Sylvie Courvoisier


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(Bio by Rocco Stilo)

Switzerland composer and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier (1968), New-York based since 1998 and married with violinist Mark Feldman, started her career in early 1994, performing several live experiences. For her "Quintetto", along with Guglielmo Pagnozzi (saxes), Lauro Rossi (trombone), Baenz Oester (bass) and Pascal Portner (drums), she wrote eight pieces live recorded in march 1994 on Sauvagerie Courtoise; paired on piano and clavier with Swiss pianist Jacques Demierre and his project TST, she recorded Le Tout Sur Le Tout, her first studio album (april 1995); Una Mora (november 1995) is another studio album, recorded with the Michel Godard Quartet (the leader on tuba, and the rhythm section of Tony Overwater and Mark Nauseef). Birds Of A Feather (june 1996) was written and performed along with Mark Nauseef (she on piano and prepared piano and Nauseef on percussion and electronics), as a work of massive improvisations conceived as a suite. The same month she began the collaboration along with her husband: that session, and another in december 1998, were gathered on Music For Violin And Piano. The august 1996 Ocre is her first all-credited album, performed with Nauseef, Pierre Charial (barrel organ), Michel Godard (tuba, serpent) and Tony Overwater (bass). This album mixes jazz, classical and also a bit of rock. The same lineup returned in march 1999 with the nine pieces of Y2K. Deux Pianos (february 1999), documents, as title suggests, a work along pianist Jacques Demierre, twenty pieces almost brief and free improvised. Passaggio (april 2001) is a trio along with Joelle Leandre (bass) and Susie Ibarra (drums), who recorded twelve pieces quite totally improvised. Mephista is her project created along with Susie Ibarra and Ikue Mori (electronics). They recorded two albums: Black Narcissus (november 2001), nine pieces that combines abstract jazz with electronics, and Entomological Reflections (november 2003), other fifteen pieces that continue the same experimental approach. After having collaborated to John Zorn's Cobra Volume Two (january 2002), she recorded her first album for ECM, the 2CD set Abaton (september 2002), a trio along with her husband Mark Feldman on violin and Eric Friedlander on cello (notably the 20-minute Ianicum). Albert (august 2005) marked another experimental recording, along with Nauseef Mori. Lonelyville (april 2006) also mixed classical and avant-garde (particularly the 22-minute Texturologie) in a notable lineup: Feldman (violin), Mori (electronics), Gerald Cleaver (drums) and French celloist Vincent Courtois. Signs And Epigrams (Tzadik, 2007), recorded in december 2006, is her first piano solo, a very atypical work whose intent, as she describes, "is to make it sound as though the piano has become an orchestra unto itself". The ten pieces are a sort of "study" on the piano sound possibilities, switching from moments of avant-garde to atonal, from quite non-music to pizzicatos and glissandos. To the same month dates back Alien Huddle, a free experience along with Ikue Mori and Lotte Anker (various saxes). As Soon As Possible (september 2007) was a totally free experience along with Ellery Eskeline (sax) and again Courtois. Eskeline and Courvoisier came back with Every So Often (september 2008), nine pieces free improvised. Oblivia (september 2009) documents a duet piano-violin with Feldman, eleven pieces composed together, a mixing of classical and jazz. Previously, the two recorded in july 2009 the seven pieces of To Fly To Steal, along with Thomas Morgan (bass) and Gerry Hemingway (drums), more jazz-oriented. The same quartet came back with Hotel Du Nord (january 2011). On Birdies For Lulu (november 2013) the rhythm section was replaced by Scott Colley (bass) and Billy Mintz (drums). Credited as leader, Double Windsor (january 2014) was a trio along with Kenny Wollesen (drums) and Drew Gress (bass), nine tracks of avant-garde jazz. Miller's Tale (september 2015) was a notable quartet with Feldman, Ikue Mori (electronics) and Evan Parker (saxes), nine pieces mostly improvised. D'Agala (june 2017) is her latest album as leader, the same trio of Double Windsor in other nine pieces dedicated to recently disappeared famous musicians. Also numerous her collaborations, above all in several John Zorn's projects, but also Nate Wooley, Ikue Mori, etc.

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