Sylvie Courvoisier

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Sylvie Courvoisier
Courvoisier at the Moers Festival 2017
Courvoisier at the Moers Festival 2017
Background information
Birth name (1968-11-30) November 30, 1968 (age 53)
OriginLausanne, Switzerland
Occupation(s)Composer, musician
LabelsEnja, Intakt, Tzadik, ECM
Associated actsMark Feldman, Mephista, John Zorn

Sylvie Courvoisier (born 30 November 1968) is a composer, pianist and improviser.


Courvoisier, originally from Lausanne, Switzerland, has lived in Brooklyn, New York for 20 years. She has led several groups over the years, recorded 10 albums as a band leader, and appeared in about 50 albums (25 Cds co-leader and 25 cds as a side person) for different labels, notably ECM, Tzadik and Intakt Records.

Courvoisier has performed and recorded with John Zorn, Yusef Lateef, Mark Feldman, Erik Friedlander, Joey Baron, Ellery Eskelin, Susie Ibarra, Tim Berne, Wadada Leo Smith and the flamenco dancer Israel Galvan among others.

Currently, she is the leader of her own Trio with Kenny Wollesen and Drew Gress ; co-leads the Miller's Tale QUARTET with Evan Parker, Ikue Mori and Mark Feldman; the VWCR Quartet with Ken Vandermark, Nate Wooley and Tom Rainey and Lockdown Trio with Ned Rothenberg and Julian Sartorius. Since 1997, she performs regularly in Solo and in Duo with Mark Feldman. Since 2017, she plays in duo with Mary Halvorson. Since 2010, she has been a pianist and composer for Flamenco dancer Israel Galvan's project "La Curva". In 2018, Galvan and Courvoisier premiered "Cast-a- Net", a new project with Evan Parker, Mark Feldman, and Ikue Mori. In 2020, they premiered "La Consagracion de la primavera" with Cory Smythe, performing the Stravinky's Rite of Spring and Courvoisier's Spectro for two pianos and dance.

Courvoisier received numerous awards including the United States Artist Fellow (2020); a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artist award (2018).; a SwissMusic Prize (2018); Switzerland SUISA’s Jazz Prize (2017); and Switzerland's Grand Prix de la Fondation Vaudoise de la Culture (2010).

Selected discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1994 Sauvagerie Courtoise Unit Records Quintet, with Guglielmo Pagnozzi (sax), Lauro Rossi (trombone), Pascal Portner (drums), Banz Oester (bass)
1996 Ocre Enja Quintet, with Michel Godard (tuba), Pierre Charial (barrel organ), Mark Nauseef (drums), Tony Overwater (bass)
2000 Y2K Enja Trio, with Michel Godard (tuba), Pierre Charial (barrel organ)
2003 Abaton ECM -Double album - Trio, with Mark Feldman (violin), Erik Friedlander (cello)
2007 Signs and Epigrams Tzadik Solo piano
2008 Lonelyville Intakt Quintet, with Ikue Mori (electronics), Mark Feldman (violin), Vincent Courtois (cello), Gerald Cleaver (drums)
2014 Double Windsor Tzadik Trio, with Drew Gress (bass), Kenny Wollesen (drums)
2018 D'Agala Intakt Trio, with Drew Gress (bass), Kenny Wollesen (drums)
2020 Free Hoops Intakt Trio, with Drew Gress (bass), Kenny Wollesen (drums)

As co-leader[edit]

With Mark Feldman

With Mephista (Courvoisier, Ikue Mori and Susie Ibarra)

With others

As sidewoman[edit]

With John Zorn

With Erik Friedlander

With Herb Robertson

  • Real Aberration (Clean Feed, 2005)
  • Elaboration (Clean Feed, 2007)

With Nate Wooley

Nate Wooley ( trumpet), Ingrid Laubrock ( sax), Sylvie Courvoisier ( piano), Matt Moran ( vibraphone)

  • Nate Wooley Battle Piece II (Relative Pitch, 2017)

External links[edit]


  • Rosset, Dominique: Au carrefour des mondes. La compositrice et pianiste lausannoise Sylvie Courvoisier. Zurich 2005.