Urs Leimgruber and Gino Robair: Duo

A fully improvised concert at the edge of sonic and emotional expression, with Swiss saxophone player Urs Leimgruber and Bay Area percussion powerhouse Gino Robair

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


June 20, 2009 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)

Fresh from welcoming viola player Charlotte Hug, swissnex San Francisco goes another round with the cream of the crop of Switzerland’s musical avant-garde. This time, our space hosts saxophonist Urs Leimgruber, a canny explorer of the instrument’s most remote expressive reaches and a major proponent of the European improvised music scene for over 30 years.

In keeping with our tradition of Swiss-SF Bay Area pairings, swissnex San Francisco hosts Urs Leimgruber in a duo format with Bay Area drummer Gino Robair, a percussive powerhouse known for his collaborations with fellow improvisers Fred Frith and Eugene Chadbourne (and many, many, more) and with wayward tunesmith Tom Waits.

Robair’s fascination with resonating objects and Leimgruber’s groundbreaking set of instrumental techniques, are bound to set up a musical clash of particular intensity. This is one not to miss, for newcomers and seasoned listeners alike.

Note: This event has a $7.00 entrance fee. Payment is possible only at the door and only in cash.  You must first register online however by clicking the registration link above.


7:30 pm    doors open
8:00 pm    Leimgruber–Robair performance
9:00 pm    mixer
10:30 pm  doors close

Related events:

Urs Leimgruber (saxophone) and David Wessel (live electronics), duo performance

June 18, 2009 (8:00pm to 10:00pm)
1750 Arch Street, Berkeley
Tickets: $12 ($6 for students and seniors)
More information and location details at http://cnmat.berkeley.edu/

Urs Leimgruber (saxophone), Gino Robair (percussion), Henry Kaiser (guitar) and Damon Smith (double bass), quartet performance

June 22, 2009 (show starts at 8:15pm)
At: Studio 1510
1510 8th Street, Oakland

Tickets: $6-10
Studio 1510 is also on MySpace




Urs Leimgruber

Born in Lucerne, is a saxophonist active in the areas of contemporary improvisation, composition, jazz and new music. One of his earliest associations was as a member of the electric jazz/free music group Om, which he founded with Christy Doran, Fredy Study and Bobbi Burri in the early 1970’s. He later formed the ‘Reflexionen’ quartet with Don Friedman and Bobby Burri in New York.

His own projects have included ‘Ensemble Bleu’, ‘Xylem’, e_a.sonata 02 with the ARTE saxophone quartet, as well as long associations with percussionist Fritz Hauser, bassist Joëlle Léandre, and pianist Marilyn Crispell. His trio with fellow Swiss Jacques Demierre and the San Francisco-born bass legend Barre Phillips has also recently released highly noted works and performed in the U.S., Japan and Europe.

Leimgruber has also played with Steve Lacy, Tim Berne, Fred Frith, Joe McPhee, Lauren Newton, Michel Doneda, Keith Rowe, Günter Christmann, Sunny Murray, Günter Müller, and Saadet Türköz, amongst many others. He also performs extensively as a solo artist and has been involved in mixed media presentations, providing music for dance, radio plays and film.

Gino Robair

is a composer, improviser, drummer, and percussionist. In his own work, as a soloist and in improvisation ensembles, he plays prepared/modified percussion, analog synthesizer, e-bow and prepared piano, theremin, and bowed objects (polystyrene, customized/broken cymbals, faux daxophone, metal). In order to define more precisely his particular music practice, he notes that the term “energized surfaces” is more appropriate and refers to the use of drums as resonators for other objects, which he bows, scrapes, rubs, or activates with an ebow, motors, or compressed air through a horn.

As a composer, Robair has written pieces for a variety of ensembles including the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, scored numerous Shakespearean plays with the California Shakespeare Festival and created jingles for radio and television. Gino Robair is currently an associate editor of Electronic Musician magazine, and he runs Rastascan Records.

Gino Robair frequently tours North America and Europe as a soloist and often improvises in ad-hoc groups. He has recorded with Anthony Braxton, Tom Waits, John Butcher, LaDonna Smith, Otomo Yoshihide, Terry Riley, Lou Harrison, Eugene Chadbourne, Club Foot Orchestra, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Birgit Ulher, Beth Custer, and Fred Frith, and many others. In addition, he has performed with John Zorn, Nina Hagen, and Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. He is also a founding member of the Splatter Trio and Pink Mountain.


Photo: Myleen Hollero