FRANCESCA GAZA

BIOGRAPHY

Francesca Gaza (1995) is an Italian/German singer, composer and arranger with Romanian roots currently living in Basel, Switzerland. 

Wide-ranging in musical influences, her most recent commissions include a work for mezzo-soprano and prepared piano hänge ich, zwischen Zeiten for Duo Blickwechsel, a piece for mixed choir for the Junger Kammerchor Basel performed in May 2021 with text by Sibilla Aleramo; a work for the microtonal Arciorgano of Studio 31 for a premiere in Gare du Nord with Cello, Doublebass, Soprano and Trombone for the Congress of Music Theory and Tuning in October ’21, as well as an arrangement for the MIT Wind Ensemble from Boston. This upcoming December, her new work for the Solothurner Singknaben (Youth Chorus of Solothurn) and the Cantus Firmus Consort Baroque Orchestra will be premiered in occasion of the Christmas Celebrations.

As a performer, bandleader and sidewoman she is working extensively in jazz-, antique-, pop-, contemporary-classical and experimental music and has released three albums under her name: Sfiorire (2022, Tuk Music), Kugelförmigkeit (2021, Whales Records) and Lilac for People (2019, Auand Records).

With her ensemble Kugelförmgikeit, which unites 14 baroque, renaissance and jazz instrumentalists, she won the first prize in the competition ‘Fraumünsterhof’ with her piece ‘Isoritmo/ Alice’s Fall’ for the jubilee of the 50 years women’s voting rights, and performed with her ensemble in the Art Installation on the Münsterhof in Zurich. The Ensemble was commissioned for a second new work by the Apples & Olives Festival in Zurich under the direction of pianist Nik Bärtsch and American composer Judd Greenstein. This initiated a collaboration between Francesca Gaza and composer and violinist Helena Winkelman, who have then written and co-performed a new work that was presented at the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Müstair’ Monastery in July 2022.

At the same time, she is leading her other project Lilac for People, an Italian octet that she has been running since 2016 and in which she lives out her fondness for art-pop and eccentric songs, which she embellishes with refined arrangements with influences from rock, electronics and classical music. Lilac for People’s second album, her latest production, was released in June 2022 on Paolo Fresu’s label Tuk Music and they are currently on tour.

Her collaborations as a singer and pianist see her involved with Brooklyn-based Drummer and Composer Chase Kuesel’s album Space Between (Ears and Eyes Records, 2020) and with Italian pianist Francesco Orio’s new Trio Album Os, as well as his project Vox Organalis. Other collaborations see her involved with the Basel-based quintet Katom, being her most recent involvement as a side-woman with whom she is working on the Debut Album. She has been featured as well in acclaimed Catalan jazz trumpet player Oscar La Torre’s new album A Pathway to Become, as well as Zurich-born bassist and singer Pino Zortea’s Duo project ‘bicycle fantasies’.

She was awarded the National Italian Jazz Composition Prize in 2017, the 1st prize of the Jazzalguer Festival led by Paolo Fresu in 2018, the Umbria Jazz Competition Prize and a Berklee College of Music Summer Program Scholarship in 2013. She is a part of both Basel’s and Florence’s vibrant art scene, and regularly performs and collaborates with musicians and artists from across Europe. 

Francesca Gaza’s writing is emblematic of an emerging generation and a circle of composers and performers who have made it their trademark to transcend traditional genre distinctions. 

Francesca has graduated with honours from the M.A. in Composition at the Musikakademie Jazzcampus Basel with a Minor in the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, mentored by Guillermo Klein, Lisette Spinnler, Jorge Rossy, Luciana Souza, Norma Winstone, and Patrik Zosso, as well as Johannes Menke, Florian Vogt and Ulrike Hofbauer amongst others. She finished her Bachelor of Arts in Music and Jazz Vocals in 2017 at the Siena Jazz University in Italy with magna cum laude under the guidance of acclaimed singer Diana Torto, pianist Stefano Battaglia and bassist Daniele Camarda. Currently, she is involved in her second Master studies in sound design, composition and baroque singing.