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Alfred Zimmerlin (CH), composer, improvisor, editor
Friday 14 October 2011 Goethe Institute, Amsterdam

ECM – artist Alfred Zimmerlin (CH) – componist, improvisator, columnist


Dante Boon – solo piano, werk van A. Zimmerlin

5 Préludes (Klavierstück Nr.1)
Clavierstück Nr.4
Abendland (Klavierstück Nr.6)
Klavierstück 9




Radek Stawarz – (5-string) violin
Alfred Zimmerlin – cello
Stevko Busch – piano

Henning Bolte (muziekjournalist) – presentatie/interview


De Zwitser Alfred Zimmerlin (*1955) is een componist met een oeuvre van meer dan 70 werken, die wereldwijd tot uitvoering worden gebracht en die op verschillende CD’s zijn gepubliceerd. Als improvisator (cello) werkte hij sinds 1980 met internationaal erkende musici, zoals o.a. Tony Oxley en KARL ein KARL.
Daarnaast schrijft hij regelmatig in de Neue Zürcher Zeitung over hedendaagse muziek.

In 2008 publiceerde het Duitse platenlabel ECM de CD “Euridice” met kamermuziek van zijn hand.
Een deel van zijn werk is uitgegeven bij Edition Wandelweiser , de componistengroep en uitgeverij waaraan o.a. ook de pianist Dante Boon verbonden is.

Dit concert presenteert Alfred Zimmerlin met zijn verschillende aktiviteiten als componist – hier met oog op de piano in zijn werk – als improviserend cellist, en als columnist en observator van het actuele muziekleven in Europa.


Alfred Zimmerlin – EURIDICE (citaat van ecmrecords.de)

The ECM debut album introduces him with three attractive works for small forces, all of them in performances both energetic and sensitive. “Euridice singt”, a 35-minute “Szene” for soprano, oboe, cello, piano and tape is based on a libretto by Swiss poet, rapper and free improviser Raphael Urweider. Not Orpheus himself is the central character in this intelligent rendering of the much-used operatic subject matter from Greek mythology but Euridice, whose death is disclosed here as the very catalyst for Orpheus’ artistic awakening. A most diverse array of musical elements makes for an unsettling listening.


The interest in a formally elastic integration of heterogenous materials lies at the heart of Zimmerlin’s esthetic in which the concept of the “column of time” plays a central role – the awareness that many layers of the historical past are communicating with each other while providing the fundamentals for a genuinely “contemporary” music. In Zimmerlin’s strangely sensuous compositions there is space for expressive cantabile, the sound of prepared instruments, noises of musique concrète and even rap.


Alfred Zimmerlin was born in Zurich, on April 12th, 1955, and grew up in Schönenwerd (canton Solothurn). He studied musicology and ethnomusicology at Zurich University under the tutelage of Kurt von Fischer und Wolfgang Laade, music theory under the tutelage of Peter Benary, and composition under the tutelage of Hans Wüthrich and Hans Ulrich Lehmann. He attended the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt. He has taken an active part in the “Werkstatt für improvisierte Musik” (WIM, Workshop for Improvised Music) Zurich since 1980.


In 1982 and 1984, Alfred Zimmerlin was awarded grants by the canton of Aargau, including a residency in Paris, in 1986 he received the music prize of the C. F. Meyer foundation, and in 1988 he was awarded a grant for composition by the city of Zurich. In 1999 he was again awarded a grant by the canton of Aargau and in 2001 he was invited by Pro Helvetia (Swiss Culture Foundation) on the Cairo Residency Programme. In 2005, he received the prize of the UBS Culture Foundation.


Alfred Zimmerlin’s ample oeuvre comprises pieces for piano, chamber music (with and without live-electronics), vocal music, orchestral music, music for theatre, and works for radio and film. The most important are: “Gezeiten der Zeit” (for string orchestra), “Cueillis par la mémoire des voûtes” (saxophone quartet and string orchestra), “Euridice singt“ ( a chamber opera), three string quartets, “Neidhardlieder” (for soprano and four Renaissance recorders), the “Cembalo-Buch”, “In Bewegung (Nature Morte au Rideau)” (for piano, string orchestra and soundtrack), “Weisse Bewegung“ (for violoncello , piano, and percussion), Quintet for clarinet and string quartet, or “Zerstreut in Arbeit mit Wörtern“ (for soprano, piano, and soundtrack).


As an improvising musician and cellist, Alfred Zimmerlin has taken part in various formations in Europe and the US. Since 1983 he has been active member of KARL ein KARL, improvising and composing in cooperation with Peter K Frey and Michel Seigner, the distinctive feature of this trio being the fact that all compositional decisions are being made and accounted for collectively. Alfred Zimmerlin’s work as improvising musician as well as the works of KARL ein KARL are available on numerous recordings.