Winners 2017

Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Winner Swiss Grand Award for music 2017

Patricia Kopatchinskaja was born in Moldova in 1977 and has made her home in Bern. With her radical interpretations of works of all eras and styles, this exceptional violinist has shaken up the classical scene. At once global star and unconventional thinker, she crosses frontiers in her quest for artistic veracity, performs music both recent and brand new, challenges concert rituals (“Bye Bye Beethoven”), and is happy to work with polarising figures such as conductor Teodor Currentzis. She is an innovative, profound artist with important things to say about much more than just music.

Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Endo Anaconda

Born in 1955 in Burgdorf, Endo Anaconda alias Andreas Flückiger is a cult figure. As “Stiller Has” he has lent his powerful blues voice to songs with a deeper meaning since 1989, initially with Balts Nill and, since 2005, in various line-ups; his latest album “Endosaurus Rex” was released in 2017. His full-on performing style is a phenomenon of nature, his repertoire of characters from Moudi (tomcat) to Hündeler (dog owner) Hunkeler part of Swiss cultural heritage. With “Stiller Has”, the poet Endo Anaconda has created a unique world of acerbic vocals and melancholy sounds.

Endo Anaconda

Pascal Auberson

Born in Lausanne 1953, Pascal Auberson has explored multiple artistic forms in a career spanning more than 40 years. He started out in 1972 as a drummer in the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and from there progressed to jazz – for example as a pianist with Piano Seven – as well as chanson, theatre, dance, painting and film. Today, this stylistically accomplished multi-instrumentalist, composer and chansonnier moves easily through an artistic universe shaped by constant change and an eagerness for new encounters. His is a strong and unmistakeable voice that resonates far beyond French-speaking Switzerland.

Pascal Auberson

Andres Bosshard

Sound artist Andres Bosshard was born in Zurich in 1955 and is an internationally recognised expert in his field. He playfully designs towers, islands, gardens and skies of sound in the public space; examples include the Expo.02 sound tower at the Arteplage in Biel, and currently “sonicArK”, a rainbow of sound for Aarhus, European Capital of Culture 2017. He works with architects and landscape designers, advises noise protection experts, publishes on sound art, and lectures at the Zurich University of the Arts. He is a visionary who makes art in the everyday an experience for all.

Andres Bosshard

Albin Brun

Multi-instrumentalist Albin Brun was born in Lucerne in 1959 and is a key figure in a scene that spans jazz and new folk music. After his early days in folk, he turned to instruments such as the saxophone and schwyzerörgeli (Swiss accordion) to develop an atmospherically dense yet permeable musical language that testifies to an enduring engagement with his own traditions and other cultures. Albin Brun is active in many ways: as a member of bands such as the Albin Brun Alpin Ensemble and duos with artists such as Patricia Draeger; a composer of film and theatre scores for Tim Krohn & Co.; and a guest lecturer at Lucerne University.

Albin Brun

Christophe Calpini

Born in Rolle in 1969, drummer, composer and improviser Christophe Calpini navigates his way expertly through the waters of electro, jazz and ambient. He has worked with musicians such as Erik Truffaz and Marc Ribot and today, surrounded by machines of all kinds, creates pared-down sound landscapes that are as beautiful as they are unsettling, for example in the duos Stade with Pierre Audétat and Bad Resolution with Ganesh Geymeier. A unique free spirit, Christophe Calpini is both inspiration and role model for a new generation of keenly experimental Swiss musicians.

Christophe Calpini

Elina Duni

Born in Tirana in 1981, singer and composer Elina Duni creates music that is a plea for an open Europe. With her exceptional voice and stage presence, she builds bridges between Balkan traditions and contemporary Swiss jazz, for example on the successful albums of her quartet with Colin Vallon, Patrice Moret and Norbert Pfammatter (two of them on the ECM label). “Muza e Zezë” (2015) reveals her for the first time as a singer-songwriter, while 2016’s solo “Partir” tells in nine languages of migration and loss, and how the tension between homeland and foreignness constantly reinvigorates her art.

Elina Duni

Vera Kappeler

Pianist and harmonium player Vera Kappeler, who was born in Basel in 1974, is impossible to pigeonhole. Her music ranges from quirky sound experiments to chansons by Paul Burkhard, from old folk songs to music for the theatre or visual artists. In all her productions, such as the solo programme “Grossmutters Flügel”, her duo with the drummer Conradin Zumthor (“Babylon-Suite”, released by ECM) and collaborations with artists such as Marianne Racine (“Tulaisia”), Vera Kappeler’s irrepressible creativity invariably shines through.

