Founded in 2005 by singer and composer Andreas Schaerer, this Swiss sextet has already grown a beard and started to stay out late. Schaerer’s compositions slip through any easy attempts at categorization as easily as a trout squirms free of a fisherman’s hands. The group was finally brought ashore in 2007, when they released their first album for the Swiss label Unit Records. The reviews were glowing, sales were brisk, and the album had to be re-released after being sold out in a couple of months. Scholars can consult the sheet music here.
Since then, the band has traveled thousands of kilometers on the Autobahn, drank many a liter of gas station coffee, and played more solos and refrains than they care to remember — on tours in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. They’ve tickled the fancies of audiences and expert juries alike. In May 2008 the group won the ZKB Jazz Prize. The long and storied list of stages where Hildegard Lernt Fliegen has performed include many a jazz club and cabaret, but also festivals such as Jazznojazz Zürich, Cully Jazz, BeJazz Winterfestival, Offside Festival Geldern, Suisse Jazz Diagonales, Langnauer Jazz Nights, Dresdner Jazztage, and the Stanser Musiktage.
November 2009 was no time for putting their feet up and relaxing by the fire. Au contraire, Hildegard had a date with destiny and was beaver-busy preparing their second album — Vom fernen Klang der Sache — appeared as a CD/picture-book designer by the Zurich-based illustrator Peter Baeder. Hildegard made her music video debut with the song “Seldom was Covered with Snow and an Old Oak,” in a charmingly surrealist staging directed by Maria Sigrist.
Hildegard Lernt Fliegen made Russia their home in the fall of 2010. The group toured for two weeks through a landscape which seemed to have been painted just for them. Two stowaways on board — the filmmaker Michelle Brun and sound editor Martin Ruch — recorded the highlights of this Swiss-Soviet summit before locking themselves for a few months in an editing studio… Meanwhile, Hildegard continued touring, returning to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. The following fall the band returned to their ursine hometown (Bern) to release the CD Live in Moscow and their concert tour film Tales Wander. These two items have been combined in the package set Cinéma Hildegard (designed by Peter Baeder).
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.
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.
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.
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.