Project Description


    Founded in 1968, the jazz department of the Konservatorium Wien University is one of the oldest in Europe and has gained a more important role in the jazz world through the leadership of Swiss tenor saxophonist, composer and arranger Roman Schwaller, who took over the department in December 2008.

    One of the specific features of this jazz department is the variety of ten different ensembles, each rehearsed and coached by one teacher for a whole academic year. As for the public perception, each ensemble that presents its music outside of the institution will be called „the“, this specifically one being the internal called „Modern Advanced Ensemble“ of head of department Roman Schwaller in the last academic year. The presents his original music throughout, that has been presented as „The Thurgovian Suite“ (2005) and „Further Expectations“ (2007), both being released on the renowned jazz label TCB – The Montreux Label and is based on a sextet formation with trumpet, tenor saxophone and trombone. Schwaller now has rearranged the tunes for the octet formation of the, even though as a coach and composer he is not performing with the band.

    The music could be called „modernstraight-ahead Jazz“ since it still contains basics of regular Modern Jazz, but the compositions and arrangements go much further afield containing unexpected extensions and expansions. Members of the ensemble are the two germany based musicians trumpet player Ritchie Köster and pianist Stephan Plecher, both from Bavaria; Martin Gasser on alto saxophone, who just recently finished his Bachelor studies; tenor saxophone player Damian Dalla Torre from South Tyrol and trombone player Lukas Heinzl, who, being age 21 is the youngest member. Guitarist Tobias Faulhammer is much more than just an addition to the rhythm section, even though still a student he will be releasing his first own CD under his name soon. Bassist Benjamin Zalud is the rock in the rhythm section, assisting drummer Peter Primus Frosch who is one of the most talented young jazz drummers in Europe and even beyond!

    Roman Schwaller, leader, teacher
    Head of Jazz Department; Leader of, Teacher
    Roman Schwaller was born January 18, 1957 in Frauenfeld, Switzerland. Famous german Jazz dictionary “Reclams Jazzführer” decribes him as “one of the most renowned representative of his instrument in Europe”. Schwaller has worked with musicians like Klaus Weiss, Dusko Goykovich, Joe Haider, Charly Antolini, Dizzy Gillespie, Carla Bley, Buster Williams, Art Farmer, Horace Parlan, Mal Waldron, Isla Eckinger, Fritz Pauer and Conte Candoli, just to mention a few. From 1979 to 1989 he was a member of the world famous Vienna Art Orchestra and from 1990 to 1993 first Tenorsaxophonist of the NDR Radio Big Band, Hamburg.
    Own projects like the “Three Generations of Tenorsaxophone” with Johnny Griffin and Sal Nistico (1985 & 1987), a sextet with Mel Lewis (1987), quartet with Jimmy Cobb (since 1996), Nonet (2001) and a new sextet with Adrian Mears and Derrick Gardner (since 2005) attracted worldwide attention. As one of the few Europeans and the first Swiss musician ever, he toured with the world famous Count Basie Orchestra under the leadership of Grover Mitchell in spring 1999. Schwaller is the initiator and musical director of the “generations – International Jazzmeeting Frauenfeld”. His works were honoured with several cultural awards as from the town of Munich, Germany (1985), the Munich based “Abendzeitung” (1987), the Canton of Thurgau, Switzerland (1990) and his home town Frauenfeld (1999). Schwaller lives in Vienna, Austria and has recorded more than 64 LPs and CDs.


    Benjamin Zalud, double bass
    Benjamin Zalud was born 1988.
    Since the day he walks he´s playing drums and at the age of 6 he got his first electric bass lessons. With 16 years he started playing double bass. Since 2010 he´s studing at the Konservatorium Wien City of Vienna University and really enjoys lessons with his teacher and Senai Harald Putz.
    Benjamin played and still plays in many different bands and constillations. With 9 years he had his first band. Since then he plays styles from Rock to Blues to Pop, a little bit of Classical music, straight Punk and Hardcore music where he also plays guitar, and of course a lot of Jazz music since 2010.


