Sylvie Courvoisier

(Copyright © 2006-2023 Rocco Stilo & Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
Sauvagerie Courtoise (1994), 6.5/10
Le Tout Sur Le Tout (1995), 5.5/10
Una Mora (1995), 5.5/10
Music for Violin and Piano (1996), 5.5/10
Ocre (1996), 7/10
Y2K (1999), 7/10
Deux Pianos (1999), 5/10
Passaggio (2001), 5.5/10
Black Narcissus (2001), 6.5/10
Abaton (2002), 6.5/10
Entomological Reflections (2003), 5/10
Albert (2005), 6/10
Lonelyville (2006), 6/10
Signs and Epigrams (2006), 6/10
Alien Huddle (2006), 5/10
As Soon As Possible (2007), 6/10
Every So Often (2008), 5/10
Oblivia (2009), 5/10
To Fly to Steal (2009), 6/10
Hotel Du Nord (2011), 5/10
Double Winsor (2014), 7/10
Miller's Tale (2015), 6.5/10
D'Agala (2017), 6.5/10
TISM (2017), 6/10
Time Gone Out (2018), 6/10 Chimaera (2022), 7/10

(From a stub originally created by Rocco Stilo)

Swiss composer and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier (1968)

Her "Quintetto", featuring Guglielmo Pagnozzi (saxes), Lauro Rossi (trombone), Baenz Oester (bass) and Pascal Portner (drums), is documented on the live album Sauvagerie Courtoise (march 1994), which contains eight of her early compositions, notably the 12-minute Cherchez L'Intrus (with a frenzied solo of cascading piano notes), the three-movement La Petite Fille Au Ballon Rouge (a clownish prog-rock suite) and the more chaotic 12-minute Choral Embryonnaire. Le Tout Sur Le Tout (april 1995) was a collaboration with Swiss pianist Jacques Demierre and his project TST. Una Mora (november 1995) featured the Michel Godard Quartet (Godard on tuba, flanked by the rhythm section of Tony Overwater and Mark Nauseef).

Birds Of A Feather (june 1996) was composed and performed with Mark Nauseef (she played piano and prepared piano and Nauseef on percussion and electronics).

Ocre (august 1996), the first album entirely credited to her, featured Nauseef, Pierre Charial (barrel organ), Michel Godard (tuba) and Tony Overwater (bass). They concoct cryptic and abstract vignettes like Gugging and Paradiso Perduto (some as short as 35 seconds), the mournful and almost funereal La Goualante De L'Idiot and the clownish rhythmic experiment Curio In Trivia, while Charial architects the cacophonous Machines A Sons and Tabular. Three years later the same lineup recorded Y2K (march 1999), with the compositions again split between Courvoisier (the nine-minute Too Suite, that sounds like a parody of the romantic sonatas of classical music, the eight-minute Mutant, that begins like a street fanfare and ends like a manic Beethoven sonata, the dadaistic ten-minute Fluxus, presumably a tribute to the avantgarde movement of that name, and a few comic vignettes) and Charial (mainly the futuristic Machine-Ŕ-Sons).

She moved to New York in 1998 and married violinist Mark Feldman. Their first recording together was Music For Violin And Piano (december 1998), which also includes her old composition Terre D'Agala.

During a trip back in Switzerland she recorded the 20 brief duets with pianist Jacques Demierre of Deux Pianos (february 1999).

Back in New York, she started playing with Zorn's Masada in 2000 and contributed to John Zorn's Cobra Volume Two (january 2002).

Passaggio (april 2001) documents an all-female trio along with French bassist Joelle Leandre and Filipino-American drummer Susie Ibarra, recorded both in studio and during a live performance.

Mephista, a project with Ibarra and Ikue Mori (on electronics), recorded two albums: Black Narcissus (november 2001), that contains the 15-minute Black Widow, and the more fragmented Entomological Reflections (november 2003).

