Fischermanns Orchestra is all set to jazz it up - GulfToday

Fischermanns Orchestra is all set to jazz it up


Swiss jazz band Fischermanns Orchestra will entertain music fans in the UAE this month.

Manjula Ramakrishnan

The Swiss Series is an initiative by Swiss Art Gate UAE that was started in 2012 with the aim of promoting visual artists, musicians and performing artists from Switzerland in the UAE.

“The Sand Dust Tour 2019 will bring 11 members of the jazz band Fischermanns Orchestra from Lucerne, Switzerland to perform a private concert on Thursday, Oct.17, 2019 at LARTE, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, which will be by invitation only and a public concert on Friday, Oct.18at The Fridge, Alserkal Avenue Dubai,’’ says Kurt Blum, general manager of Swiss Art Gate UAE.

Simon Petermann, musical director and trombone player of Fischermanns Orchestra, speaks to Panorama.

How has the musical journey been and what awaits UAE music lovers?

For the last 12 years we have been playing all over Europe; in the last couple of years we had the chance to also play outside Europe. Last year we went to Bolivia and delved into a world that was totally new to us. The Space Dust Tour 2019 will be totally exciting, because none of us has ever visited the Arab region. After playing at the Cairo Jazz Festival and getting a first impression of the rich Arab culture we will visit a second Arab nation – the UAE – and meet more interesting people. And we look forward to meeting the people in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.


Fischermanns Orchestra promises an evening full of energy.

What is the interesting story behind the formation of this band?

We all studied music at the University of Lucerne in Switzerland. In 2007 there was a collaboration of the University and the well-known Jazz festival, Willisau. The band Kenny Wollensen and the Himalayasfrom New York City played there that year and they wanted to have as many musicians on the stage as possible. So they invited the students of Lucerne to join them. After having moments of great fun, we decided to keep going and started to write our own music. We started as a Street Band, but afterwards we became more and more a large ensemble playing contemporary jazz. Last summer we had the honour to be invited to play on the main stage of the Willisau Jazz Festival again. This time the Fischermanns Orchestra was the main act of the evening. We had arrived!

How do you distinguish your style from other forms of jazz?

We are a large ensemble with an unusual large rhythm section and a very decent selection of horn players. We play jazz styles that are always on the edge of the musical development of today’s music with some rhythmic complexity and hymn like melodies. In our compositions we mix traditional and not so traditional effects of jazz composition. Our composers experiment with contemporary grooves like hiphop beats or composing techniques from electronic music. We combine these elements with extended solos of our very gifted band members, with parts that are mostly improvised by trios or quartets combined out of the group, and a conducting technique called sound painting. All in all, we play a music that is very creative.

How long does it take to create a new composition?

Some composers bring tunes that are almost finished and then we learn them by heart in a few weeks. Some composers bring their ideas and want to try out many different things until the song is finished. Every composer has his own workflow and we want to give everyone the possibility to work the way he likes it best. I think this is a big quality of our group, we try to present every musician how he is and what he does best. In the end, every band member is in charge of learning the parts and the solos himself. We try to organise the band as a collective, where everyone contributes with his own qualities and skills to the music and the management.

What can UAE jazz lovers expect from your concert?

An evening full of energy and creative music. We will be playing a repertoire where jazz meets different styles of contemporary music. We are in good shape because we stayed together and played together and partied together for the past 10 days and there are those moments where everyone is 100 per cent present and our brains and our ideas become very well synced. These are the moments when the magic is about to happen and our music starts to take off… and no landing in close sight.


The band will play a repertoire where jazz meets different styles of contemporary music.

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