Erika Stucky – Blues yodeler with unlimited possibilities
Winner Schweizer Grand Prix Musik 2020
As singer, multi-instrumentalist and performance artist, Erika Stucky (born in 1962) possesses a multitude of artistic identities. Accompanied by the hippie music of her native San Francisco, she crossed the Atlantic at the age of nine to the mountain village in Upper Valais where she would grow up. After an early immersion in Swiss folk music traditions, she studied pantomime at the Teatro Dimitri, and drama and jazz singing in Paris. The Swiss-American blends her transatlantic influences into vocal action art, bridging yodel and blues, surprising us time and again as she has done for over 35 years: with her bands The Sophisticrats or Bubbles & Bones, performing Jimi Hendrix with Christy Doran, or paying homage to Woodstock with The Young Gods. But also as Mrs God in Sybille Berg's play "Helges Leben", in duet with counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, and as the witches’ voice in Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas". Always serious avant-garde, always serious fun.
Martina Berther – Bass guitarist with international resonance
Martina Berther was born in 1984 and grew up in Chur. One of the most versatile electric bassists on the Swiss music scene, her musical spectrum ranges from pop, jazz, punk and noise to experimental music and free improvisation. She tours internationally with her duo Ester Poly (with Béatrice Graf), the band AUL, solo as Frida Stroom, or with singer Sophie Hunger. Martina Berther composes music for films, is interested in interdisciplinary collaborations, works as multi-instrumentalist and session musician, and has published more than 23 albums. In 2018, she was awarded the Werkjahr grant by the City of Zurich. In 2012, she graduated from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) with a master’s degree in Music Pedagogy and Performance Jazz.
Big Zis – Trailblazing rapper
Her stage name illustrates her position in the family tree of Swiss rap - and more: Big Zis - big sister. Born Franziska Schläpfer in Winterthur in 1976, she started her career in Zurich in the ‘90s. As an MC, she brought American rap to the local dialect, like on the "Zürislang" sampler. She caricatures the clichés of the male-dominated scene, countering with lyrics that are all the more caustic and biting. After all: "Big Zis dörf alles” – she can do whatever she wants. This applies literally to her taste for punky, rocky and electronic elements. In 2002, she was awarded the Werkjahr grant by the City of Zurich. Big Zis takes the stage with the most diverse musicians, including Greis, Sophie Hunger or DJ Madam. In 2019, she released her latest EP, "Béyond", with a new live band comprising drummer Julian Sartorius and multi-instrumentalist Beni06.
Aïsha Devi – Musician of the spheres
Aïsha Devi is a hypnotic spherical musician, well-known on the Swiss club scene. Born in Geneva, with Himalayan roots, Aïsha Devi received the Swiss Design Award for her diploma thesis and embarked on a musical career under the pseudonym Kate Wax. In 2013, the versatile electronica producer and vocalist co-founded the experimental club label Danse Noire, developing a spiritual understanding of music which opened up new worlds of experience: she expanded her vocal spectrum by adding a throaty overtone to her singing and experimenting with mystical lyrics, semitone harmonies or binaural frequencies. Aïsha Devi has performed at international festivals for electronic music (including the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, the Dekmantel Festival in Amsterdam and the Moogfest in the USA), participated in the opening piece of the 2017 Vienna Festival and was invited, among others, by the Irish-British electronica artist Aphex Twin to open his performance in New York City in 2019. After the albums "Of Matter and Spirit" (2015) and "DNA Feelings" (2018), she released her EP "S.L.F." in July 2019.
Christy Doran – Electrifying jazz rocker
Christy Doran, born in Dublin in 1949 and residing in Lucerne, has widened the spectrum of the jazz guitar. In the ‘70s, fascinated by the experimental playing of Jimi Hendrix and inspired by the free jazz movement, he started blending stylistic elements of rock and free improvisation: his electric jazz group OM or the trio Red Twist and Tuned Arrow are among the spearheading formations of Swiss jazz. Christy Doran is also in great demand as a soloist and ensemble musician: In 2015, he collaborated with vocalist Erika Stucky on the project "Doran-Stucky-Studer-Tacuma play the music of Jimi Hendrix" and followed unconventional paths with the trio Christy Doran's Sound Fountain or with "144 Strings for a broken chord", an orchestral project comprising 20 electric guitars, four electric basses and the drums. He co-founded the Lucerne School of Music, where he taught for 45 years alongside other teaching assignments. Christy Doran also composes for theatre, film and ballet.
