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

The snare drum is a core part of Nillesen’s artistic practice. With an instrumental and physical approach, he explores and pushes the limits of the natural acoustics of the snare drum using conventional playing techniques as well as extended techniques and preparations. He has been gathering international acclaim for his idiosyncratic snare drum language.

His work involves elements of conceptual and spontaneous composition, structured improvisation, performance, and sound art. Alongside his own work, Etienne is a performer of contemporary music and works with composition, movement and snare drum in a number of interdisciplinary projects.

His interest in different forms of music and art has given him the opportunity to work regularly with artists* such as Rudi Mahall, Axel Dörner, Anne La Berge, Carl Ludwig Hübsch, Jeb Bishop, Michael Vorfeld, Katherine Young, Pascal Niggenkemper, Nate Wooley, Tomeka Reid, Elisabeth Coudoux, Sofia Jernberg, Kaja Draksler, Sam Pluta, Weston Olencki, Madison Greenstone, Rie Watanabe, Valentin Garvie, Cao Thanh Lan, Sarah Saviet, Ensemble Modern, as well as with 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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