Schuler Denis

(03. 09. 1970)

Schuler Denis
Schuler Denis
Rue des Grottes 28
CH-1201 Genève

Mobile: + 41 (0)76 330 78 85

Born in Geneva, Denis Schuler went on to study composition with Nicolas Bolens, Eric Gaudibert and Michael Jarrell. In 2005, he was awarded the Patiño Foundation scholarship, which enabled him to study at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, under the direction of Emanuel Nunes (CNSMDP). In 2006 he graduated with honours after composing a concerto for percussion trio and orchestra. He was the first Swiss to be awarded the first prize at the International Composition Competition of Sacred Music, Fribourg, in 2008.
His compositions were commissioned and created by the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève and ensembles such as the Tetraflûtes, Nederland Kamerkoor, Le Concert Impromptu, Quatuor Bela, Ilôrkestra and Vortex. He was awarded many prizes and received the support of the Association Suisse des Musiciens, the Henneberger-Mercier Foundation, the Nicati-de Luze Foundation, the Patiño Foundation, the Suisa Foundation, the Fonds Culturel de l'Office Fédéral de la Culture, the Loterie Romande and the City of Geneva.
In addition, he performs as actual musics drummer and percussionist. He accompanied the Fantazio Gang (Paris) and The Dead Brothers (until 2003), and played experimental music.
He also created numerous musical compositions for the theatre (the Schauspielhaus Zurich, the Tojo Bern, the Théâtre de Carouge, the Théâtre du Grütli Geneva) and composes for TV documentary (The game of death, broadcasted in march 2010 on the French TV France 2).
He functions as artistic director and programmer for the Fondation Suisse – Pavillon Le Corbusier in Paris and the Festival Eternal Tour.
In 2010-2011, he will be member in the Swiss Institute of Roma.

