Šalter Ensemble in Biel and Ljubljana

Šalter Ensemble is international ensemble with members from Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. They come from the fields of contemporary classical music, jazz, free jazz, free improvised music, traditional and popular music but their common thing is imrpovising in various musical contexts and searching for and developing their own sound. Members of Šalter Ensemble are: Jonas Kocher (accordeon), Bertrand Denzler (saxophone), Julien Mégroz (percussion), Marina Džukljev (piano), Robert Roža (electronics), Srđan Muc (prepared guitar, effects), Nenad Kovačić (percussion), Tena Novak Vincek (violin), Roko Crnić (electric bass), Tomaž Grom (double bass), Irena Tomažin (voice) and Samo Kutin (hurdy gurdy). Ensemble plays four compositions for improvisers by Denzler, Crnić, Grom and Roža. In them they utilised different approaches, from long tones and durations, drones and harmonic intervals, spatial dissemination of sound and pre-recorded sounds, concept of graphic notation and rhythmic vocalisations.

The project is part of international initiatives and cooperations by organizations and festivals that are for years now involved into developing and organizing such collaborations in the area of Balkans, Eastern and Central Europe: organization BRUIT Asso from Switzerland, Zavod Sploh and Jazz Cerkno Festival from Slovenia, Ring Ring Festival from Belgrade and festival Izlog suvremenog zvuka from Zagreb.  So far ensembel has performed on aforementioned festivals and two concerts in Ljubljana and in Italy. 

On 11th and 12th of January ensemble will perform in Switzerland in a place Usine Sonore in Biel. On the first night members of ensemble will play in different groupings with local musicians: reedist Hans Koch, electronic and electroacoustic improviser Gaudenz Badrutt, bassist Sebastian Rotzler and percussionist Lionel Friedli. On the second night they will play their own repertoire. After that they will move to Ljubljana where on 17th of January they will perform in Španski borci as part of concert series Zvokotok, which will be also a recording session for upcoming release.

Jonas Kocher, renowed accordeon player and improviser and one of the main initiators of Šalter Esnemble has said: ”The choice of the crew of Šalter Ensemble has been decided – after long reflection and exchanges – by Davorka Begović, Tomaz Grom, Bojan Djordjević and myself. In our choices we tried to balance instrumentation, experienced and less experienced players, leaders and followers, musicians coming from different musical practices, etc. in order to get a very colourful ensemble with the best potential to develop. This way of working together and sharing ideas and thoughts we did at the very beginning to define the ensemble members has been decisive and has definitely influenced all the work to come after. The work with the musicians has been then also based on exchanges, listening and open-mindedness, the group and the music has been growing on a very democratic way. At the beginning I never thought it would work so well, a very interesting and valuable human, artistic and social process indeed.”