Ljubljana – Big Band of RTV September 2016
The Big Band of RTV Slovenia, conducted by Sigi Feigl, performed ten different pieces written by composers from seven different European countries that were selected by the ECCO Artistic Committee. The composers were: Michel Herr (Belgium), Jukka Linkola (Finland), Outi Tarkiainen (Finland), Piotr Wróbel (Poland), Matjaž Mikuletič (Slovenia), Nikki Iles (UK), Mark Lockheart (UK), Helge Sunde (Norway), Krešimir Herceg (Croatia) and Klemen Smolej (Slovenia).
The band has existed since 1945 and prides itself with being among the oldest orchestras in the world of its kind. The qualities of the Big Band are its diversity and the ability to fulfill the needs of various radio and television programmes. It has excelled in musical genres as diverse as film, dance, popular and classical music. Jazz, however, is the music Big Band RTV Slovenija plays with the greatest dedication and pleasure.
Download the programme here.
BIG BAND OF STV SLOVENIA - LJUBLJANA, 28 SEPTEMBER 2016
Besides a career as a jazz pianist which led him to work with famous jazz musicians, such as Chet Baker, Joe Lovano, Joe Henderson, Archie Shepp and Toots Thielemans, Michel Herr has been active as a composer and arranger on the European scene.
He has written for his own bands (quintet, nonet) as well as for ensembles of various formats, among others, the WDR, NDR Big Bands, the Metropole Orchestra, the Brussels Jazz Orchestra as well as for string ensembles, chamber orchestras, and choir.
Michel Herr’s compositions have been played and recorded by prestigious jazz soloists, such as Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, Judy Niemack, Fred Hersch, Kenny Barron, Bill Frisell, Archie Shepp, Toots Thielemans and Philip Catherine.
Michel Herr has also written music scores for movies (“Just Friends”) and television.
Piotr Wróbel (born in 1977 in Warsaw) graduated from the Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, and Academy of Jazz Music in Katowice.
He has written numerous works for solo instruments, brass consorts, big bands and symphonic orchestras: Concerto for Trombone & Orchestra, Concerto for Orchestra, Jazz Concerto Grosso for flute and string orchestra and many others.
As a bass trombonist he was the Polish representative for the European Youth Jazz Orchestra project. He also played several concerts with Maria Schneider. Wróbel used to cooperate with musicians and projects such as the Zbigniew Namyslowski’s big band ‘Kalatowki’, and Ryszard Borowski’s big band ‘Aquarium’. He has led the Jazz Trombone Quartet “Jazz PuZone” and brass-band “Brass Federacja”.
Outi Tarkiainen (born in 1985) is a composer who works with both classical and jazz music. Tarkiainen has composed vocal and chamber music, works for soloist with orchestra, as well as music for jazz orchestras and ensembles. Tarkiainen’s music has been heard in many festivals of note such as Nordic Music Days, Musica Nova Helsinki and Pori Jazz Festival. In 2015 she was invited as a composer-in-residence to the Festival de Musique Classique d’Uzerche in France, where six of her chamber music works were performed. In addition to the Nordic countries, her works have been performed in several European countries as well as in the United States and Japan, by Metropole Orchestra, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Umo Jazz Orchestra, Uusinta Ensemble and Zagros Ensemble, among others. Jazz legends such as David Liebman, Randy Brecker, Conrad Herwig, Peter Erskine and Dick Oatts have performed as soloists in her works.
As a conductor-composer Tarkiainen was invited to work with the Slovenian Radio Big Band in Ljubljana in 2008 as well as the Norrbotten Big Band for their Swedish tours in 2011 and 2015. She won the First Prize in the International Jazzverk big band composition competition in Sweden in 2008 with her piece Oglütz. In the summer of 2013, Tarkiainen’s debut album, featuring primarily jazz works in which vocalist Aili Ikonen performs with the Norrbotten Big Band, was released. In addition to the Norrbotten Big Band, her music has been recorded by Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Umo Jazz Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra and Metropole String Orchestra.
