflective moods and positive states of mind, which is exemplified on beautiful pieces such as “Smooth Sailing”, “Winding Down”, “Crystal Caves” and “Forgive and Forget”.

Debuting in the top five of the Billboard New Age Chart, Serenity III just might be the best album yet in Kollwitz’ mesmerizing Serenity series. Like it’s two predecessors, this album will transport the listener to a leisurely paradise wherein all of one’s troubles are left far behind.

Although adept at creating peaceful musical environments that encourage feelings of wellbeing and personal contentment, Kollwitz clearly manages to avoid falling into predictably cliché “new age” traps, nor could his thoughtful compositions ever be relegated to mere background music. Rather, Kollwitz' style is expressively unselfconscious, yet down-to-earth and refreshingly humble in approach.

Certain to appeal to a wide-range of listeners in need of some relaxing sonic vibes, Serenity III is another a top-notch album of atmospheric instrumental delight!

BT Fasmer

A landmark release
It takes a lot these days to stand out and do something new. But some artists are creative and bold enough to do something different. One such artist is Michael Kollwitz. He plays the Chapman Stick, which gives his music a wonderful and unique sound. Kollwitz is now ready with the third installment in his highly successful Serenity series. It is the best in the series so far, and a landmark release in recent New Age music.

Michael Kollwitz has played The Chapman Stick for over forty years. He has recorded in such diverse genres as Jazz, Classic Rock, Latin, Hawaiian, Americana, and even Christmas music. Michael’s 21st album, “Serenity- Peaceful Music on The Chapman Stick” (2017) marked a change in course for his music. His goal was to create a sonically healing experience to evoke soothing simplicity and peaceful relaxation for his listeners. “Serenity II” (2018) made it to the Billboard Top Ten New Age chart, and “Serenity III” debuted this week as no. 3 on the same chart!

Cloud Number Eleven
First track is called “Cloud Number Eleven”. It takes Kollwitz less than 5 seconds to transport us way up into the clouds. The song has a carefree vibe and the sound of the Chapman Stick is rich and warm. Perfection is the word that comes to mind. You just have to close your eyes to drift off. It is amazing. On “Soft Forest” we are back on Earth again, but just barely. It is a slow and bright tune, custom-made for relaxation and thinking. “Tell Me Why” adds nice contrasts and colors. The song is like a short story; we don’t really get an answer to the “Tell Me Why”, but a feeling that the question had to be asked. Wonderful!

If you already own Serenity I and II, you’ll notice that Serenity III is a bit happier. An artist of Kollwitz’ format can do any style, obviously, but the happy atmosphere gives the album a nice easy listening quality. Check out “Wherever It Leads” and you’ll understand what I mean.

Gift Of Peace
Another thing I like about Kollwitz’ music is that it makes you think. “Gift Of Peace” is such a song. Peace is not something that can be taken for granted. Many have struggled and died for the peace you and I enjoy. They gave the biggest gift of all, and Kollwitz’ song communicates this emotion beautifully. With “Smooth Sailing”, “Contemplation” and “Winding Down” we really get to enjoy the gift of peace. A big dose of gratitude to those who sacrificed everything is in its place.

At this stage on the album, Kollwitz is inviting us into the “Crystal Caverns”. You can almost see, even touch, the glittering crystal and feel the enormity of the caverns. The song is beautiful beyond words. As I wrote above, “Serenity III” is a true feel-good album. The song “Playful Curiosity” brings a smile to my face. The same goes for the lovely “Have A Good One”.

Secret Cargo
There’s a gentle poetry here as well; “Forgive And Forget” has a nice touch of melancholy. I guess that is a part of the “forgive, forget and move on” process. My favorite song on the album is “On The Lake”. Kollwitz’ tableau of life on the lake is magnificent! It is pretty as a painting. It feels (or should I say sounds) like being on a picknick and lazily enjoying the scenery.