    Damian Daila Torre, tenor saxophone
    Damian was born in 1989 in northern Italy.
    He started playing the Saxophone at the age of 10 and soon realized, that he wanted to be a Jazz-Saxophonist.  During the following years, he took lessons with several namable teachers in Italy, Austria and Germany, such as Helga Plankensteiner, Michael Lösch, Roman Hinteregger and Tom Reinbrecht.
    In 2009 he got accepted at the “Konservatorium Wien” in Vienna and studied with Andy Middleton, Thomas Huber and Roman Schwaller. During his studies he had the chance to attend workshops and projects with Eric Alexander, Johannes Enders , Bert Joris, Adrian Mears, Jimmy Cobb etc. In 2013 he finished his Bachelor of Arts cum Laude and will be starting his Master Studies in 2014.
    Damian is a Vienna-based Saxophonist playing in different Bands in Austria and Italy, touring through whole Europe, covering Genres from Jazz to Popular Music.


    Lukas Heinzl, trombone
    Lukas Heinzl was born 1992 in Horn (Austria) into a musical family.
    At the age of 6, he had vocal and recorder lessons. When he turned 9, he decided for the Euphonium. Soon, he played in local brass bands and the renowned Symphonic Brass Orchestra Retz. At the age of 14, he won the 1st price at “Prima La Musica” of Lower Austria. From 14 to the present, his principal instrument became the tenor trombone. At the age of 16, he won the soloist price at “Podium.Jazz.Pop.Rock”. His most important teachers have been Otmar Gaiswinkler (VSO) and Erik Hainzl (NTO). He gained orchestral experience with the Lower Austrian Youth Symphony Orchestra. As a lead trombonist, he played with The Project Big Band Krems and the renowned
    Furthermore, he gained musical experience with: Phil Wilson, Roman Schwaller, Mario Gonzi, Arnoldo Moreno, Thomas Gansch, Andy Middleton. In January 2013, he started his ethno-jazz quartet “The Birth Quartet”.


    Martin Gasser, alto saxophone
    Born 1990 in Villach, Austria.
    Currently based in Vienna, Austria. Martin Gasser was born in Villach, Carinthia and grew up in the south of Austria. Martin started playing the saxophone at the age of 10. After a few years of classical education he started playing Jazz, once he heard his first Charlie Parker recording. Martin was awarded the scholarship for gifted young musicians Carinthia twice, and participated successfully at many local Youth-Music-Competitions like “Prima-La-Musica” or “Musik in kleinen Gruppen” playing solo and in saxophone quartets.
    He studied at the Carinthian State Conservatorium in Klagenfurt from 2006-2009 in the class of Michael Erian, Prof. while finishing high school. From 2009-2011 Martin studied at the Vienna Conservatory Private University in the class of Thomas Huber. Since 2011 his studies continue in the class of Andy Middleton, graduating 2013. In February 2012 he won the audience prize of the “Fidelio-Competition” with his performing art project “Electric Echo – In & out of order” using alto-sax and EWI (electric wind instrument).
    Martin also plays those two instruments on his debut CD “Laubwald” with the “Modern-Shape Quartet”. Martin was member of the “European Jazz Orchestra 2012” and of the “World Jazz Orchestra 2013”. He participated in the IASJ-Meeting 2012 in Graz and the “Generations-Festival” in Frauenfeld, Switzerland . He performed as a sideman with Roman Schwaller, Daniel Nösig, Michael Erian, Rob Bargard, Christoph Chech, and many others.


    Peter Primus Frosch, drums
    Peter Primus Frosch born on the 11.12.1990 I started playing drums at age 5.
    From 1998 until 2009 I had music lessons with Bernd Rommel and Johannes Bohun at the local music school in Heidenreichstein. Since Fall 2010 I’m studying Jazz drums at Konservatorium Wien City of Vienna University with Mario Gonzi. In 2012 I participated in the “Fidelio Competition” with one of my projects “Electric Echo – In And Out Of Order”. We made it to the finals and won the Audience Award.
    I also received a “most promising award” by “Marianne Mendt Jazznachwuchsförderung” and won the “New faces of Slovak Jazz” with Lukas Oravec Quartet last year. I was a participant of last years Generations Masterclass workshop in Frauenfeld/CH and had the opportunity to study with Louis Hayes, David Hazletine, Peter Washington and Adrian Mears. This summer I will also participate in the IASJ meeting in Aarhus/DK as a representative of my university. played with: Roman Schwaller, Clemens Salesny, Jure Pukl, Daniel Nösig, Oliver Kent, Franz Hautzinger, Raphael Preuschl, Peter Rom, Lukas Oravec, Uli Langthaler, Stefan Pista Bartus etc.


