Hervé Provini

Biography by

Swiss drummer Hervé Provini allies the power of rock with the finesse and creativity of free improv, much like his main influences Tony Williams and Ronald Shannon Jackson. He is best known for a trilogy…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Swiss drummer Hervé Provini allies the power of rock with the finesse and creativity of free improv, much like his main influences Tony Williams and Ronald Shannon Jackson. He is best known for a trilogy of albums recorded in the late-'90s and early 2000s on which he turned the tables on the man-machine relationship. On Biological and Chaotic Music, Musique Nucléaire, and Musique Amoureuse he duels with a piano piloted by a computer he programmed to surprise him.

Provini was born in 1963. He grew up with the 1970s, listening to hard rock, prog rock, and the jazz-rock explosion. Fascinated by the drums since his early childhood, he started to play as a teen. After attempting studies in engineering and architecture (where he picked up his first notions in computer programming), he turned to music. He attended the Geneva Conservatoire Populaire de Musique, where he studied in Rainer Boesch's acousmatic class. Since then he has split his musical activities between electroacoustic composition (mostly in music for theatre and dance) and acoustic improvisation on the Swiss jazz scene. He has worked with Sylvie Courvoisier, Hans Köch, Michel Godard, Vinz Vonlanthen, Stephan Wittwer, and Elliott Sharp, and has recorded with Bertrand Gallaz's Bare Bones Power Trio, Maurice Magnoni, and Jacques Demierre.

Being a drummer, he approached the use of programming in music from a different perspective: keeping the rhythm "human," trying to program the rest. In the mid-'90s, the piano was the only acoustic that could be controlled by a computer (thanks to Yamaha's Disklavier). Provini developed a series of programs to make the computer generate musical material out of non-musical input -- he used genetic and chaotic algorithms, also the mathematical analysis of the playing style of Jacques Demierre (in Musique Nucléaire). Three solo albums came out of this working method, all released by Unit between 1999 and 2002. Provini teaches music at the EPI in Geneva.