Near the end “Secret Cargo” has an exciting story to tell. It is not a scary story. This secret cargo is positive, warm and bright. It is like discovering that you are much stronger than you think and that this “secret cargo” was inside you the whole time. “Good Night Sleep Tight” is a worthy conclusion and a heartfelt good-bye. This is peaceful music, and falling asleep is just a statement of how beautiful the music is.

In conclusion: I’ll end where I started; the music of Michael Kollwitz is different and highly creative. It is not just about the Chapman Stick; It is about the material and artistic expression. “Serenity III” is a fantastic addition to the series. It is perfect both for active listening and relaxation, filled with happy feelings and love. If that is not serenity, I don’t know what is.

Michael Isam- WFCF 88.5 and iHeart Radio, St. Augustine, FL

Consistently fabulous!
Thank you for sharing your music with me and my audience! I am not sure if you realize just how damn good you are! You are consistently fabulous! I will be spinning Serenity III for January/February 2019.

Jonathan Widran- The JW Vibe, Los Angeles, CA

Mystically melodic, Soul transporting music
Entering into the mystically melodic, soul transporting musical world of Michael Kollwitz via his exquisite new collection Serenity III: More Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick, the feeling is one of a cool and calm euphoria. While the lush and compelling compositions he plays on the unique stringed instrument are designed for gentle reflection and meditation, these chill vibes are balanced by the extreme joy of discovery of a wonderful artist whose music I wish I had been introduced to much sooner.

My first instinct was to catch up on just how impactful Kollwitz has been since introducing the Stick into the new age world. His first Serenity project in 2017 reached #8 on the Zone Music Reporter and was nominated for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album of 2017 by One World Music Radio in the UK. It also gained placements on the spa channels of seven international airlines and received a Hollywood Music in Media Award nomination for “Mystic Vista.” Kollwitz’s follow up Serenity II reached #8 on the Billboard Top Ten New Age chart its second week and remained #10 on the ZMR charts for two months. Prior to that, Kollwitz – one of the first pioneers on the instrument created by guitarist and inventor Emmett Chapman – released 20 albums in a multitude of genres from jazz and rock to Americana and Hawaiian music.

As you open up to the gentle string graces of Serenity III, which begins with the hypnotic, meditative “Cloud Number Eleven” and promises a dreamy, atmospheric “Gift of Peace” and a soothing time of “Smooth Sailing” not long after, you might want to go down a few fascinating rabbit holes of knowledge before you let the full sweep of the 16 tracks wash over your weary mind, heart, and bones as Kollwitz designed it to do. If you’ve never heard of his instrument, you owe it to yourself to read up on Chapman and “The Stick,” which combines elements of guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion into a single instrument that is played more like a piano than guitar. Learning of Kollwitz’s relationship with the inventor is equally fascinating.

The second point of research is the spiritual foundation of Michael’s life and music – the practice of Steps to Knowledge, a unique philosophical path created by author and teacher Marshall Vian Summers, whose book Steps to Knowledge: The Book of Inner Knowing delineates his revolutionary concepts. Kollwitz says, “If they are so inclined, I hope listeners will take the time to investigate Steps to Knowledge to find out if it helps to unburden their own lives and bring out their inner creativity as it has for me.”

If Summers’ work can inspire the kind of beautiful, relaxing, transformational music that we hear throughout Serenity III, it may just be the key to changing the world. His titles are simply tools for us to bring our own experiences into the immersive experience. We should clear our mind for God’s presence on “Sunday Morning” (a thoughtful reminder to actually do this every day!), engage in some deeper “Contemplation,” focus ourselves on taking a deep breath and “Winding Down” (which this song will help us do!) and free ourselves from burden via “Forgive and Forget.”

There are some inner journeys involved as well, including one to “Crystal Caverns” and a moment of drifting “On the Lake.” Yet Kollwitz also uses his stick to remind us that in our day to day life, we should never lose our joyful sense of “Playful Curiosity.”

Serenity III is just the latest peaceful, relaxing work of an artist of spiritual and emotional depth who you will quickly find yourself embracing – and even allowing yourself a healthy addiction to!