Sylvie Courvoisier Large Ensemble

Sylvie Courvoisier (cond/comp), Simon Heggendorn (vl), Sara Käser (vcl), Carlo Niederhauser (vcl), Raphael Heggendorn (vcl), Lukas Frei (tp), Niklaus Hürny (tp), Andreas Tschopp (tb), Marc Unternährer (tuba), Urs Vögeli (g), Luzius Schuler (p), Claude Meier (b), Flo Reichle (dr)

Sylvie Courvoisier’s music is fierce and loud, fulminating and imminent – and suddenly quiet, dazzling and mysterious. The swiss pianist and composer living in New York is one of the most important voices of our time. She utilizes the full sound spectrum of her instrument and unites the worlds of classical, contemporary, jazz and folk music in her work.

«Sylvie Courvoisier ist keine Künstlerin der langsamen und behutsamen Schritte. Ihre Musik ist stets auf dem Sprung, immer bereit, gerade dort einzugreifen, wo sich Grenzen verschieben lassen und Unerwartetes entstehen kann.»
— Chris Wiesendanger, Jazz’n’More

«That Sylvie Courvoisier’s music is as aesthetically beautiful as it is strange and mysterious is only further testament to her prowess as a composer.»
— All Music Guide

Personal Remarks by Sylvie Courvoisier

“I was commissioned by the Bern Jazzwerkstatt 2015 to create a composition for twelve musicians who were selected by Marc Stucki for their unique qualities. My first thought was to reuse various ideas that existed in my earlier compositions. After hearing the diversity of the twelve musicians work through their websites, I became inspired to write a new piece and conduct a new composition, «Engrenages», with the twelve musicians specifically in mind.

«Engrenage» is a French word which has two meanings: a gear (a wheel with grooves) and an inescapable sequence of events.

I scored the piece for twelve musicians organized into six duos: two trumpets, two cellos, a trombone and a tuba, a violin and a baritone violin, a piano and a guitar, and a bass and drums.

Each pair operates as a gear in a bigger mechanism.

  1. Each gear (or event) is conducted, and can be shaped according the conductor.
  2. The conductor can also improvise the sequences of the events.
  3. Each musician can be independent and be free of the form.

I was so thrilled with the March 1, 2015 performance at the Turnhalle in Bern. It is an honor to work with so many talented and serious musicians. I was also moved by the energy and support within the whole community at Jazzwerkstatt. I’m looking forward to more adventures in the future!”


Sylvie Courvoisier is a pianist, composer, sideman and band leader. Born In Lausanne, Switzerland, Courvoisier moved to New York in 1998 and has lived in Brooklyn since that time. She has led several groups over the years and has recorded over 60 records for different labels, notably ECM, Tzadik and Intakt Records.

Courvoisier has performed and recorded with John Zorn, Mark Feldman, Yusef Lateef, Ikue Mori, Erik Friedlander, Herb Robertson, Tim Berne, Susie Ibarra, Joelle Leandre among others.

Since 1997, she performs regularly in solo and in Duo with Mark Feldman. She is a member of Mephista; co-leads the Courvoisier/Feldman Quartet and is the leader her own Trio with Kenny Wollesen and Drew Gress and her quintet “Lonelyville”. Since 2010, she has been working as a pianist and composer with the new project of the flamenco dancer Israel Galvan “la Curva”.

Awards include Switzerland’s 1996 Prix des jeunes créateurs, Zonta Club’s 2000 Prix de la Création, Switzerland’s 2010 Grand Prix de la Fondation Vaudoise de la Culture and 2013 New York Fondation for the Art.


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Selected Discography

  • «Double Windsor» Sylvie Courvoisier TRIO with Kenny Wollesen and Drew Gress – Tzadik 2014
  • «Birdies For Lulu» Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Quartet – Intakt 2014
  • «Either Or And» Sylvie Courvoisier-Evan Parker Duo – Relative Pitch 2014
  • «Live At Theatre Vidy-Lausanne» Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Duo – Intakt 2013
  • «Hôtel du Nord» Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Quartet – Intakt 2011
  • «To Fly to Steal» Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Quartet – Intakt 2010
  • «Every so often» Ellery Eskelin & Sylvie Courvoisier – Prime Source 2010
  • «Oblivia» Mark Feldman & Sylvie Courvoisier – Tzadik 2010
  • «Femina John Zorn» – Tzadik 2009
  • «As soon as possible» Courtois, Courvoisier & Eskelin – Cam Jazz 2008
  • «Signs and epigrams» Sylvie Courvoisier solo – Tzadik 2007
  • «Real Aberation» Herb Robertson, NY Downtown Allstars – Clean Feed 2007
  • «Lonelyville» Sylvie Courvoisier quintet avec Mori, Feldman, Courtois, Cleaver – Intakt 2007
  • «Malphas» Mark Feldman & Sylvie Courvoisier, musique de John Zorn «Book of Angels» – Tzadik 2006
  • «ABATON» Sylvie Courvoisier Trio feat. Feldman, Friedlander – ECM Records 2004
  • «Masada Recital» Sylvie Courvoisier & Mark Feldman, musique de John Zorn – Tzadik 2004