Work list
Chant du retour (2001)
for vocal quartet, clarinet and marimba
Texts: Sophocle
Duration: 8' 00"
Composition sans titre (2001)
for any ten instruments
Duration: 9' 00"
Quelque chose (2002)
Acousmatic piece
Duration: 2' 30"
Quatre chants des dieux (2002)
for four voices, accordion, trumpet and drum kit
Duration: 5' 00"
Cinq petites pièces (2003)
for ensemble (sax(2), tpt, tbn, tba, hp, pf, perc (drums + mar), db)
Duration: 8' 00"
Mouvements (2004)
for wind quintet
Duration: 7' 30"
Suspension (2004)
for alto solo
Duration: 6' 00"
Etude pour quatuor à cordes (etude for string quartet) (2004)
Duration: 8' 00"
Composition I: diffraction (2005)
for orchestra (
Duration: 6' 00"
Ecarts (2005)
for oboe, baritone and bass clarinet
Duration: 10' 00"
Jouer la mort (2006)
for oboe, guitar and double bass
This composition is inspired by Ingemar Bergman's movie "The Seventh Seal" (1957) where a medieval knight, coming back from a crusade, faces the personification of death in a game of chess.
The film, the traces it left, the questions and reflections it raises becomes the ground upon which this work was constructed.
The seven parts forming this piece can be seen as distinct states, enlightening a certain situation without aiming to produce the effect of an actual development. Their interconnection is an odyssey, a search for an inaccessible destination with an inevitable finality.
Like an impossibility, death is symbolised by the note b-natural but is never to be encountered within the seven parts. It is approached but never heard; is forgotten but returns - until it is finally played by the guitar in the ritardando of a shrill glissando. The double bass, though an extreme opposite, continues downwards beyond its lowest note before turning into pure vibration and finally dying away.
Duration: 14' 00"
Paradeigma (2006)
for percussion (3) solo and orchestra (
Duration: 16' 00"
Round (2006)
for seven snare drums
Duration: 20' 00"
Le récit du monde (2007)
for voice, bass clarinet, flute, electric guitar, percussion and speaker
Texts: Michel Thion
Duration: 50' 00"
Oscura luce (2007)
for a-capella choir
Texts: Dante Alighieri
"Oscura luce" expresses the idea of passage: a movement guiding us from hell's vestibule to the eternal light, to paradisiacal beatitude. The work is based on three short text extracts taken from individual canto's of the three sections of Dante's Divine Comedy (Hell, Purgatory, Paradise).
The compositional approach is based on the alternation within a simple cell - a tremolo of a quartertone and its "resolution" - a held note. The whole piece develops from the alternation and mixture of these two states: excitement and static. The commitments arising from a score with four non-divided voices led to a reflection upon possible harmonic and melodic relations and became the source of the musical discourse of the piece. In relation to the duality movement/rest stands a relative simple development starting from a unisono in D flat to one in F natural and finally a third in H natural. The melodic and harmonic development produces from one point to the next a series of traces and ways where the spoken word de-constructs itself into the repetition of phonemes in order to reconstruct itself and become formal.
Canto III, 1-9
"Per me si va ne la città dolente,
per me si va ne l'etterno dolore,
pere me si va tra la perduta gente.
Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore ;
Fecemi la divina podestate,
La somma sapïenza e 'l primo amore.
Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
Se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate."
Duration: 12' 30"
Etude pour quatuor à cordes (2007)
for singing, voice (2), bass clarinet, trumpet, violin, violoncello, percussion and piano
Texts: Helga M. Novak
Duration: 6' 00"
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L'Immobilité (2007)
for flute quartet
Duration: 12' 00"
Teh (2008)
for voice, oboe, violin, double bass, guitar and percussion
Teh stands as an onomatopoeia, a tag or the initial phoneme of the word theory like in Theory of the Young Girl (Premiers matériaux pour une théorie de la jeune fille, Tiqqun, Edition Mille et une nuits, 2001). It is a piece of a word appearing and disappearing in voice, song, breath and respiration. A slowly dissolving aspirated h. A gliding. A representation of our capacity to contest an existing order. Appropriation and re-appropriation of spaces of freedom. Monitoring of silence. A proposition an objection or an answer " [...] and finally the debacle of the impossibility to return beyond time ".

The music of Teh evolves in a discontinued manner and explores the limits of sound with pianissimo tuttis, moments of silence and explosions. Nevertheless, the musical material creates in this somewhat scattered context a stylistic and formal unity where the voice is not so much located as a soloist but as an instrumentalist. The complex sounds used in this piece scrambles the possibilities of understanding the text and encourages a personal way of listening.
Duration: 10' 00"
Haiku11 (2009)
for string quartet and improvisator
Haiku11 is a piece which brings a string quartet together with an improvisator. A free musical discourse evolves between the written string parts and a series of short Japanese poems by Ryokân (1758-1831).
where to doze off
in this drunken state
the lotus flower
Duration: 12' 00"
In-between (2010)
for orchestra (
"In-between" is an undefined situation or potential place. This "in between" is defined as a more or less stable space, a physical, mental, geographical or temporal distance. It is an expansion without anchoring, a theatre of tension, a possibility for relaxation.
The music appears as respiration. Sounds develop, fade and disappear. The movement of a scale emerges, oscillating between two notes and two instrumental groups. Fixed in the middle of the stage, a string quartet exchanges some sequences with the orchestra and produces looping effects, sound extensions or muffling. Inside the accelerating breath new elements evolve, arrange themselves, clash together, create cascades and stop in resonance.
The listener is invited to inhabit this "in between" and to bring it to life through curious listening. By receiving acoustic images and by assembling silences and vibrating notes, the ear will make an unexpected journey.
Duration: 10' 00"
Sept secondes arrêtées (2010)
for percussion solo
Duration: 11' 00"
Sotto Ceneri No. 1 (2010)
for oboe solo
Duration: 6' 00"
Lune bleu (2013)
for viola solo
Duration: 10' 00"

Duration: 8' 00"