Band


Down with categories, peace to music!

A house, a fountain with clear spring water, a gramoph… er, a saxophone.

Dear opera house friends, geeks, geezers, sedentary and dancing folk, here she is:

HILDEGARD LERNT FLIEGEN!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a sixteenth note, remove its narcotic perspirant coating and behold the true origin of MUSIC. It’s not, as you may think, Massively Untidy Sinologists In the Congo, but rather MUst Swagger Immediately to the Concert.

Whoever’s seen this band live knows that Ludwig van, Miles, and AC/DC are yesterday’s snooze. Whoever’s witnessed this band live has seen, smelt, and felt what all these notes, brass, hides, wood and larynxes are really for: the polychromatic, polyrhythmic celebration of the living and the dead. Attention ladies (and gentlemen companions): remember to bring axes for your chairs! The first note you hear is the sign that everything is permitted, when the one and only Hill D. Guard steps onto the boards that mean the world and learns how to fly.

Andreas Schaerer must have been about twenty when — having searched on the horizon for many an eve — the music which he would call his own suddenly burst through the door like a horde of marauding Vikings. And thus this young man from the Swiss foothills discovered that his was not to be the placid life of a singer crooning jazzy/soulful songs of joy and sorrow, love and hip thrusts, with a band keeping time behind him. No, his place was to be in the band itself, cheek by jowl with horns, bass and weapons of mass percussion, his voice one instrument among equals, galloping alongside them and inciting them to plumb the depths and scale the heights.

Thus was born in 2005 the über-jazz group Hildegard Lernt Fliegen.

Filling a hole in the scene like a dentist without novocaine, Hildegard’s first record was released in 2007 by Unit Records and sold like spiked hotcakes. Hildegard rocked, rattled, and rolled her way across Europe; the music press and many a newspaper threw congratulatory rice and confetti (read here).

Her impudent odyssey was chronicled by comic book legend Peter Baeder, who transformed tacky merchandising articles like albums, posters, and stickers into collector’s items.

In 2008 the Zurich Cantonal Bank tenderly revealed its secret infatuation and awarded the band its coveted Jazz Award. Without much ado, Hildegard cashed in the prize to produce her second album, Vom Fernen Kern Der Sache (“the distant heart of the matter”) in 2009. In 2010 the band went to search for said distant heart, traveling to Russia and China — which provided the occasion for Michelle Brun’s stunning tour film Tales Wander and Martin Ruch’s album Live in Moscow, recorded live in a former Soviet sauna and underground library. The two items appeared as the low-carb/high-protein box set Cinéma Hildegard. Hildegard may now be signed to Enja Records, but she’s still dangerous and at large, dancing like a herd of footloose dervishes on the 2014 album The Fundamental Rhythm of Unpolished Brains. And as luck would have it, while recently looking for a new tour bus she met a group of German auto dealers, who offered her the BMW Welt Jazz Award 2014. (She’s still looking for a bus with better mileage.)

Until then, she continues to tour via diesel locomotives, discarded ambulances, and light aircraft in the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Luxembourg, China, Italy, Finland, and especially France, to whom she seems to have taken a new liking…

 

Band Members


Andreas Schaerer 
captures the flies buzzing around other people’s heads and sets them to music. He is generally acknowledged as the human incarnation of a vaudeville theater. From the dressers to the stagehands, from the wigmakers to the props department, the spotlight operator to the conductor, everything arises in his mind and comes out of his throat. Born in Emmental in 1976, he hasn’t closed his mouth since.
voice

 


Andreas Tschopp 
is actually a bird dressed up like a trombone. The outbreak of jaywalking in Zurich in the early eighties has been attributed to his birth there some years before. Only people with crooked toes are able to resist his charm. He is Hildegard’s sunny South Pole, stays calm during rush hour, and snores to the tune of Ornithology.
trombone, tuba
 



Benedikt Reising 
was born in 1978 in Basel. He has spent most of the intervening years collecting shiny metal tubing and blowing into it. With a smile in the corner of his eye and a foxtrot in his pocket, he plays the baritone sax as if it were his own private cocktail party.
baritone-, alto-saxophone, basse clarinet
 

 


Christoph Steiner
keeps himself busy as a producer and by playing drums, typewriters, kitchen utensils, and whatever else he gets his hands on which isn’t bolted down. His industriousness is legendary and has lead listeners at Hildegard concerts to wonder if he isn’t simultaneously running a mail-order hardware business. Legend also has it that even consumptive mice can get their groove on to his beats. He first saw the light of day in 1980 in autumnal Winterthur.
drums, percussion, marimba


Marco Müller 
doesn’t just play the bass. He and his instrument are conjoined — an archaic root vegetable, a woody knot that steams and pounds and grooves like the engine on Santa’s snowmobile. He was born in a manger in Fribourg in 1980 and ever since he has had a fondness for sleeping in hay.
upright bass
 

 


Matthias Wenger
is a saxophonist and a perfect gentleman, with a devil perched on one shoulder and a muse on the other. His first appearance on the world’s stage was in 1979, and he seems to have spent his formative years fiddling. He is a human jukebox and Rumpelstiltskin beyond compare.
alto-, soprano-saxophone