    Richard Köster, trumpet
    Richard Köster was born in 1991 in Germany.
    He started his education on the trumpet at the age of 10. During the following years he took lessons with several well-known and respected jazz musicians from all over Germany and Austria and became a member of the Bavarian Youth Jazz Orchestra.
    In 2011 he was accepted at the Konservatorium Wien in Vienna where he is now studying Jazz Trumpet with Jörg Engels. He is part of several very different projects and bands in Germany and Austria, covering a wide variety of Jazz and Popular Music.


    Stephan Plecher, piano
    Stephan Plecher, born September 9, 1990 in Cham (Germany).
    Classical piano lessons from 1995 to 2010 Starting to get involved first with blues and boogie-woogie, later with jazz music at about the age of 13. Lessons with several jazz piano teachers (a.o. Rob Bargad, Richie Beirach) Member of the Bavarian Youth Jazz Orchestra (led by Harald Rüschenbaum) since the age of 15; workshops and concerts with a.o. Don Menza, Claudio Roditi, Jay Ashby 1st price at the Bavarian Youth competition „Jugend Jazzt“, category jazz piano (2006) 1st price at the Bavarian Youth competition „Jugend Jazzt“, category ensemble (2008) with his band „Station 5“ Awardee at the international band competition „Startbahn Jazz“ in Straubing (GER) (2010) From 2007 to 2010: extraordinary jazz piano studies at Musikhochschule Nürnberg (GER) with Prof. Martin Schrack Since 2011: jazz piano studies at Konservatorium Wien Privatuniversität (Vienna, AUT) with Aaron Wonesch Since 2012: jazz-composition and -arrangement studies (same place) with Andy Middleton 2012: Selected Participant at the 22nd annual meeting of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ, artistic director Dave Liebman).


    Tobias Faulhammer, guitar
    Tobias is currently studying Jazzguitar with Claus Spechtl at the Konservatorium Wien Privatuniversität in Vienna,2011 he’s been working with the “” lead by Roman Schwaller (Head of the Jazzdepartmend at Konservatorium Wien), Markus Stockhausen and Mathias Rüegg (Founder and Leader of the Vienna Art Orchestra).
    Since January 2012 he plays Lead Guitar with the Austrian Rockband “The Routes”, who won the “Youth Award 2013” in Burgendland, Austria, for participation in the 1. Austrian “Jailhousetour”. Starting in 2012, he’s now leading his own Trio, the “Tobias Faulhammer Trio” (Debut CD-Recording in February 2013, planned to release in Summer/Fall 2013),and also participates in concerts with various Bands in Porgy&Bess Wien, Konzerthaus Wien and many other locations in Vienna and the rest of Austria.

    Konservatorium Wien University, Austria
    Vienna is often viewed as the world’s musical capital – but the city is, in fact, home to an exceptionally rich spectrum of activity across all cultural fields. No wonder, then, that Konservatorium Wien University can offer world class training programmes for instrumentalists, singers, dancers and actors. Every year, around 850 young people from more than 50 countries study with about 250 renowned artists and teachers. The courses of study at Konservatorium Wien University offer an opportunity to attain highly qualified artistic and/or music teaching credentials. They form the basis for independent artistic and/or teaching activities, and through the critical examination of artistic, didactic and academic issues contribute to research in and performance of the arts. The central location of our main facility and its geographical proximity to important cultural institutions – such as the Musikverein, the Konzerthaus, the Vienna State Opera and the Theater an der Wien – facilitates professional and academic exchange and cooperation.