Hi, dear MD readers! My name is Mathias Künzli, and this, my first blog, will be my introduction to many of you. I am an NYC-based freelance drummer/percussionist currently playing with Regina Spektor, Tall Tall Trees, Nina Violet, and Rashanim, among others.
Music has guided my career for over two decades. I was born in Switzerland, and I started to play drums at age thirteen, playing rock ’n’ roll and then becoming the drummer for the Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra. After receiving two scholarships from Berklee College of Music, I moved to the States, where I encountered a diversity of cultures. This deepened my experience with drums and hand percussion.
I’ve had the privilege of studying with a diverse roster of teachers, including Jamey Haddad, Zohar Fresco, Joe Hunt, Ian Froman, Giovanni Hidalgo, Adam Nussbaum, Danny Gottlieb, Tommy Campbell, Hal Crook, Greg Hopkins, Marco Kaeppeli, and Fritz Renold. They have helped me to improve, find new sounds, and get confused and inspired, and they introduced me to ideas that reach beyond music.
My desire and ability to adapt to a wide range of musical styles have enabled me to tour throughout all points in Europe and North America as well as in Aruba, Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa.
I’ve had the privilege to appear in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls, arenas, and festivals, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Monterey Jazz Festival.
As a drummer and percussionist, I’ve collaborated with artists as varied as Regina Spektor, Moby, Lauryn Hill, Yo-Yo Ma Silk Road Project, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Vieux Farka Toure, Randy Brecker, Bob Berg, Marc Ribot, John Zorn’s Electric Masada, Alessandra Belloni, Hal Crook, George Garzone, Jamey Haddad, John Lockwood, Yanka Roupkina, Theodosii Spassov, Bakithi Kumalo, Tony Cedras, Oscar Stagnaro, Savina Yannatou, Dave Samuels, the Paul Winter Consort, Donny McCaslin, Eugene Friesen, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Matt Darriau, Frank London, Gary Burton, Makoto Ozone, Gina Gershon, Keyhan Kalhor, Mikael Burishnikov, Mary Wilson, Steve Gorn, and Howard Johnson.
I’m currently on the road with Regina Spektor. Besides TV appearances and headlining shows, we recently finished a U.S. tour opening up for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who tore it up every night. Watching and getting to know Steve Ferrone was a real treat. We are off to a month-long European tour at the end of June, followed by more U.S. dates—stay tuned!
I’m also staying involved in the ever-changing NYC scene. I’m very happy to keep playing around town and touring with Tall Tall Trees, Nina Violet, Allison Barber, Vlada Tomova’s Balkan Tales, and an occasional solo show where I loop instruments, toys, and my voice to create my universe of choice for that very moment.
I would like to thank all the lovely people who have helped me get here. Many thanks as well to Bosphorus cymbals, Agner drumsticks, Cooperman frame drums, and Popercussion for making amazing products and helping me out along the way.
For more on Mathias Künzli, go to www.mathiaskunzli.com. And go to YouTube to watch him perform “All the Rowboats” with Regina Spektor on The Late Show.