winner and nominees 2016

Sophie Hunger

Winner 2016

Born in Bern in 1983, singer Sophie Hunger released her own independent album in 2006. News of the work spread and success soon followed. She appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2008 and the following year recorded “Monday’s Ghost”. The disc rapidly went platinum in Switzerland, and marked the start of her international career. Today, she has created a signature “Sophie Hunger” style: a seductive form of pop in Swiss German, French and English and a strong personality who is unafraid of commitment.

Sophie Hunger

Susanne Abbuehl

The singer and composer Susanne Abbuehl was born in Bern in 1970. She began studying the harpsichord at an early age, followed by jazz singing and composition at The Hague, before going off to study classical Indian singing in Mumbai. She was soon signed up by ECM and released “April” in 2001. It earned her international recognition, including the EDISON Music Award and selection in the Downbeat Critics Poll. As well as touring 23 countries, Susanne Abbuehl also composes works for radio, and was nominated for the Prix Marulić in 2013. With her unique approach to chamber music and deep interest in instrumentation and performance, she is increasingly becoming one of the great voices of world jazz.

Susanne Abbuehl

Laurent Aubert

Born in Geneva in 1949, Laurent Aubert is a pioneer of world music. An anthropologist and musician, as well as curator of the ethnomusicology department at MEG* for 28 years, he is director of the cultural association Ateliers d’ethnomusicologie, which he founded in 1983 and which has organised numerous festivals, concerts, conferences and workshops. Laurent Aubert has studied and played many musical genres, in particular the music of India and Afghanistan. He is the author of major publications including “La musique de l’autre” (2001), “Les feux de la déesse” (2004) and “La saveur des arts” (2011), and also established the international journal Cahiers d’ethnomusicologie. *Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève

Laurent Aubert

Philippe Jordan

Philippe Jordan is musical director of the Opéra national de Paris and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Wiener Symphoniker). The son of Amin Jordan, he was born in Zurich in 1974 and studied the piano, violin and singing from a young age. Having qualified as a piano teacher with distinction from the Conservatory in Zurich, he studied under Daniel Barenboim at the Berlin State Opera in the late 1990s and early 2000s. A passionate Wagnerian, he is today a prominent figure on the leading international stages.

Philippe Jordan

Tobias Jundt

Aged 38, the Bernese musician Tobias Jundt is known for his eccentricity and volatility. He traces his musical origins back to his home town of Bern, where he became involved in jazz and composition. In Berlin in 2006 he created Bonaparte, a group of varying size of which he is the only permanent member. Staged around the world, his off-the-wall performances contain elements of circus, cabaret and punk music. Tobias Jundt has been a guest lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts and the Mozarteum in Salzburg since 2007. He has composed more than a hundred works.

Tobias Jundt

Peter Kernel

Peter Kernel is a duo consisting of the Canadian singer Barbara Lehnhoff and the guitarist Aris Bassetti from Ticino. Their backgrounds are in musical experimentation, both sound and visual. They are punk artists who revert to a kind of minimal, primal music. To publicise their musical vision, they set up the On the Camper Records label, which has released their three albums as well as those of Camilla Sparksss (Barbara Lehnhoff’s solo project) and other artists from Ticino. Peter Kernel is today a widely recognised group on the European indie rock scene.

Peter Kernel

Matthieu Michel

Born in Fribourg in 1963, Matthieu Michel is acknowledged as one of the great trumpeters and flugelhorn players of European jazz. He was a member of the Vienna Art Orchestra from 1992 and has worked with Susanne Abbuehl, Malcolm Braff, Richard Galliano and Daniel Humair. He has released seven albums in various line-ups with Swiss and international musicians on jazz labels ranging from the prestigious to the less known. He owes his seductive power to his unique timbre and flair for improvisation, as well as his qualities of introspection and lyricism.

