Sylvie Courvoisier is a pianist, composer and improviser.
Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, Courvoisier moved to New York in 1998 and has lived in Brooklyn since that time.
Courvoisier has led several groups over the years and has recorded over 25 records as a leader or co-leader for different labels, notably ECM ,
Tzadik and Intakt Records and 30 cds as a sideperson.
She has performed and recorded with John Zorn, Mark Feldman, Yusef Lateef, Ikue Mori, Tony Oxley, Tim Berne, Joey Baron,
Joëlle Léandre, Herb Robertson, Butch Morris, Evan Parker, Mark Dresser, Ellery Eskelin, Lotte Anker, Fred Frith, Michel Godard,
Tomazs Stanko among others.
She has been commissioned to write music for concerts, radio, dance and theater.
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Since 1996, she has been touring widely with her own groups and as a side person in USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe.
Currently, Courvoisier is the leader of her TRIO with Kenny Wollesen and Drew Gress.
She performs regularly Solo and since 1997, in Duo with violinist Mark Feldman.
She co-leads the Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman Quartet with Scott Colley and Billy Mintz.
Since 2000, she has been a member of Mephista, an improvising collective trio with Ikue Mori and Susie Ibarra.
She is currently playing and touring in different projects of John Zorn including Cobra and Masada Marathon.
She is also playing in Erik Friedlander's Trio, Herb Robertson's Quintet and Nate Wooley's Quartet.
Since 2010, she has been working as a pianist and composer for flamenco dancer Israel Galvan's project "la Curva" with more than 150 performances around the world.
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
(NewYork Foundation For the Art) Music/Sound Fellowship.
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 ANDSylvie Courvoisier-Evan Parker Duo (Relative Pitch 2014)
LIVE AT THEATRE VIDY-LAUSANNE-
Sylvie Courvoisier - Mark Feldman Duo (Intakt 2013)
CLAWS & WINGS Erik Friedlander - Ikue Mori - Sylvie Courvoisier (2013)
HOTEL DU NORD Sylvie Courvoisier Mark Feldman Quartet (Intakt 2011)
TO FLY TO STEAL Sylvie Courvoisier Mark Feldman Quartet (Intakt 2010)
OBLIVIA Mark Feldman & Sylvie Courvoisier- (Tzadik 2010)
DICTEE/LIBER NOVUS John Zorn(Tzadik 2010)
FEMINA John Zorn (Tzadik 2009)
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE Courtois, Courvoisier & Eskelin ( Cam Jazz 2008)
EVERY SO OFTEN Ellery Eskelin & Sylvie Courvoisier ( Prime Source 2008)
SIGNS AND EPIGRAMS Sylvie Courvoisier solo (Tzadik2007)
LONELYVILLE Sylvie Courvoisier Quintet with Mori, Feldman, Courtois, Cleaver (Intakt 2008)
REAL ABERATION Herb Robertson -NY Downtown Allstars-(clean Feed 2007)
MALPHAS Mark Feldman & Sylvie Courvoisier, music of John Zorn-Book of Angels- (Tzadik 2006)
ABATON –Sylvie Courvoisier Trio feat. Feldman, Friedlander (ECM Records, 2cd 2004
MASADA RECITAL Sylvie Courvoisier &
Mark Feldman , music of John Zorn (Tzadik 2004)
- Mephista (Courvoisier, Mori, Ibarra) (Tzadik 2004)
DEUX PIANOS- Sylvie Courvoisier , Jacques Demierre (Intakt, 2000)
MUSIC FOR BARREL ORGAN, PIANO, TUBA, BASS AND PERCUSSION Sylvie Courvoisier Ocre (Enja, 1997)
| Awards include « ...That her music is as aesthetically beautiful as it is strange and mysterious is only further testament to her prowess as a composer. That this trio plays her music as if it has been creating it from the air is nothing short of remarkable. Abaton is Courvoisier's crowning achievement thus far, and this group points her firmly forward in a direction where everything is still possible, demonstrating that there is something new under the sun in classical music and improvisation. Perhaps Abaton is the great moment of 2003 for new classical music
Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
Ms. Courvoisier's pieces measured out their points and counterpoint...Brief, judicious bits of melody and texture -- a high sustained violin note, some plinks inside the piano, a throbbing cello melody -- were passed around, compared, shared in a tumultuous crescendo and then retired to quiet solitude.
Ms. Courvoisier's compositions, from her new album ''Abaton'' (ECM), were more austere but full of pensive drama... let each instrument have its say, from brief question-answer phrases to arching, angst-filled melodies. Often Ms. Courvoisier's piano was a calm referee between high-tension outbursts from the strings. The music was suffused with a restless anxiety that kept every moment suspenseful.
By JON PARELES, New York Times
« ... For this opening event, which lasted less than an hour, the brilliant jazz and contemporary music violinist Mark Feldman joined the adventurous Swiss-born pianist Sylvie Courvoisier for their versions, most lasting roughly five minutes.
This duo did seem to adhere, generally, to the jazz model, in that the pieces began with a written-out Zorn bagatelle, then shifted to extended developments of the musical materials and concluded with, more or less, a repetition of the initial bagatelle. The first one started with sputtered, curt piano chords to which the violin replied with toccatalike bursts of spiraling notes.
The music unfolded in staggered phrases.
Soon the performers took off in what seemed intense, improvisatory episodes, including eerie piano sounds when Ms. Courvoisier scraped and slapped the strings with her hands....
In every piece, these dynamic, fearless performers eventually broke into frenzied episodes that sounded anything but trifling. Yet the cheers from the audience were just as enthusiastic after the most mellow bagatelle, music run through with an almost obsessively repetitive lapping bass riff in the piano and jazzy ruminations on the violin.
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI JULY 6, 2015 New York Times
« Courvoisier's playing is jaw-dropping at times, and there's an extended passage that features her working both inside and on the keyboard of the piano interacting with Rainey and the others in subtle combinations, and working up to a terrifying free jazz piano freakout that could make a person faint!
Michael Anton Parker, 2005
"Galvan n'est pas seul sur le plateau, même si sa folle solitude y explose. Il est encadré par une table et un piano. D'un côté, une famille recomposée prend place avec la chanteuse flamenca Inès Bacan et son "écuyer du rythme", Bobote, auxquels vient se joindre Galvan en fils spirituel attentif. De l'autre, une femme jeune et aventureuse, la pianiste Sylvie Courvoisier, s'arrime à son instrument pour en faire crépiter les touches, claquer les cordes dans une partition sauvage et sophistiquée. .."
Le Monde, 17.01.2012
« This highly original and new music has it all: razor-sharp edges, sounds of a thousand dancing needles, thundering power arising from deeply yawning chasms, mystic fluorescence throughout, calmness combined with a mysterious kind of moving»
Henning Bolte, 5/2007
« …Dans un autre pays que la Suisse, elle serait adulée comme une des plus importantes plumes musicales de son temps. Elle recevrait tous les prix envisageables, n'aurait plus à se faire du souci pour les trente années à venir. Mais elle a décidé de vivre outre-Atlantique. Elle est notre ambassade, mieux que quiconque.... »
Arnaud Robert, Le Temps, 2005