Tarkiainen earned her master’s degree in composition from Sibelius Academy in 2010 under Eero Hämeenniemi, Veli-Matti Puumala and Kari Heinilä. In addition to her work as a composer, Tarkiainen is an artistic director of the Silence Festival in Lapland.
As a founding member of the hugely innovative Creative Jazz Orchestra in the early 1990s, Nikki Iles came to prominence working with musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Vince Mendoza, Mark Anthony Turnage, Kenny Wheeler and Mike Gibbs.
For many years, Nikki served a lengthy apprenticeship in the North of England playing with the cream of British and American jazz such as Peter King, Iain Ballamy, Art Farmer, Scott Hamilton, Tim Garland and Jim Mullen. Many of these relationships were re-kindled later when Nikki finally made the move to London in 1998. Here she joined the groups and toured and recorded with innovative musicians such as Steve Arguelles, Stan Sulzmann, Martin Speake, Mick Hutton and Tina May.
Although well known as a pianist, composition still remains a major part of her musical life. There have been several nominations for the Paul Hamlyn Award and many commissions have followed.
As a piano player, she remains much in demand (nominated in the piano category of the 2012 and 2013 British Jazz Awards.) Recent work has taken her across the world as a member of the inspirational Julian Arguelles Octet, Joe Locke, The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, The Stan Sulzmann Quartet, Tony Coe and The Anglo/Canadian group with Martin Speake and vocal legend Norma Winstone. She has made many recordings and most recently, a trio CD “Hush“ in New York with Americans, Rufus Reid and Jeff Williams, “Mirrors“ with Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone and finally her own group, The Printmakers “Westerly“.
With a parallel career as a widely respected teacher, Nikki is Professor of Jazz Piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Middlesex University as well as giving masterclasses around the world.
Saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart first came to prominence in the mid-1980s with the influential big band Loose Tubes. In 1992, Mark formed the eclectic co-led quartet Perfect Houseplants, a group that released six albums and collaborated with classical artists such as the Orlando Consort, Andrew Manze and Pamela Thorby.
The mid-1990s saw Mark recording and performing with many jazz, folk and pop artists including Django Bates, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and Radiohead. In 1997, Mark was awarded the Peter Whittingham Award to record his semi-orchestral eleven-piece group the Scratch Band. This formed the basis of his debut CD ‘Through Rose-Coloured Glasses,’ which was released in 1998 to critical acclaim and voted by Time Out as one of the ‘Top Ten Albums of 1998.’
In 2003, Mark joined Seb Rochford’s Polar Bear, which over a period of ten years went on to record six ground-breaking albums. The band’s second CD, ‘Held On The Tips Of Fingers,’ was nominated for the 2005 Mercury Award and later appeared in Jazzwise’s ‘100 Albums That Shook the World.’ The band’s fifth album ‘In Each And Every Way’ was also nominated for a Mercury award in 2013.
In 2009, Mark’s quintet album ‘In Deep’ was released to critical acclaim – the Manchester Evening News awarded it five stars and said it was ‘the key record of the second golden age of British jazz.’ In 2010, Mark was awarded APPJC ‘Parliamentary Jazz Musician of the Year 2010.’
An invitation to perform at the New York Rochester Jazz Festival in 2014 led to the formation of Mark’s latest group, a new trio ‘Malija’ with pianist Liam Noble and bassist Jasper Hoiby. Malija’s debut CD was released in December 2015 to critical acclaim and the band is currently on tour in the UK.
After completing secondary music school, Mikuletič enrolled at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Department of jazz. Here he received his master’s degree under the supervision of Prof. Ed Neumeister. As a member of the Big Band of Graz University, Mikuletič collaborated with several musicians, including Herb Pomeroy, Peter Erskine, Clark Terry, and Ed Neumeister. During his studies he participated in the project “Swinging Europe” which selected musicians for a one-month tour through Europe in 1999.
