4 October 1953 |
|Genres||World, Classical, Jazz fusion, Indian, New-age|
Sony Classical/SME Records
|modified electroacoustic pedal harp|
Andreas Vollenweider (born October 4, 1953) is a Swiss musician. His music has been categorized as World Music, Jazz fusion, New Age, and even Classical; two of his albums were No.1 on the Billboard charts simultaneously in the categories Classical, Jazz, Pop, and Crossover for more than 11 weeks. His primary instrument is an modified, electroacoustic harp of his own design, but he also plays a wide variety of instruments from around the world, including the Chinese guzheng and the African harp the kora. His albums feature many musicians performing his compositions with him, ranging from solos to suites for orchestra and soloists. His music is mostly instrumental but he has occasionally forayed into vocal music as well.
Politically, Andreas Vollenweider is an outspoken pacifist and follower of the principles of non-violent conflict management of Mahatma Gandhi. On his website he features quotes from Gandhi (among others), and in an effort to spread awareness of the American war in Iraq, he has also posted a ticker reflecting the current number of casualties in the conflict, both American and Iraqi.
In 1975, he discovered the harp and developed his own style - tailoring the instrument according to his needs. Thus, he created a new instrument for himself: the electro-acoustic harp. Vollenweider composed for film, theater and TV productions.
1979 marked his Swiss debut album "Eine Art Suite in XIII Teilen", which is considered as the cradle of the Vollenweider sound.
Two years later, in 1981, Andreas Vollenweider & Friends performed their first show, at the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival. The following autumn saw the release of the album "Behind The Gardens, Behind The Wall, Under The Tree...". This proved to be a success with both critics and the audience, putting Vollenweider's distinct sound on the map.
In 1983, he emphasised his commitment to the environmental and peace movements with the single "Pace Verde" and its much-talked about video. In the same year, he received an Edison Award in Amsterdam for his innovative sound.
A year later, his 1983 album "White Winds" broke through in no less than three US-charts in the pop, classical and jazz categories. His first US tour was hugely successful.
He played for sold-out venues on his 1985 US-tour: conquering New York's Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.
In 1987, Vollenweider's 1984 album "Down To The Moon" received a Grammy Award - followed by tours in Canada, the US, thirteen European countries, Japan and Australia.
The dynamic album "Dancing With The Lion" was created in 1988 and 1989. For the first time, Vollenweider opened his project to numerous guests from a wide range of musical genres. He directed and produced two award-winning videos, for which he also contributed to the storyline, the choreography, and the set and costume designs.
The double album "Trilogy" was released in 1990 - a selection of the first three albums "Behind The Gardens", "Caverna Magica", "White Winds" and previously unreleased material.
1991 followed with the album "Book of Roses", on which Vollenweider included symphonic orchestral elements for the first time.
In 1992, he participates in a benefit show for Chernobyl's children on Moscow's Red Square. He receives the World Music Award in Monaco.
For the first time, Vollenweider produces an album with vocals: 1993 -1994 "Eolian Minstrels" with contributions from US singers Carly Simon and Eliza Gilkyson. The release is followed by worldwide tours.
In 1994, he performs at the Pavarotti and Friends event in Modena (Italy), where he plays duets with Luciano Pavarotti and rock balladeer Bryan Adams.
After doing tours and open air shows in Europe and the US, he plays for the first time in Latin America in 1995.
Until 1997, he plays a series of shows in remarkable locations: a tour of Polish castles, a show with Italian singer/songwriter Zucchero at the 2500 m high location (at -8 Celsius) of Brunico in the Southern Alps and in a giant volcanic cave at Lanzarote's Festival Musica Visual.
In 1998, he starts to record "Kryptos", a work for symphonic orchestras and guest virtuosos from all over the world. Parts of "Kryptos" are performed with the RAI orchestra at Italy's San Remo Festival. Vollenweider initiates a symphonic live project called "Wolkenstein".
In 1999, Vollenweider returns to free improvisation and intimate musical dialogues with his album COSMOPOLY. He invites friends from all over the globe to create world music in the true sense of the word: the American vocal acrobat Bobby McFerrin, the Brazilian cult poet and singer Milton Nascimento, the South-African ethno-jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, the 74-year old Armenian duduk legend Djivan Gasparyan and the Galician bag-pipe and whistle virtuoso Carlos Nuñez, the American songwriter-legend Carly Simon, the American blues-trombone-master Ray Anderson...
2000, travelling with the COSMOPOLY project through Europe. With the almost daily changing configuration of musicians, Vollenweider is following the open concept of the album. In New York they play two concerts for the release of COSMOPOLY in the US. This time, Andreas' friend Carly Simon joins the group, as well as Mind Jostyn, Carlos Nuñez, Djivan Gasparian, XiaoJing Wang and Walter Keiser. Concerts in Brazil with Milton Nascimento and composer/pianist Wagner Tiso.
