MUSIC & Works
WORKS & COMMISSIONS
Her recent commissions include a work for mezzo-soprano and prepared piano ‘hänge ich, zwischen Zeiten’ written for Maria Laschinger and Olivia Zaugg and their Duo Blickwechsel, a piece for mixed choir for the Junger Kammerchor Basel with text by Sibilla Aleramo, a work for Studio 31’s microtonal Arciorgano premiered at the Gare du Nord with a small chamber ensemble as part of the Congress of Music Theory and Tuning, and an arrangement for the MIT Wind Ensemble in Boston. Last December, her new work ‘Weihnachtsmadrigal’ for the Solothurner Singknaben and the Cantus Firmus Baroque Orchestra was premiered as part of the Christmas festivities. She was selected as one of the composers for the Neue Musik Ensemble Phoenix’s Composition Competition ‘Trabant’, which rotates around Edgar Varèses piece ‘Octandre’. Next year, her new work for the baroque ensemble “Il Pomodoro” will be premiered.
She regularly writes new music for historical instruments and frames them within a context that bridges and transcends genres but is connected to their past, often bringing together musicians from a variety of styles in one ensemble.
LILAC FOR PEOPLE
Lilac for People is an octet lead by Francesca.
The first album of the band was released in 2019 by Auand Records and positively reviewed by critics, such as Downbeat Magazine, All About Jazz, Musikansich, Billboard a.o. and has won the 1st prize of the national composing competition by MIDJ (Italian Jazz Musicians Association), as well as the 1st prize of Paolo Fresu’s JazzAlguer.
The ensemble, consisting of voice, trumpet, tenor and baritone saxophone, piano, guitar, electric bass and drums, is an unconventional band, in which the writing and arranging tasks are the prerogative of Francesca Gaza,
but their individual personalities, skills and wide-ranging taste for jazz, art pop, folk, and classical music have long blended together to form a cohesive sound, both sophisticated and playful, combining nostalgic influences with a contemporary attitude.
The second album by ‘Lilac for People’, entitled ‘sfiorire’, will be released by Tǔk Music in June 2022.
‘Sfiorire’, which literal translation means ‘whithering’, is an orchestral work that contemplates the fading of things, people, words, communication, actions, nature and age, as well as overcoming the loss of wholeness and attempts to capture and address both aggression and manipulation as well as the rediscovery of naivety and the envisioning of beauty.
Each gem-like song is distinct, from the anthemic opener “Flowers, Eyes, Lips, Tombs” to the rock-infused and aggressive “being tall” to “sfiorire”, the title that gives the album its name and portrays the band’s Italian-language debut.
The album’s ten tracks reveal an extension of the exuberant instrumentation of Lilac for People’s previous work and plunge into even richer and more articulated territory, with choral vocals, trombone, tuba bass, bass clarinet, tenor horn and synth layers.
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.
We exist since 2016 and are a very close group of friends and collaborators. We joined in 2016, and the project has won various competitions in Italy including Jazzalguer, MIDJ Composition Prize 2017 and has been invited to important festivals such as Il Jazz Italiano per le Terre del Sisma, Genius Loci Firenze, Piano Piano Festival, Valbadia Jazz festival, Stresa Festival, Grey Cat Jazz Festival, Pärkli Jam Festival (Switzerland), Import Export Festival (Germany) to name a few and has been reviewed extensively both nationally and internationally by specialist critics (All About Jazz and Downbeat, Musikansich, Billboard).
Lilac for People is:
vocals, composition, arrangement
trumpet, flügelhorn, tenor horn, trombone
baritone sax, bass clarinet, tuba
piano, prophet, keys, electronics
electric bass, electronics
«Francesca Gaza’s new work Lilac for People is true poetry and carries with it an original sound as a result of the work she has been doing with her ensemble. It is almost a collective. A wide ensemble that crafts music through a shared breath, capable of seamlessly combining acoustic and electric sounds with boldness and an expert hand. Between Strange Poet and I Get Along Without You Very Well there is a world of passion and feeling that makes Lilac for People one of the most beautiful albums of this time. The JazzAlguer Mediterrani contest is proud to have contributed to the emergence of such an extraordinary project.»
Kugelförmigkeit fuses eleven instruments from Renaissance, Baroque, jazz and modernity into a coherent genre-defiant musical language. The unusual configuration of instruments is tailored into an imaginary spherical ball of time where present, past and future are interchangeable. Composer and singer Francesca Gaza invites the listener to set himself up in the unstable sensation of fluidity within the world created by the ensemble, which showcases a brotherly relationship between apparently distant principles, reflecting a sort of counterpoint between a modernist distrust due to the realization of the passing of time and a romantic comfort-seeking wish for unity.
With her ensemble Francesca, was awarded the first prize in the “Fraumünsterhof” composition competition for the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage in September 2021 with her piece “Isoritmo/ Alice’s Fall”, with which she performed in the art installation in the Münsterhof in Zurich. The project was commissioned for a second new work by the Apples & Olives Festival Zurich in March 2022 under the direction of pianist Nik Bärtsch and American composer Judd Greenstein. This sparked a collaboration between Francesca Gaza and composer and violinist Helena Winkelman, who then collaborated on a new work presented at the UNESCO World Heritage Müstair Monatsery in July 2022, which was recorded and co-produced by SRF.
From influences of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets to Carlo Gesualdo’s Miserere melody and 14th century Orlando Di Lasso’s Bicinium structures, the project will invite the listener in a new world of sound and was published on the 25th of June on Whales Records. Order on: https://francescagaza.bandcamp.com
Katom is a band of five eclectic musicians coming from Catalonia, Chile, Italy, Israel and South Africa who are based in Basel, Switzerland. Their music creates intense walls of sound through ambient textures that combine improvised jazz with through-composed folky song cycles and forge a dynamic resonance with the listeners by inviting them in uncharted territories of timbre and harmony.
Voice and trumpet are used as both instrumental textures and prominent centrepieces that float between consonant melodies and forced dissonances – drums and bass anchor the elegantly provided ethereal guitar lines which intertwine and tailor diverse sound layers. The typical roles of each instrument are abandoned with eagerness, leaving space for a surprising musical direction in constant evolution.
After their EP Release in 2020, the band will release their debut alum on Hout Records in June 2023.
James McClure (ZAF) trumpet
Francesca Gaza (IT/DE) vocals, synth
Martin Theurillat (CHL/CH) guitar
Nadav Erlich (IS) double bass
Jordi Pallarès (ES) drums