Mikuletič currently lives in Ljubljana and works as a soloist, conductor, composer and arranger in Big Band RTV Slovenia. He frequently participates in various ensembles in Italy and Croatia: Mirokado, latin-jazz groups Ocho Rios and Ten directions. In May 2004, he performed with the EBU Big Band in Switzerland. In 2006, he recorded “Hippy Christmas” in cooperation with the Big Band RTV Slovenia. Here, he not only presented himself as a musician, but also as an accomplished author, arranger and conductor.
In addition to this, Mikuletič is involved in arranging and composition of other musical genres, he for example participating as arranger in the Cuban music project, which was recorded in Cuba. The released CD was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2013. In 2010, he received the Award for important works in art from the Academy of music, University of Ljubljana. As a studio musician he has also recorded and arranged for many other music groups.
Krešimir Herceg, a well-known and established Croatian composer and pianist, was born in Samobor in 1935. His compositions contain elements of ethno to pop and jazz in vocal and instrumental versions as well as chamber music.
An essential part of his works is dedicated to music for big band jazz orchestra traditionally performed by the Jazz Orchestra of the HRT (National radio and TV) and especially by the HGM orchestra (Croatian Youth Jazz Orchestra, directed by Sigi Feigl, Austria); presented in a double CD album which consists of instrumental and vocal parts named “Butterfly Dance”, where the No Name Walz is also included. All arrangements are made by Reinhard Summerer (Austria).
Herceg won many awards at Croatian music festivals. In 2005, Herceg was awarded the Miroslav Sedak Benčić prize by the Croatian Composers’ Society for his contribution to Croatian jazz music, namely for the album Moonglow Serenade, which he authored with Damir Dičić.
Helge Sunde (born in 1965) holds a master degree in Composition from the Norwegian Academy of Music, where he is currently employed as Associate Professor at the institution’s jazz, trombone, composition and arrangement classes.
Throughout the last decades, he has enjoyed a career as a very versatile composer and performing musician. The recent years, he has concentrated his energy on the “Ensemble Denada” for which he has released 3 albums: “Denada” (ACT 2006), “FindingNymo” (ACT 2009) and “Windfall” (Ozella 2013).
The first album received a nomination for “Spellemannsprisen” (Norwegian Grammy) while the second album was awarded the German “Echo Jazz Award”. For “Windfall” Helge Sunde was awarded the «Edvard Grieg price 2013».
“As we entered the new millennium, some stubborn Norwegians insisting on writing jazz music for large ensembles decided to join forces and make a National Jazz Composers Orchestra. Geir Lysne, Eirik Hegdal, Trygve Seim and Erlend Skomsvoll were among the nine composers who had their first performances at this band’s first concert. Among these charts, I had an untitled piece; more or less a nerdy exercise in Messiaen’s “Modus 4”.
Over the years, charts like this one had been piling up and I had to do something to avoid the «40 year-crisis» coming up soon.
Despite what you have heard about Norway, this band received absolutely no funding, so I used my own savings and with the help of both the Norwegian Composer societies I managed to pay the recording myself. The record was released on German label ACT music exactly 10 years ago.
Klemen Smolej, academy professor, guitarist, composer and arranger was born in a music family. After graduating from classical guitar at the Music Academy college in Ljubljana, he studied jazz guitar in Klagenfurt, Austria.
Smolej also completed a Berklee music online course and received a certificate for jazz guitarist. He has been composing and arranging for his bands and other groups from the age of 18. In 2011, Smolej released his first album titled ‘Nice Twice’.
In 2014 and 2015 he recorded nine original compositions and arrangments with Big Band RTV Slovenia. Two songs from that period were released recently in a compilation Young Jazz with Big Band RTV Slovenia.
Smolej is currently recording a new project with his own music group Gala Dance Orchestra. In addition to this, Smolej is also teaching jazz guitar at the Conservatory For Music in Ljubljana and classical guitar at the Music School in Trži.
Smolej has a broad and colourful experience with many music genres and different group assemblies, from solo to big orchestra. Mainly self taught, the composer and arranger Klemen Smolej still diggs the broad spectrum of this beautiful thing called music.
