Silvan Schmid – Expand the Perception

(Taken from texts by Pirmin Bossart & image from Jazz&More magazine)

Silvan Schmid is a trumpeter whose understanding of music makes him one of the most exciting representatives of the young Swiss scene. The co-founder of the Zurich Gamut Collective maintains a lively exchange with national and international musicians. He is versatile, curious, open and enormously talented.

Translated from German  Von Pirmin Bossart – Jazz’N’More

—-During practice he sometimes tries to blow high and low tones at the same time, says Silvan Schmid. “So I come to new ways of playing and at the same time to new music. Schmid wants to get ahead technically and acoustically, to develop his own sound. “Definitely,” he smiles. “I’m interested in finding my own approach to music as far as possible and not playing it. What’s already prefabricated.” Even if it wasn’t possible in the end to actually create something new: “It’s about the attitude of openness. The way you live and imagine life. The way music organizes itself.”


—-We meet Silvan Schmid at the Neubad in Lucerne, where he plays a short Monk program with Chris Wiesendanger and Elio Amberg. The man from Zurich is intensively occupied with music and his role in it. He looks for what he can contribute towards broadening his musical horizon and discovering new forms of expression. “I realize more and more how closely hearing and playing are connected. If I want to change and expand music, I have to expand perception and hearing.

—-To help him with exercises like playing high and low tones at the same time. Or specific imaginations. How do you imagine music, certain sounds? What forms does it have? Can this be controlled perceptually? “When I try to work according to spatial ideas, I often come across other sounds and in the best case a new music emerges.

—-This can be broken down into concrete examples. Schmid, for example, imagines lines or dots. Large spaces. Small spaces. Or: What is a narrow sound? An open noise? And what does sound feel like when he imagines not letting the sound of the trumpet appear like a beam, but distributing it throughout the room? He has been interested in dance for a long time. That, too, is movement, rhythm. Bodies in space are like sounds in space. “The simultaneity of different tempos: this is also an interesting idea.”

—-Music listening is an important part of his everyday life, says Schmid. “Hearing is just as creative a process as playing.” To simply allow music run in the background is not his thing. “I prefer to sit down or lie down and listen.” Mostly they are current albums with improvised music. “I find it exciting when I discover things and I have to ask myself why a musician does it. It’s like coming across a band that you don’t understand at first, but that you find interesting over time”.


—-Already at the age of 13 he became aware of Miles Davis or modern musicians like Heiner Goebbels thanks to his first trumpet teacher André Meier. “Some things might have been a little exhausting to hear, but I was gripped by them from the beginning. In 2008 he began his jazz training at the Zurich University of the Arts (Daniel Schenker, Matthieu Michel). Further studies followed in Dresden and Berlin with the “Trumpet Buddha” Malte Burba and with Till Bronner.

—-Despite Brönner’s bop school, his interest in free improvisation shifted steadily. Schmid became co-founder of the Zurich Gamut Collective, organized concert series, released a highly acclaimed album with his quintet (“At Gamut”, HatHut), made recordings with his trio and with his transcontinental quartet HUM, whose album will be released in January 2019.

—-In the surroundings of Café Oto in London, he met the cellist Ute Kannegiesser, the AMM percussionist Eddie Prévost and the saxophonist Seymour Wright during his six-month studio stay in 2017. He is inspired by the French saxophonists Michel Doneda and Jean-luc Guionnet or the youngsters from the “collective 2035” in Paris. He has respect for Hans Kennel, in whose formation “Wood & Brass” he plays. “It impresses me how he pursued his stuff. He has strengthened my self-confidence. my way to go”


—-Schmid likes to play in duos or other small ensembles, for example with the Zurich recorder player Alex Riva, the Parisian bassist Félicie Bazelaire or the Geneva saxophonist Bertrand Denzler. He describes his collaboration with the Parisian dancer Lotus Edde Khouri as “super exciting”. He has another duo project with the Lucerne saxophonist Elio Amberg. “Maybe in the near future I’ll be able to put different duos together on one album.” But more current is another project that Schmid has been pursuing intensively for over a year now: It’s his first solo program, which will also be released on record. You can look forward to it very much!

Jazzaar Admin