Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Schlicht, Ursel (Ursula)

Schlicht, Ursel (Ursula), piano, composer, educator, author;

Schlicht was classically trained as a child in Oldenburg, Germany. Trained on the recorder and then piano, she dropped those lessons at age 15 and began studying the music she was more attracted to--at first, folk and rock; later jazz and other forms of improvisation. Listening to Jethro Tull, she started to learn the flute, playing along with Ian Anderson's solos on the record. When she was 21, she attended a jazz workshop with pianist Ann Ballester and guitarist Mimi Lorenzini in southern France, then studied with Joanne Brackeen in New York. She has held a Music OMI artists' residency, and curated an international collaboration between eight musicians from the U.S., Germany, Eritrea, India, and Afghanistan as a part of Documenta, the world's largest avant-garde art exhibition in Kassel, Germany.

From 1992-99, Schlicht did freelance work as music instructor, musician and musicologist. In 1992, she attended Erstes Staatsexamen mit Auszeichnung (Teachers Degree Summa Cum Laude) at the University of Kassel; thesis on Stella by Starlight; From 1991-93, she was assistant director in the archive of Frau und Musik, Internationaler Arbeitskreis, the worlds largest archive of women in music (Kassel). She was responsible for the sound archive (archival database and acquisitions). From 1992-94, she was assistant teacher at the University of Kassel. From 1996-99, selected for a PhD scholarship from the University of Hamburg, Germany; received PhD in 1999. Her thesis was "It's Gotta Be Music First. An Analysis of the Impact, Perception and Working Situations of Women Jazz Instrumentalists."

She has held lectures in Kassel, Bremen, Hamburg and New York, including a concert lecture on women jazz instrumentalists. From 1990-93, she taught classes on Women in Music: The Living Conditions of Women in Music in the 18th and 19th Centuries, Women Composers in the 20th Century, Tendencies, The Life and Work of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Women in Music - Didactic Perspectives. She was curator of a lecture series with renowned German researchers (i.e. Beatrix Borchard) and composers (i.e.Ruth Zechlin).

As a performer, Ursula Schlicht established herself in New York performing Jazz and Improvised Music in 1994. Primarily focusing on different approaches to improvisation, she explores various jazz and jazz-derived styles as well as experimental forms of music. Her musical background includes contemporary composed music, minimal music, East African and Latin American styles on both piano and flute. She performed throughout Germany, in France, Russia, the United States and Mexico. She co-led the Ursel Schlicht-Tony Romano Group featuring Virginia Mayhew, which toured Germany featuring Virginia Mayhew. Headlined the Kassel Jazz Festival.

U.S. Performances have included the Texaco New York Jazz Festival featuring saxophonist Bob Mover (1998), and the Flint/Michigan Jazz Festival (August 1999) The duo "Statements" with guitarist Hans Tammen has collaborated since 1989. Featuring original Improvised Music and extended instrumental techniques. Tours in Europe, Russia and Mexico. Extended Statements Project with bassist Dominic Duval and percussionist Jay Rosen. In 1997 she toured Germany, and performed at the Documenta Art Festival. In 1998, she performed at the Texaco New York Jazz Festival.

She has collaborated in New York with Nurit Tilles, Annie Gosfield and Elaine Kaplinsky (pianists), Theo Bleckmann (vocals, electronics), Rosi Hertlein (vocals, violin), Jim Nolet (violin), Tomas Ullrich, Monica Wilson (cello), Zeena Parkins (harp), Bern Nix (guitar), Ted Trimble (bass), Ron Brown and Lou Grassi (drums). She was curator, producer and featured performer of the concert series Ex tempore. Improvisationen vor Ort zu Cassels Frauengeschichte (Improvised music at specific historical sites in the city, highlighting women's activities in history) at the worlds largest avant garde art show Documenta, Kassel/Germany 1997. For the Tadios Tesfu Group, she's musical director, pianist, flutist and arranger for the German-based band performing original songs with world beat influence, featuring East African vocalist Tadios Tesfu (Eritrea), Oud player Salaheldin Bakheit, percussionist Osama Miligi (Sudan) violinist Rahal Zoubir (Algeria), drummer Ron Brown (USA) and bassist Heiko Eulen (Germany). Ursel Schlicht's work has been supported by Meet the Composer, the Experimental Intermedia Foundation, Arts International, the Heinrich-Bll-Stiftung in Berlin/Germany, the City of Kassel/Germany, the Kulturstiftung der Kasseler Sparkasse and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York.

She has spent most of her time in the United States since 1995, initially with a doctoral fellowship from the Heinrich-Boll-Foundation, and received a green card in the summer of 2002. She taught at Rutgers University in the Fall of 2002 and Spring of 2003 as well as at Columbia and Ramapo Colleges.

Statements: Statements (1995); Ursel Schlicht/Tony Romano Quintet: Deadlines and Commitments (1998); Statements Quintet: The Cat's Pyjamas (1999)
As sideperson:
Member of the minimalist ensemble In Process (based in Kassel). CDs in 1989, 1992 and 1996;
Jazz Oder Nie: Voices (1994)

Women Cook - But Not in Kitchen. Frauen im Jazz. Eine kommentierte Bibliographie. (Women in Jazz - An Annotated Bibliography). Darmstadt 1994
Klang-Experimente.  Workshop Freirume durch Improvisation (Sound-Experiments. Reflections on my workshop Personal Development through Improvisation) in: Ortsvernderungen. Perspektiven weiblicher Partizipation und Raumaneignung. Knigstein / Taunus 1999
Jazzinstrumentalistinnen - Individualistinnen in einer marginalisierten Musik. Handlungsstrategien zur Gestaltung und Bewltigung ihres professionellen Alltags (Women Jazz Instrumentalists - Individualists in a Marginalized Music. Strategies to Design and Cope with Daily Life as Professional Musicians. (Part of a lecture series at the University of Hamburg in 1998/99). Hamburg 1999
PhD Thesis, "It's Gotta Be Music First: Zur Bedeutung, Rezeption und Arbeitssituation von  Jazzmusikerinnen" ("On the Impact, Perception and Working Situation of Women Jazz Musicians," now published by Coda, 2000)
About her:
88 Keys: An Opening To The World"(Werner Fritsch, HNA, 18.4.98)

Contact information:
Ursel Schlicht, Ph.D.
310 Clermont Ave #3, Brooklyn, NY 11205
Tel / Fax: 212-619-1529

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