Composer, conductor and pianist Jukka Linkola (born in 1955) began his career in jazz but has since the 1980’s become better known as a composer of classic music. His repertoire as a composer is exceptionally large. It contains not only orchestral works, concertos and chamber music but also operas, songs, musicals and jazz. All in all, 40 recordings of Linkola’s works have been released so far.
Linkola has been mostly composing for symphony and chamber orchestras or large jazz ensembles dominated by wind and brass instruments, and he also uses soloists with various ensembles. In recent years, Linkola has also composed several choral works, such as “Evoe!” and the “Christmas Suite” for the Helsinki University Male Voice Choir (YL), “Primitive Music” and “Auringon ylistys” for descant choir and “Mieliteko” and “Ilo” for mixed choir.
Among his numerous award wins are the EBU international composition competition (1981), the Emma Prize (1998), LUSES competition for the composition of a musical (1993), the Hopeakuu music theatre competition award organised by Lahti City Theatre (2002 and 2004), Jussi Awards in 1987 and 1989, the Record of the Year (Finnish Broadcasting Company 1980 ), the Yrjö (Georgie) Award (Finnish Jazz Federation, 1979), Pori Jazz (1980), Paris Opera Screen Competition (1993), Concours International de Composition de la Ville du Havre (1994), IAJE prize in Boston (1994), 1994 the first prize in the Midem Awards in Cannes.
Linkola is currently working as a freelance composer. Linkola conducted at the Helsinki City Theatre between 1975 and 1990. He has also conducted his own works with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera, the Göteborg Opera, the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and the Radio Orchestras of Ljubljana and Prague. In addition to this, Linkola has conducted many big bands, such as the UMO Jazz Orchestra, EBU Big Band, Danish Radio Big Band and Bohuslän Big Band and has been involved in the Helsinki Festival, Jyväskylä Arts Festival and Lieksa Brass Week. He can frequently be heard playing the piano with his own ensemble, The Tentet.
Sigi Feigl (b. 1961 in Leibnitz, Austria) started his musical education in 1977 at the University of Music in Graz. During his studies he founded ‘Big Band Süd’ for which he was also the artistic director. The ensemble held more than 100 concerts with guest soloists such as Art Farmer, Bob Brookmeyer, Toots Thielemans or Boško Petrović. Missing an official big string orchestra in Leibnitz, Feigl founded ‘Symphonic Orchestra Leibnitz’ in 1986 for which he was the conductor till 2003. During this time he worked as a music teacher at several institutions, mainly at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz where he served as Vice-Head of the department between between 2008 and 2015.
Feigl has founded several ensembles and cultural projects throughout his career such as ‘Jazz Festival Leibnitz’, ‘Kultur in Leibnitz’ and ‘Jazz Big Band Graz’. In addition to this, approximately 1500 cultural events have been organized by Feigl over the past 25 years and over the years the line-up of ‘Jazz Big Band Graz’ has included some of the most prestigious jazz musicians in Austria such as Fritz Pauer and Wayne Darling.
In addition to playing an important role in the development of jazz in Austria, Feigl has also played an important role for jazz music in Croatia. In 2002, Feigl founded the ‘HGM Jazzorkestar Zagreb’. Feigl served as the orchestra’s artistic director till 2014. The orchestra has performed at over 250 concerts, recorded 5 CDs and given the possibility to over 200 musicians to play with and learn from the best jazz musicians in the world. In addition to this, Feigl founded ‘HGM.A’Band’ (2010), ‘Zagreb Jazz Strings’ (2012) and ‘Zagreb Jazzorkestar’ (2014).
In 2007, Feigl established a local office of ‘Jeunesse Musicale Austria’ in Leibnitz. Five years later, Feigl toured with ‘Jeunesses Musicales Jazz World’, an ensemble established by Jeunesses Musicales International, as their artistic director. Since 1994, 12 CDs have been published with Sigi Feigl directing different Jazz Orchestras. Feigl is currently living and working in Graz, Austria.