Etienne Nillesen is a Cologne based performer, improviser and percussionist. He works internationally as a soloist, and in group and collaborative settings.

Mostly only using a single snare drum, he explores and pushes the limits of the natural acoustics of the instrument using conventional playing techniques as well as extended techniques, especially engaging with materials through horizontal movements and friction to explore their properties.

Being interested in phenomena like temporality, impermanence and minimalism, he creates sonic spaces that convey sincerity, balance, austerity and naturalness, authentically combining imagination, intuition and sensitivity. Etienne uses a minimal approach to the instrument with the maximum outcome of complexity in sound. These complex, detailed, and mostly subtle sonorities require a great deal of concentration for the performer as well as the listener, making the act of listening just as important as the production of the sounds.

He has been gathering international acclaim for his unique snare drum language.

His interest in different forms of music and art has given him the opportunity to work regularly with artists* such as Nate Wooley, Axel Dörner, Christian Wallumrød, Anne La Berge, Rudi Mahall, Carl Ludwig Hübsch, Eric Wubbels, Jeb Bishop, Michael Vorfeld, Katherine Young, Sebastian Gramss, Pascal Niggenkemper, Tomeka Reid, Ingar Zach, Sofia Jernberg, Nick Dunston, Kaja Draksler, Sam Pluta, Weston Olencki, Madison Greenstone, Rie Watanabe, Valentin Garvie, Cao Thanh Lan, Sarah Saviet, Ensemble Modern, as well as composers such as Elena Rykova, Viola Yip, Ruud Roelofsen and Zeynep Toraman, among others.

He is currently on the faculty of the ArtEZ University of the Arts where he teaches improvisation and drums.

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