Antoine Chessex – Progressive sound-explorer
Antoine Chessex, born 1980 in Vevey, is a multifaceted composer, sound artist and saxophonist, whose work assumes a wide diversity of forms blurring the boundaries between Noise, audio deconstruction and artistic research while transversally exploring sonic imaginations. As a performer and member of the band Monno, he radically deterritorialized the tenor saxophone by playing his horn through distorting stacks of guitar amplifiers and PA systems. As a researcher, he addresses issues around Noise, marginal artistic practices, politics of sound and critical listening. His works have been presented at numerous festivals around the globe such as the trasmediale festival Berlin or the Audio Art Festival in Krakow. He curates platforms and festivals of experimental sonics and is also the editor of the publication Multiple.
André Ducret – Choral music eclectic
Born in Fribourg in 1945, André Ducret is an eclectic contributor to the Swiss choral music landscape. A key experience was his encounter with composer Abbé Pierre Kaelin, who introduced him to polyphonic vocal literature and set him on his way to becoming an important choral conductor, music teacher and composer. With the Chœur des XVI, founded in 1970, the Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera and various youth choirs, notably the Chœur St. Michel, he has been intermediating a broad stylistic spectrum in Switzerland and abroad for decades. That spectrum ranges from early music, contemporary works and his own compositions. As a sign of recognition, more than 500 original scores of his works are preserved in the Fribourg Cantonal and University Library.
Hans Koch –Experimenting improvisor
Born in Biel in 1948, composer and musician Hans Koch is one of the most innovative woodwind players in Europe in the improvisation and free jazz field. Instead of following the path of a classical orchestral musician, Hans Koch used live electronics, sampling and computers to explore a new acoustic universe for his instruments. The high-contrast "hardcore chamber music" played by the Swiss trio Koch-Schütz-Studer from 1990 to 2017 bore his unmistakable signature. In addition to collaborations with long-time companion Martin Schütz and other representatives of experimental Swiss music (e.g. INSUB Meta Orchestra, Jacques Demierre), Hans Koch has performed with international improvisation and free jazz musicians (e.g. Fred Frith / Cecil Taylor) and participated in international projects such as the Globe Unity Orchestra or the Ensemble d'Improvisateurs Européens. Hans Koch also writes music for radio plays and films.
Dani Häusler – Passionate folk musician
Clarinetist, lecturer and radio presenter Dani Häusler, who was born in Zug in 1974, is a reputed mediator and innovator of Swiss folk music. He first presented his own small compositions with the "Gupfbuebä" at the age of eleven and went on to study classical clarinet at the Lucerne Conservatory when he was fifteen. The Ländler folk music of Central Switzerland is his preferred musical landscape. Through his teaching at the university of Lucerne, and his collaboration with experimentor Hujässler accompanied by virtuoso yodeler Nadja Räss, he is a vital part of the Swiss folk scene. After the Dani Häusler Komplott, founded by him in 2008, was hired as a folk music rock band for the live programme "SRF bi de lüt", radio opened its doors to him. Since then, as a presenter on SRF Musikwelle, he has been transmitting his background knowledge of Fritz Dür's extensive folk music collection of works from the ‘50s and ‘60s. In 2017, Dani Häusler was awarded the Goldenen Violinschlüssel, one of the highest folk music awards.
Rudolf Kelterborn – Musicus universalis
Born in Basel in 1931, Rudolf Kelterborn remains one of the most influential composers, conductors, teachers and music journalists of the present day. After completing his studies in Basel and Salzburg, he participated in the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music from 1955 to 1960. In association with Heinz Holliger and Jürg Wyttenbach, he launched the Basel Music Forum in 1987. He has taught music theory, analysis and composition at music academies in Switzerland and abroad, mentoring Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini among others, and published many theoretical and analytical writings. In the ‘70s, he was the head of the music magazine and music department of Radio DRS (now SRF). Rudolf Kelterborn's compositions span all musical genres and he has been awarded numerous prizes. He continued making regular appearances as guest conductor, performing mainly his own works, until 1996.
