Urs Bollhalder was born on May 28 1981, in St. Gallen, Switzerland. He played the trumpet first and was, at the age of 16, the youngest member of the Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra. Before that he had already played a vast amount of concerts inside and outside of Switzerland and had written several commissioned compositions for Big Bands and Choirs.
During his collaboration as a trumpet player with the Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra, where he played with guest soloists like Randy Brecker, Bob Berg and Franco Ambrosetti, his fascination for the piano grew steadily. Urs had already received piano lessons for several years, and he finallly decided to dedicate himself entirely to becoming a pianist.
Urs Bollhalder studied at the jazz department of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Among his teachers and mentors were a.o. Jean Paul Brodbeck, Elena Szirmai, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Hans Feigenwinter, Chris Wiesendanger and Christof Stiefel.
In Switzerland and South Africa he attended masterclasses by Abdullah Ibrahim and took composition lessons with Django Bates in London and Diderik Wagenaar in The Hague.
In 2006 he formed his own trio with Raffaele Bossard on double bass and Christoph Müller on drums and in June graduated from the jazz department of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts with highest marks and distinction. He is a Laureate of the Friedl-Wald Foundation 2005 as well as the Ida & Albert Flersheim Foundation 2006. The head of the Jury and internationally renowned Irish bass player Ronan Guilfoyle wrote about this young musician:
„More people are playing jazz and improvised music than ever before, but special musicians are as rare as ever. Urs is one of those special musicians, both as a player and composer. He has the kind of creative spark, technique, originality and love of music that we need more than ever in the music and the wider world in general"
The Urs Bollhalder Trio was invited to perform at the Jazz Festival Berne in 2006 and was selected to perform in March 2008 at the 12Points! Festival of New European Jazz in Dublin, Ireland. A festival that showcases a selection of bands out of the young and vibrating European jazz scene every year.
In March 2010 the trios debut album called The Portkey will be released on the prestigious Italian record label CAM Jazz who produces artists like Kenny Wheeler, Enrico Pieranunzi, John Taylor and Enrico Rava a.o. Under their series CAM Jazz presents they feature young upcoming jazz groups from all over Europe.
In January and February 2011 the Urs Bollhalder Trio will be part of a festival that presents young and contemporary Swiss Jazz: Suisse Diagonales.
Together with Heiri Känzig, Matthieu Michel, Michael Zisman and Lionel Friedli he can be heard with the Heiri Känzig Quintet. In 2009 the quintet‘s first album Buenos Aires has been released on the German record label Neuklang. The recording has been praised highly in the press in Switzerland and in Germany.