“Tassignon’s singing is quite versatile … she exhibits horn-like melodic and rhythmic dexterity, while at other times her voice wanders through a labyrinthine maze of amorphous syllabic abstractions.”
This individuality, described here by Wilbur MacKenzie of All About Jazz, is what gives Belgian, Berlin-based vocalist Sophie Tassignon such a unique place in the world of modern jazz and creative music.
Over the past 20 years Sophie Tassignon has been composing and performing music with various projects ranging from jazz and avant-garde to electroacoustic music. She has released 10 CDs on a variety of record labels, including Clean Feed Records, A-jazz, Alone Blue Records, visionofsound, RareNoise and Jazzwerkstatt.
Her debut album Moon Talk, released in 2006 on Alone Blue Records, featuring her group ZOSHIA and eleven of her own compositions, was funded by the cultural department of the French Community of Belgium.
Sophie’s second CD Hufflignon, a collaborative project with Canadian saxophonist Peter Van Huffel, and with New York bassist Michael Bates and Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser, was released in 2008 on the renowned Portuguese label, Clean Feed Records – hailed by All About Jazz NY as one of the five most important jazz labels today. Hufflignon received critical acclaim by such publications as France’s Jazz Magazine in which the CD was listed as a CD d’émoi – one of their most prestigious monthly mentions.
Additionally, and in follow-up to the success of Hufflignon, Sophie and Peter Van Huffel formed a group consisting of musicians who have relocated to Berlin. British pianist Julie Sassoon and Canadian bassist Miles Perkin complete the new formation called HOUSE OF MIRRORS which recorded a full set of new music for their second collaborative recording, released on Jan. 31st, 2014 on Wismart records.
In 2009 Tassignon formed the electroacoustic duo CHARLOTTE AND MR. STONE with British artist Simon Vincent. The project involved the creation of sonic textures and compositions within a live context, gave numerous performances across Europe, and released two recordings on the British label visionofsound. In 2014 the duo performed at the SYNC.14, the International Festival of Electroacoustic Music in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and in 2017 presented a 6-part – 5-hour performance at Copenhagen’s Techfestival, examining the concept of ‘binary’ and the unrealised emancipatory potential of technology.
Since 2011 Sophie Tassignon has been developing a solo-vocal project, centred around through-composed works offering the potential for improvisation within given structures. In 2017 Tassignon was invited to give an experimental electroacoustic solo performance at the opening of an exhibit by German visual artist Margareta Hesse at the communal gallery ‘Historischer Keller’ in Berlin. The performance involved the experimentation of the influence of sonic textures within an environment intended to limit the visual scope of the public, with the only visible feature being red lasers projected throughout a number of rooms. In 2015 Sophie Tassignon was invited to the Visby International Centre for Composers (VICC) in Sweden to develop new material for her debut solo album, Mysteries Unfold, which was released on in May 2020 on London’s Label RareNoise Records and was highly received by the press.
Tassignon has also created music for and performed in a number of modern theatre productions by Polish director Elzbieta Bednarska, including Taghaus/Nachthaus 2009 (author: Olga Tokarczuk), Schneeweiß und Russenrot 2010 (author: Dorota Maslowska), Nacht 2011 (author: Andrzej Stasiuk), Stimmen Aus Tschernobyl 2017, 2018 (author: Svetlana Alexiejevich), Die Mauern Von Hebron 2018 (author: Andrzej Stasiuk), Unrast 2019 (author: Dorota Maslowska) in which Sophie’s electroacoustic voice techniques are also highly exhibited. She is currently composing new material for Bednarska’s next production based on the socialist era in the USSR depicted by authors as Svetlana Alexievich.
Since 2009, she has co-led the musical quartet AZOLIA with Songwriter/Saxophonist Susanne Folk. The group has released three CDs to date, given performances at numerous venues and festivals across Europe, and has toured twice through China under invitation of the German General Consulate of Chengdu with additional support from Initiative Musik. Their their third album Not About Heroes, which was generously supported by the Berlin Senate Administration for Culture and Europe, involves the works of British poet Wilfred Owen who died at the end of WW1. Tassignon and Folk composed music to ten poems by Wilfred Owen, which speak of the atrocities of war and its pointlessness. The album was released on January 30th, 2021 on Berlin Label Jazzwerkstatt.
Tassignon began her musical studies with classical piano at the age of four and furthered her musical development with percussion and singing. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Music from the Royal Conservatory in Brussels and participated in numerous workshops and masterclasses with renowned musicians such as David Linx, Sheila Jordan, Fee Claassen, and Tony Malaby amongst many others. In 2006 she participated in a three-week workshop in ‘Jazz & Creative Music’ at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada under the direction of trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas.
Sophie Tassignon currently resides in Berlin, Germany where she works as a full time musician, composer and classical piano instructor.