36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022
Fritz Hauser (Switzerland):

Fritz Hauser - drums, percussion.

Fritz Hauser (b. 1953), one of the most remarkable personalities on the improvised music scene, is one of the few percussionists developing solo programs. His masterful and conceptual compositions are marked by incredible sensitivity, precision and control, exceptional inventiveness and extremely wide dynamic range – from barely heard rustling to sound avalanches. He is able to project diverse sound dimensions – from almost pure silence to chaotic or controlled noise.

Sometimes his trill attacks reach such a density that neither eye nor ear is able to distinguish separate gestures or sounds – one perceives it as a continuous drone. Often Fritz Hauser’s performances sound like conversations with several percussionists; rhythmic planes in his poly-rhythmic patterns acquire independent life with their own dynamics, ebbs and flows, time and evolution.

When other drummers are enriching their percussion batteries with various electronic, self-made or exotic instruments, minimalist Fritz Hauser remains faithful to acoustic instruments, sticks to laconic and seemingly conventional expression means, often performing without sound equipment and amplification. However, Hauser produces the most colourful timbres with the most minimal means – by employing the entire surface of the instrument, snapping his fingers, waving drum-brushes in the air, or engaging the setting of the performance. It could be a glass building with seven-second echo, where he recorded his first solo album Solodrumming, or Basel Zoo (Fantasia Zolliologica), or chapel in Lucerne (The Mirror).

Having nurtured the interest in percussion instruments from he was a child, Fritz Hauser studied classical percussion at the Basel Conservatoire. Since then, he has honed his musical language in solo concerts, various small ensembles and large orchestras, as well as multi media projects, fusing elements of music, theatre, dance, film, radio and architecture. He has a steady collaboration with the dancer and choreographer Anna Huber, and the architect Boa Baumann.

In the area of improvised music Fritz Hauser has collaborated with a whole list of musicians including Urs Leimgruber, Saadet Turköz, Marylin Crispell, Joe McPhee, Pierre Favre, Daniel Humair, Christy Doran, Lauren Newton, Joëlle Léandre, Fredy Studer, as well as Quartet Noir, Circus and Deep Listening Band. In recent decade he has worked with various percussion groups including Kroumata, Synergy Percussion, Speak Percussion and Nexus , percussion soloists Steven Schick, Keiko Abe and Michael Askill. He has recorded a number of solo and collaborative albums. His concert tours have taken him around the world.

Widely known as a soloist, Fritz Hauser plays both improvised solo concerts and works from different composers (often commissioned by and written for him) such as John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Rob Kloet, Bun Ching Lam, Joey Baron, Stephan Grieder, Pierre Favre, Mani Planzer, Robert Suter, Warren Smith, Franz Koglmann and Art Clay. The percussionist is also a composer, writes music for film and theatre, creates sound installations; gives lectures.

At the Vilnius Jazz thespian and mesmerising virtuoso Fritz Hauser will present Drum with Man, a special minimalist programme in which he narrates his story with the help of his sole companion – the drum.

© Jūratė Kučinskaitė

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