A B O U T S I M O N
Simon Kiselicki (born 25th October 1974 in Skopje, Macedonia) is a Macedonian jazz pianist, composer and arranger. He is recognised as "one of the most influential personalities on the Macedonian jazz stage", and has performed all around Europe as a solo artist and in groups.
As a child, Simon's first acquaintance with music was through the drums, but later showed prevailing interest in the piano. He studied piano, theory and percussion for four years (1991-1994) at Ilija Nikolovski - Luj high school. In 1994 Simon began to study classical music and composition under the mentorship of PhD Goce Kolarovski, and in 1995 Simon's own composition, Suite for Piano, was performed by Marjana Nikolovska in Macedonian Radio Television (MRTV) for the festival Days of Macedonian Music (Denovi Na Makedonski Muzika).
In the meantime, whilst studying classical music, Kiselicki entered the jazz scene, immersing himself deeper into jazz music. He worked on jazz standards and performed at various clubs in Skopje, including the popular MCM Club, where he would have the unexpected opportunity to jam with trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Brian Lynch after they performed in the Skopje Jazz Festival. A year later, Simon began collaboration with the symphonic jazz rock band Klerzo, for which he played the keys, composed and arranged.
In 1997 he became the music manager at the Lady Blue jazz club in Skopje. During this time he played the piano in a quintet Night and Day, with Goce Micanov on the saxophone and Goce Dimitrovski on the trumpet. Here Simon would begin jazz composition. His first jazz compositions in the band were recorded for MRTV, produced by Ilija Peovski, and later applied to study jazz piano and harmony in Peovski's class. In the same year, Simon arranged, performed and composed with Ezgija Orchestra, an ethno-jazz project, alongside Leb i Sol's Bodan Arsovski, for the album Broken Beats. They performed at many concerts including EtnoFest Neum in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1998) and Kursumli An in Skopje.
In 1998 he composed and directed for the multi-media project B7, premiered at the Macedonian Culture Centre (MKC), which received a reward at the Theatre Festival for Alternative and Experimental Theatre (F.A.A.T) in Kocani for Visual Effects.
In 1999 Kiselicki moved to Croatia, where he performed at various venues and clubs, including the prestige Hard Jazz Cafe Troubadour in Dubrovnik, where musicians such as Paquito D'Riviera and Diego Urcola performed, and Zagreb's popular KSET club (He would perform at Troubadour every summer for almost ten years, becoming an important part of the growth of one of the world's most important jazz scene). In 2001 Simon toured Croatia with renound Ferus Mustafov (saxophonist) and Mihael Parushev (drums), performing at Uljanik in Pula, as well as Zagreb, Mochvar, Rijeka, Zadar, Makarska and Dubrovnik in this formation. In the same year Simon moved to Budapest, Hungary, during which he would begin composing for his future trio, Beneventan Trio, formed in 2002 when he returned to Skopje with Djole Maksimovski on electric bass and Dino Milosavljevic on drums. The trio performed concerts at events and venues including Ohrid's Dom na Kultura (Cultural House) and the Skopsko Leto Festival (Skopsko Summer Festival). From these concerts, the live album Beneventana was created. In 2003 the album was released by Skopje Jazz Festival Records, and a month later the Beneventan Trio performed at the popular and globally celebrated Skopje Jazz Festival, alongside artists including Petar Molvar and Erik Truffaz, where the trio's album was promoted. They also performed at the Kumanovo Jazz Festival alongside Jan Akkerman.
In 2004, the Simon Kiselicki Group was created, and intensive work began on Simon's album Levitation. Whilst he worked on the album, he toured the Balkans with the Beneventan Trio, and in 2007 returned to Dubrovnik and released the album. He performed and worked at the Glazba i Rec Festival in Cavtat, Croatia, a classical festival where he composed and performed the project Future Balkan Music for the flute, violin, bassoon and piano. He performed this project with musicians from the world class Knezev Dvor Orchestra. Parallel to the classical festival, Simon performed at the Petrovac Jazz Festival in Montenegro with the Simon Kiselicki Trio.
In 2009, Kiselicki composed and performed in La Colonie Volvox, a Macedonian avant-garde and jazz fusion group, and recorded two albums with them, Europa and East West And Rest. Europa was financed by the Macedonian Ministry of Culture, and the band was commissioned to play at the European Parliament (Brussels, Belgium). As the band toured Europe, totalling a 5500km journey, this inspired the following album East West and Rest. During this time Simon composed, conducted and arranged for orchestra for the biggest theatrical performance in Macedonia, Troilus and Cressida, which included 120 performers and was performed in front of 4,000 guests. Alongside this, he recorded his song Jamajla (from his unreleased album Jamajla) with the Simon Kiselicki Trio (with Aleksandar Ikonomov on the double bass and Aleksandar Sekulovski on the drums) in the album Jazz From Macedonia 2009 by Skopje Jazz Festival Records, an album which brought forth the main influences of Macedonian jazz. In 2010 the East West and Rest album was released.
Up until 2016, Simon toured the Balkans and Europe as a solo artist, with the Beneventan Trio and the Simon Kiselicki Trio. He performed at various concerts and festivals including the Sofija Live Club in 2011 (Bulgaria) with the Beneventan Trio, and the SOS Fest 2015 (Vojvodina, Serbia) with the Simon Kiselicki Trio.
Recently in November 2016, Kiselicki performed his solo concert Flow Now at Daut Pasin Amam, a historical monument of Macedonian culture. The repertoire was mostly improvised, which made the performance all the more spectacular. It is to be made into an AV production called Flow Now Live at Daut Pasin Amam. Simon then collaborated with DMA Music to re-release his previous albums (Levitation and Beneventan). In December he performed the Flow Now repertoire, but this time in his Simon Kiselicki Trio (Goran Geshovski on bass and Aleksandar Vanchovski 'Dziger' on drums) for the highly celebrated Twelve Moons of Jazz, a series of concerts presenting the finest of Macedonian jazz.
In April 2017 Kiselicki toured Italy (Milan, Genoa, Senigalia, Ventimiglia, Ancona) performing at venues such as the Count Basie Jazz Club in Genoa. In June he returned to Dubrovnik after ten years and performed at the Hard Jazz Cafe Troubadour and Cele Club located right on the Old Town's Stradun. Here he collaborated with colleagues including Maja Grgic (vocalist), Mihael Parushev (drummer) and Maja Savic (vocalist).
His tour continued through Europe for a year until he reached Spain in December 2017. Starting off in Barcelona, heading southward through Sitges, Simon arrived in Valencia and was highly celebrated in the Valencian music community. He performed at venues such as Estudio 21, where he and Nicol Jocic (vocalist) as a duo performed traditional Macedonian songs in jazz style. They also hit the Valencian scene big time with their performance at Funkadelia- the managers even bought a piano for Simon to play at their club. Simon stayed in Valencia for the following three months.
In May 2018 he had multiple concerts in Bulgaria at venues such as The Art Foundation (Sofia) and Bee Bop Cafe (Plovdiv), and also hit Kamarise in Bitola, Macedonia.
On the 20th September 2018 the 'secret' album Jamajla which was recorded in 2009 was finally released by Jazz Fortnight, and on the 29th September the Simon Kiselicki Trio performed and promoted the album at Javna Soba, Skopje. As well that that, in the same time Jamajla was recorded, Simon recorded the solo piano album 'Same No More', which was recently self released on the 7th January 2019.
Simon and his group are now continuing their performances across Europe and next year will be completing a festival tour. Keep an eye on Simon's website for relevant upcoming events and information, or follow Simon on Facebook.