Matthieu Michel

Fabian Müller

The works of composer and cellist Fabian Müller, who was born in Zurich in 1964, have received their first performances from great musicians of our time, including David Zinman, Andris Nelsons and Steven Isserlis, and have resonated through some of the world’s leading venues, from Carnegie Hall to the Teatro Colón and the Tonhalle in Zurich. Fabian Müller is also an expert on and champion of Swiss folk music. He spent a decade preparing a ten-volume edition of the Hanny Christen folk music collection, an anthology of more than 10,000 melodies from the 19th century which ushered in a new era for Swiss folk music.

Fabian Müller

Nadja Räss

Nadja Räss was born in the canton of Schwyz in 1979. She trained as a classical singer, but soon immersed herself in the art of yodelling. A tireless performer, in addition to appearing as soloist she has been invited to sing with the ensembles of accordionists Willi Valotti and Markus Flückiger as well as the Camerata Schweiz orchestra. She is also interested in other traditional forms of singing, is an active member of the KlangWelt Toggenburg foundation, and set up the Jodel Academy. Nadja Räss is a passionate exponent of the genre of Neue Volksmusik.

Nadja Räss

Mathias Rüegg

The pianist, composer and orchestra conductor Mathias Rüegg was born in Zurich in 1952. At the age of 25 he set up the Vienna Art Orchestra, an ensemble that quickly gained fame throughout Europe. Exploring the repertoires of both the jazz greats and classical music, the orchestra was anything from big band to small ensemble, depending on the project. In 1992, Mathias Rüegg founded the jazz club Porgy & Bess. Since the breakup of the Vienna Art Orchestra, he has continued his exploration of genres including classical music and jazz with the Austrian singer Lia Piale.

Mathias Rüegg

Hansheinz Schneeberger

Known for his radical interpretations and charismatic stage presence, the violinist Hansheinz Schneeberger was born in Bern in 1926. In 1958, aged just 32, he was chosen to perform the world première of Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in Basel. He was subsequently principal concertmaster with the prestigious NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg before playing under the conductor Ernest Ansermet. A central figure in post-war classical music, he has since played at the leading festivals in Asia and Europe.

Hansheinz Schneeberger

Colin Vallon

A leading figure in the Swiss jazz scene, the pianist Colin Vallon from Vaud is a virtuoso gifted with an extraordinary sensitivity and artistic maturity. From his very earliest days, he began to develop his own prepared piano techniques. Today Colin Vallon is 35 years old and has four albums to his credit, two of which were released on ECM. He has played alongside the greats (including Tom Harrell and Kenny Wheeler) and regularly appears with the quartets of Swiss-Albanian singer Elina Duni and the saxophonist Nicolas Masson (Parallels) from Geneva.

Colin Vallon

Hans Wüthrich

With his blend of language and music, Hans Wüthrich from Bern, who celebrates his 80th birthday next year, has become a key figure in contemporary European cultural creativity. A doctor of philosophy and linguist, professor of music theory but, first and foremost, a thinker of unlimited imagination, Hans Wüthrich creates works that are a unique mixture of theatre and music. Honoured by the worlds of both composition and theatre, he is also a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin.

Hans Wüthrich

Lingling Yu

A prodigal child of Chinese music, Lingling Yu studied the erhu (Chinese violin) and the pipa from the age of eight. At the age of 25 she won the Chinese national traditional music competition. She settled in Switzerland in 1998 and began investigating the links between Eastern and Western music, initially under Professor Jean Balissat and then with other masters. In the years since, Lingling Yu has given countless traditional, classical and modern music recitals both in Switzerland and on the world’s leading stages.

Lingling Yu

Alfred Zimmerlin

A forerunner of the contemporary improvised music scene, the composer and cellist Alfred Zimmerlin was born in Zurich in 1955. He first came to public attention in the 1980s with the trio KARL ein KARL, in which he explored new playing and recording techniques, collective composition and prepared instruments. A multifaceted artist, Alfred Zimmerlin has also composed works for the theatre, film and radio as well as chamber and orchestra music.

Alfred Zimmerlin