2001, Andreas performs in Bali (Indonesia) at the international conference "song of convergence" with Balinese musicians. He starts writing the symphonic novel "Tales of Kira Kutan", which premiered at the Warsaw Film Music Festival 2001, with the orchestra Sinfonia Varsowia (Yehudi Menuhin), conducted by co-orchestrator André Bellmont. September, Athens (Greece), at the old Olympic stadium; theaterpiece "SOCRATES - dawn of civilization", with the American actor Rod Steiger as Socrates. Vollenweider's large scale soundtrack, a dramatic blend of sound design, choirs and percussion. "Carte blanche" at the AVO Festival in Basel, Switzerland, his guests (besides mini orchestra): Abdullah Ibrahim and David Lindley.
2002, performs at the Budapest Spring Festival, Hungary. Performance of the symphonies "Tales of Kira Kutan" and "Wolkenstein" at the Festival "Live at Sunset" in Zurich with Sinfonia Varsovia European summer tour with newly formed AVAF-mini orchestra, includes performance at the "Big Chill Festival" in England, tour continues in the fall. Collaboration with German filmcomposer Hans Zimmer in Los Angeles for the movie "Tears of the Sun", starring Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci.
2003, continues work with Hans Zimmer. Performing with mini orchestra in South Africa's Johannesburg and at the "North Sea Festival" in Kapetown, guest performer Pops Mohamed.
2004-2005 - AVAF continued to increase touring activities in Europe. Entire catalogue was re-mastered and re-released on new record labels worldwide (USA/Canada: www.kinkoumusic.com; international: www.edel.com). Compilation, "The Best of "Magic Harp" was released in the US and Canada and "The Storyteller" in Europe. A four-hour DVD is produced, release USA March 2006, International October 2006. Vollenweider played for HH, the Dalai Lama at his visit in Zurich.
Fall 2005; the album "VOX" is released, featuring his own voice.
2006 first quarter, touring in Europe, re-activating of the touring activities in the US since more than ten years, tour from coast to coast. Release of first DVD "The Magical Journeys", with almost four hours of live concerts, documentaries, interviews. During the summer; recording of the new album "Midnight Clear", collaborating with American singer-songwriter legend Carly Simon, fourth quarter; touring in Europe, release of Midnight Clear worldwide, as well as the DVD "Magical Journey" in the rest of the world.
2007, 3rd Nomination for a Grammy for the soundtrack album of the current DVD release "The Magical Journeys of Andreas Vollenweider". Concerts in Europe and the US. September: release of the double-CD "Andreas Vollenweider & Friends - 25 years live" (1982-2007).
2008, writing and recording of the album "AIR", guest-performance at the celebration concert for the 80th birthday of Armenian duduk legend Jivan Gasparyan. Other contributors and guests were Peter Gabriel, Alan Parsons Project, Zucchero.
2009 Release of the album Air followed by concerts with the Frischluft Orchester ("Fresh Air Orchestra") all around Europe. Performances in August at the Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa.
2010 Concerts in Eastern and Western Europe. In June special concert project entitled The Watercourse Way at the Shanghai Centre in Shanghai, China, as part of EXPO 2010. "Dream Concert" of the extended AVAF in August, the "Dancing with the Lion-Orchestra" in a huge tent on the shore of the Lake of Zurich; an impressive "family gathering" of friends of Andreas’ music from all corners of the world. In October AVAF travels to South Africa again to perform at the MACUFE Festival in Bloemfontein as well as at the Carnival City arena in Johannesburg, followed by a remarkable concert for the inmates of Pollsmore Prison in Cape Town, one of the world’s largest high security penitentiaries.
2011 Three decades after AVAF’s very first concert in the same place, Andreas Vollenweider gladly accepts the invitation of festival founder Claude Nobs to perform an exclusive jubilee concert on 7 July at the 45th Montreux Jazz Festival: "30 Years Andreas Vollenweider & Friends". Special guests were bassist/vocalist Richard Bona and guitarist/vocalist Raul Midon.
2012 AVAF plays at the farewell concert for Claude Nobs, who died in January 2012.
2012/13/14 Vollenweider is working on a new album as well as exploring new creative territory...
- Eine Art Suite in XIII Teilen (1979)
- Behind the Gardens - Behind the Wall - Under the Tree (1981)
- Caverna Magica (1983)
- Pace Verde (single for Greenpeace, 1983)
- White Winds (Seeker's Journey) (1984)
- Down to the Moon (1986)
- Dancing with the Lion (1989)
- Traumgarten (collaboration with his father, organist Hans Vollenweider, 1990)
- The Trilogy (compilation of Behind the Gardens, Caverna Magica, White Winds and Pace Verde, with selections from Eine Art Suite, 1990)
- Book of Roses (1991)
- Eolian Minstrel (1993)
- Andreas Vollenweider & Friends - Live 1982-1994 (1994)
- Kryptos (1997)
- NANS N 50 - 50 (1998)
- Cosmopoly (1999)
- Vox (CD + DVD, 2004)
- The Essential Andreas Vollenweider (compilation, 2005)
- The Storyteller (compilation, 2005)
- Magic Harp (compilation, CD + DVD, 2005)
- The Magical Journeys of Andreas Vollenweider (soundtrack for the DVD The Magical Journeys of Andreas Vollenweider, 2006)
- Midnight Clear (2006, featuring Carly Simon)
- A I R (2009, featuring Xavier Naidoo)
References and footnotes
-  Andreas Vollenweider website