Wacław Zimpel

Wacław Zimpel has risen to prominence as one of Poland’s most adventurous multi-instrumentalists, composers & producers following a love affair with jazz yet equally inspired by electronics, minimalism & global roots – a prolific collaborator, Zimpel blurs extreme boundaries as far as to eradicate them altogether in tirelessly seeking new musical languages.

Born and raised in Poznań, his earliest musical memories are of his father playing the piano, taking up the violin at the age of six and classical clarinet training. Riffing on his beloved rare alto clarinet, casting aside the frustrations of formal music lessons for a salvation in jazz & the burning desire to improvise led to a world-class mastery of other woodwinds including khaen (proto-harmonica; Laos). Expert manipulation of urban-ritual electronics and loops anchored to a human perspective and folk-trance tradition, Zimpel prioritises of depth & understanding whichever his chosen context.

Wacław Zimpel is performing at our second August Kiezsalon at Mahalla along with Thomas Ankersmit and Hüma Utku on Saturday (28.08).


1. Sound is related with time.

2. Rhythm is related with sound.

3. Music can heal.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

Believe that music can make people feel better.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I started my classical violin tuition when I was 6.
But before that I remember banging keys of piano which my father used to play.
I also recall one event when my mom brought toy sax when she picked me up from the kindergarten. I had to be 4 or 5 and till now I remember this amazing physical energy coming from vibration of the horn which I blowed hard first thing my mom gave it to me.
Later on when I was 14 I discovered blues. My father bought me a mouth harmonica and I sinked deep into the world of improvisation where I go deeper ever since.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

These are first 5 which came to my mind – “Journey in Satchidananda” by Alice Coltrane, “72 Melakartha Ragas Complete” by S Balachander, “Visions of the country” by Robbie Basho, “Shri Camel” by Terry Riley, ” Bach Goldberg The Variations” by Rosalyn Tureck. But there is so much more…

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

Great art.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

Secret beach on the Vistula river in the south of the town.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

I would invent music.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?

“Hildegard von Bingen – Canticles of Ecstasy” by Sequentia

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Terry Riley and Brian Eno.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

Angela Hewitt playing Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Klavier in Poznan in 2008.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

More and more. All my current projects are based on the relation between my acoustic instruments and electronics. I am still developing this kind of a hybrid of my alto clarinet and computer, constantly looking for unheard sound.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?

I have two sisters Jadwiga and Maria. I am really happy that they both like my music!
Maria is a contemporary dancer and we work together quite often. Jadwiga is culture scientist and lately she works with cultural aspect of sound. So we all a have a lot in common.

Photo © Helena Majewska