Nik Bärtsch

Musician, Cultural Entrepreneur

Nik Bärtsch

Musician, Cultural Entrepreneur

Nik Bärtsch

Strategies for Practical Creativity: Sharpening Mind and Intuition

We often see empathy and collaboration on one side and creative individualism and competition on the opposite side. They can also be seem as different aspects of the same creative energy and so lead to enriching, holistic processes of communication and creation. In music we first need to learn to listen and to make everyone resonate together. I will show with practical examples from my experience as musician and cultural entrepreneur how intuitive, systematic and collaborative processes lead to sustainable results and to chains of value, esteem and inspiration in groups, companies and society.

About

Nik Bärtsch, born in Zurich in 1971, is an internationally renowned pianist, composer, producer, author, founder of the label Ronin Rhythm Records, and co-founder of the Zurich music club EXIL and the indie classical festival Apples & Olives (together with Etienne Abelin and Judd Greenstein). He and drummer Kaspar Rast founded the Montags concert series, with over 860 Monday concerts to date.

Behind Bärtsch’s original decision to step away from conventionally interacting ad-hoc ensembles was a wish to explore musical and social energies more deeply with a group based on the idea of community and continuity at multiple levels. This “musically focused community,” as Bärtsch calls it, has played concerts of marathon durations – up to thirty-six hours – in which music, lighting and space design, video arts and swordsmanship have been brought together.

Bärtsch’s first lessons in piano and percussion at the age of eight culminated in his 1997 graduation from the Zurich Conservatory of Music (today known as the Zurich University of the Arts).

From 1989–2001 Nik Bärtsch studied philosophy, linguistics and musicology at the University of Zurich. While still studying music, he already played in several international jazz and classical groups and founded his own acoustic music ritual group Mobile in 1997 (later including Mobile Extended) and his Zen funk quartet Ronin in 2001 (including the Rhythm Clan version with three horns and guitar since 2003). He also plays solo piano in his project Hishiryo. In 2003–2004, he spent half a year in Japan with his (then) future wife Andrea Pfisterer, studying aikido, zen meditation and music. Bärtsch has a 3rd dan in aikido.

Since 2005, he has recorded exclusively for ECM records, the internationally renowned German jazz and classical label. He has performed in over fifty countries in clubs, institutions and at festivals. He also composes and performs film music and occasionally collaborates with such artists as Laurie Anderson, DJ Ricardo Villalobos, visual artist Sophie Clements and pianist Hauschka.