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. Courvoisier has led several groups over the years and has recorded over 40 records for different labels, notably ECM, Tzadik and Intakt records.
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 theatre. Her works include: “Concerto for electric guitar and chamber orchestra"; Balbutiements" for vocal quartet and soprano. Commissions include the Vidy Theater of Lausanne, Pro Helvetia and Germany's Donaueschingen Musiktage Festival.
Mark Feldman, Jazz/Classical/Improvisational Violinist and Composer, began challenging norms and expectations at the ripe age of nine. The Brooklyn-based musician made a name for himself by using the traditionally classical, high-brow violin to reject musical convention in favor of a style that melds several genres: jazz, classical, and improvisation.
“I’m trying to continue the tradition of the violin as it is historically known, to continue the tradition of composer/ performer/ improviser that’s been somewhat lost,” said Feldman. This unconventional approach has caught the attention of others; Feldman has recorded with the likes of Willie Nelson, John Zorn, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Billy Hart, Chris Potter, Sylvie Courvoisier, Lee Konitz, Dave Douglas, Tim Berne and Johnny Cash. One of his string quartets was also commissioned and performed by the prestigious Kronos Quartet.
Feldman most often can be found performing with John Zorn’s Masada String Trio, or Zorn’s Bar Kokhba Septet or in the John Abercrombie Quartet or in Duo with pianist-composer Sylvie Courvoisier or Leading his own Quartet performing music from his ECM Release What Exit.
Striving to push his music to new heights, Feldman recognizes that the impact of art and music on society can be great, “if for a moment or two people can entertain ideas that they might never have considered.” Through his music, he seeks to change the perception of a “truly serious violinist” from someone whose focus is strictly the music of Mozart and Beethoven to a person who composes his or her own music or incorporates improvisation and multiple genres.
Since their move to Brooklyn, New York, in 1998, Sylvie Courvoisier has been at home in both worlds, Europe and America. In both her playing and her composition she shows neoclassical influences mixed with European improvised music and the experimental non-conformism of the New York downtown scene. Mark Feldman is an equally versatile musician, a composer and improviser with multiple perspectives on the world. The duo remains the nucleus of their many diverse activities, the condensed form and also the greatest test of courage.
“They are both fine-tuned virtuosi whose projects sound like edgy classical chamber-music as much as improv or jazz, and that impression is all the stronger here... But even at their most heated, Courvoisier and Feldman always sound as if they're weighing proportions, massaging nuances, and drawing listeners in.” John Fordham, The Guardian
Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman play The Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall, Dublin, Thursday 29th May . Doors at 8.30pm