A trio with Feldman on violin and Eric Friedlander on cello recorded the double-disc Abaton (september 2002). The first disc contains four Courvoisier compositions: Ianicum (9:55), Orodruin (12:33), Poco a Poco (9:24) and Abaton (11:29). The second disc contains much less interesting improvisations.

Albert (august 2005), a collaboration with Nauseef, Mori and German violinist Walter Quintus, was a tribute to the inventor of LSD, Albert Hofmann, with titles such as Psychedelic Induced Revelations and LSD Came To Me.

Lonelyville (april 2006) documents lengthy live improvisations, such as Texturologie (22:24), Cosmorama (18:05) and Contraste 2005 (16:53), with Feldman (violin), Mori (electronics), Gerald Cleaver (drums) and French celloist Vincent Courtois.

Signs And Epigrams (december 2006) was her first piano solo, with experimental compositions like Meccania and Soliloquy that aim at emulating the entire orchestra.

At the same time she recorded Alien Huddle (december 2006) with Ikue Mori and Lotte Anker (on saxes).

As Soon As Possible (september 2007) documents brilliant improvisations with Ellery Eskeline (sax) and Vincent Courtois (cello) such as Sotto Voce, Obvious Obtuse, Nocturne and Mesure d'Ailleurs. Eskeline and Courvoisier also recorded Every So Often (september 2008).

Oblivia (september 2009) documents a piano-violin duet with Feldman.

She and Felman tried to form their own quartet. To Fly To Steal (july 2009) and Hotel Du Nord (january 2011) star Feldman, Thomas Morgan (bass) and Gerry Hemingway (drums), while on Birdies For Lulu (november 2013) the rhythm section was replaced by Scott Colley (bass) and Billy Mintz (drums).

In Cahoots (june 2014) documents the trio of Ned Rothenberg (sax, clarinet, shakuhachi), Mark Feldman (violin) and Sylvie Courvoisier (piano).

Double Windsor (january 2014) was performed by a trio with Kenny Wollesen (drums) and Drew Gress (bass), her first recording for piano trio, notably the ten-minute Double Windsor.

Miller's Tale (september 2015) documents a new quartet with Feldman, Ikue Mori (electronics) and Evan Parker (saxes), with the eight-minute Death Of A Salesman and the 13-minute The American Dream.

D'Agala (june 2017) was recorded by the same trio of Double Windsor and contains nine pieces dedicated to recently disappeared musicians, like the title-track in memory of Geri Allen and South Side Rules for John Abercrombie.

She also collaborated with John Zorn on several of his projects, as well as with Nate Wooley, Ikue Mori, etc.

Time Gone Out (september 2018) documents another collaboration with Feldman, notably the 20-minute Time Gone Out.

Tom Rainey (drums), Ingrid Laubrock (tenor and soprano saxes), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano) and Mark Feldman (violin) recorded TISM (october 2017), notably the 15-minute Tooth And Nail.

The Sylvie Courvoisier Trio returned with their third album, Free Hoops (december 2019), containing Requiem D'un Songe and Highway 1.

Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Ned Rothenberg (on alto sax, clarinets and shakuhachi) and Swiss drummer Julian Sartorius recorded Lockdown (october 2020).

Crop Circles (august 2016) and Searching For The Disappeared Hour (june 2021) are duets with guitarist Mary Halvorson.

The Rite of Spring - Spectre d’un Songe (december 2021) collects Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring performed by her and fellow pianist Cory Smythe, and the original piece Spectre d’un songe.

She led Wadada Leo Smith and Nate Wooley (both on trumpet), Christian Fennesz (guitar and electronics), Drew Gress (bass) and Kenny Wollesen (drums and vibraphone) on Chimaera (november 2022), notably the 21-minute Le Pavot Rouge.

Crossings Four (august 2022) documenting a collaboration between Ned Rothenberg (clarinets and alto sax), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Mary Halvorson (guitar and effects) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums).

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
What is unique about this music database