Vera Kappeler

Jürg Kienberger

Jürg Kienberger was born in 1958 in Sils-Maria. He is a renowned theatre musician, cabaret artist, actor and singer. The self-proclaimed “music player” enraptures audiences with his inimitable tenor and virtuoso playing of just about anything with keys. He has provided music for more than 125 productions, mostly live as one of the players; his recitativist in Mozart’s “Figaro” and his work with Christoph Marthaler (“Murx den Europäer!”) are the stuff of legend. As a soloist- always in cooperation with his wife Claudia Carigiet- too (“Ich bin ja so allein”), the self-taught Kienberger shows himself to be an artist of exquisite irony and infinitely delicate musical touch.

Jürg Kienberger

Grégoire Maret

Born in Geneva in 1975, Grégoire Maret is a member of that rare species, the jazz harmonica player. He is one of Swiss jazz’s most successful exports. Following the death of Toots Thieleman, some are calling him the world no. 1; in any event, the list of his musical collaborators reads like a who’s who of the jazz scene, with names as illustrious as Herbie Hancock, Cassandra Wilson and Stevie Wonder. Grégoire Maret tours throughout Europe and the US, released his second album as a band leader, entitled “Wanted”, in 2016, and delights audiences with his energetic, lyrical and virtuoso playing.

Grégoire Maret

Jojo Mayer

Jojo Mayer was born in Zurich in 1963. He is one of the world’s most celebrated drummers and, through his stylistic innovations, has breathed new life into the art of drumming. He was a sideman for Monty Alexander early in his career and since 1998 has been bringing jazz into the digital age. Together with his trio Nerve he blends live improvisation with programmed music, melding human creativity with digital technology. The hallmark of his high-precision tempo playing is “reverse engineering”: the transposition of computer-generated drum ’n’ bass rhythms into complex, constantly recombined playing techniques.

Jojo Mayer

Peter Scherer

Peter Scherer, who was born in Zurich in 1953, is a leading light of Swiss film music. From 1980 onwards he worked in New York as a keyboard player, arranger and producer for musicians such as David Byrne, John Zorn and Laurie Anderson (“Strange Angels”) and in the duo Ambitious Lovers with Arto Lindsay. Since returning to Switzerland in 2010 he has composed subtle, economical scores of great urgency and beauty for films such as “More Than Honey” (2013, Swiss Film Award), “Dark Star – HR Gigers Welt” (2014) and “Cahier africain” (2016). Peter Scherer lectures at universities in Bern and Zurich.

Peter Scherer

Töbi Tobler

Born in 1953, dulcimer player Töbi Tobler is one of the pioneers of new Swiss folk music. He set up the visionary bands “Toblermit”, “Appenzeller Space Schöttl” and “Das Neue Original Appenzeller Streichmusik Projekt”, and has worked with musicians such as Max Lässer and Noldi Alder as well as devising an attractive musical language for his instrument that veers between free improvisation and Appenzell tradition. Theatre productions such as the legendary Tellspiele in Altdorf 2008 in cooperation with the director Volker Hesse give testimony to his open mind. Töbi Tobler also performs Swiss dulcimer concerts by Paul Huber and Fabian Müller.

Töbi Tobler

Helena Winkelman

Composer and violinist Helena Winkelman, who was born in 1974 in Schaffhausen, possesses a remarkably personal signature. Her kaleidoscopic music is performed around the world and is a fascinatingly clever, open fusion of contemporary sounds with rock, folk music and Asian traditions. A charismatic violinist, Helena Winkelman establishes an extraordinarily direct connection to her audience. Since 2011 she and her Camerata Variabile have created their own concert series that often addresses socio-political themes (“Contrat Social” 2017).

Helena Winkelman

Jürg Wyttenbach

Born in Bern in 1935, Jürg Wyttenbach is one of Switzerland’s leading composers. A multidisciplinary artist whose work spans theatre, literature, clowning and performance, he has developed an intensely personal art form replete with ambiguous humour and delight in the scurrilous (“Flûte alors!”, “Gargantua chez les Helvètes”, “Der Unfall”, after Mani Matter). An active proponent of new forms of mediation, Jürg Wyttenbach is a powerful motivator for young musicians; he is also an outstanding pianist and conductor, co-founder of IGNM Basel and a long-standing lecturer at the Basel Music Academy.

Jürg Wyttenbach