Francesco Piemontesi – Magical pianist
Francesco Piemontesi is a pianist of exceptional expression, technical brilliance and musical refinement. Born in 1983 in Locarno, where he grew up, he made his concert debut in 1994. He studied the piano at music schools in Lugano and Hannover, and was taught by the likes of Alfred Brendel, Murray Perahia and Alexis Weissenberg. He has been invited to perform at the best concert halls and festivals, such as the Lucerne Festival, or the BBC proms; he plays with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra or Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, and has performed with conductors like Vladimir Ashkenazy and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. Apart from his work as a soloist and his numerous prize-winning recordings (e.g. Best Newcomer Award – BBC Music Magazine 2012), Francesco Piemontesi also performs chamber music with various ensembles and partners – such as Gautier Capuçon and Tabea Zimmerman, to name but two. He has been art director of the Settimane Musicali di Ascona since 2013.
Swiss Chamber Concerts – National forum for New Music
The Swiss Chamber Concerts were established in 1999 as the first nationwide chamber music concert series, with performance cycles in Basel, Geneva, Lugano and Zurich, at the initiative of musicians Jürg Dähler (Zurich), Daniel Haefliger (Geneva) and Felix Renggli (Basel). Thanks to innovative programming and performances at the highest level, the Swiss Chamber Concerts soon made a name for themselves on the Swiss music scene. Contemporary music is particularly close to their heart, and the three art directors have made a significant contribution to the expansion of its repertoire through numerous commissions, mainly to Swiss composers such as Heinz Holliger, Xavier Dayer, Rudolf Kelterborn and Hans Zimmerlin. The Swiss Chamber Soloists are a flexible ensemble of first-rate musicians like Patricia Kopatchinskaja or Julian Prégardien; moreover, together with the string quartet Swiss Chamber Academy and the Swiss Chamber Camerata, the Swiss Chamber Concerts are committed to promoting young musical talent.
Cyrill Schläpfer – Cartographer of the sounds of Switzerland
Through his label CSR Records, music producer, composer and percussionist Cyrill Schläpfer maps Switzerland’s acoustic landscapes. Born in Lucerne in 1959, he studied music at the Berklee College of Music, majoring in recording technology, music production and drums, and then joining the folk music department of the label EMI. He discovered the recordings of Schwyzer accordionist Rees Gwerder, whose teaching awakened his interest in the traditional music of the Swiss alpine regions. Cyrill Schläpfer’s documentary "UR-Musig", premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in 1993, and made a significant contribution to the rediscovery of the traditional Swiss musical heritage, which was largely ignored at the time. Cyrill Schläpfer also uses his recordings in his compositions: the electro-acoustic steamship symphony "Die Waldstätte" (2007), in the tradition of Musique Concrète, is based on his recordings of the sounds of Lake Lucerne. His label CSR Records, founded in 1989, also showcases representatives of Swiss folk music, pop and rock.
Emilie Zoé – Powerful voice of rock
Emilie Zoé has always done things herself: the Lausanne-born singer and guitarist writes, records, and manages her work according to her own sense of what works and what does not. Her Lo-Fi rock she has established her as a strong musical voice in Switzerland and beyond. In 2016, she published her debut album “Dead-End Tape”. Projects have blossomed since then in many directions: she is now adapting her songs for the theater, TV shows, live movie soundtracks, and lectures. As part of the trio project Autisti, she recorded an album with the guitarist and vocalist Louis Jucker and Steven Doutaz on the drums. Her second album “The Very Start” (2018, Hummus Records) is a touching brew of intimate melodies and narrative lyrics infused in a moving sonic space. Emilie Zoé received the 2019 Swiss Music Award for “Best Act Romandie” and has been invited to play at major festivals such as The Great Escape Brighton (UK), Fusion Festival (DE), Bad Bonn Kilbi, Paléo Festival Nyon, and the Winterthurer Musikfestwochen. In 2020, Emilie Zoé played at the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival (NL).