Hannes Liechti

photo: Jonathan Liechti, 2020



Hannes Liechti [*1987] lives in Bern, Switzerland, as a musicologist, curator, cultural producer, and music journalist. Since 2013, he is a member of the editorial board of Norient. He is active as a producing manager (Norient Musikfilm Festival, 1+1, Sonic Fiction) and as an editor-in-chief for the Norient Space. In 2015, he co-published the second Norient book: Seismographic Sounds: Visions of a New World, and co-curated the corresponding exhibition on global pop.

Liechti studied musicology and history at the University of Bern (CH) and the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich (D). He finished his studies in 2012 with a thesis on the world music scene in Bern («Eine Stadt voller Menschen, Kulturen und Klänge: Musik der Welt in Bern»). In this thesis he was exploring different musical styles and genres from all over the world which are played in Bern, and he approached a new definition of the controversial term «world music».

Since 2016 he is working on a doctoral thesis on creative strategies of sampling in experimental electronic popular music at the Bern University of Arts and the University of Bern. The PhD project asks what material is sampled, how it is manipulated, and, most of all, what kind of motivations and intentions lie behind the sampling of material with strong political or cultural connotations. The project aims to contribute a small part to a greater Ethnography of Sampling in (popular) music which still has to be written. The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF (project overview and series «Sampling Stories» on Norient). He is a member of the Graduate School of the Arts GSA, and he is part of the board of IASPM D-A-CH, the German-speaking branch of the international association for the study of popular music as the national representative for Switzerland.

For years, Liechti has worked as a freelance journalist. He has written articles (among others) for the magazine for culture Ensuite, the Swiss Music Revue SMZ, the daily newspaper «Der Bund», and the magazine for religion and society Aufbruch. He did some internships in Switzerland (reformiert.) and Germany (Donaukurier).

Liechti is leading the Theaterensemble Johannes. With this amateur theater ensemble consisting of children and young adults, he is co-producing well respected biennial plays in Swiss German on subjects around religion, church, and society with critical views on ideologies such as antisemitism and racism. Beyond, Liechti plays classical guitar and is part of the choir Vokalensemble Belcanto.


Academic Activities (Selection)

2018, September–December, University of Bern (CH), BA/MA Seminary «Pop – Power – Positions: Popmusik in einer postkolonialen Welt», lecturer.

2018, October 18-20, University of Bern/Bern University of the Arts (CH), Biennial Research Conference by IASPM D-A-CH «Pop – Power – Positions», organizing committee.

2017, July 14, TU Berlin (D), PhD Workshop: «Cut’n’Paste Culture – Sample-based Pop Music and its Analysis» feat. Bonaventure & Kabuki, organization and paper.

2016–… (ongoing), National Representative Switzerland for IASPM D-A-CH, german-speaking branch of the international association for the study of popular music.


Cultural Activities (Selection)

2019, October 27–November 10 [Direction]: Theaterensemble Johannes, «Exodus»: theater play

2018 [Project Management]: «Sonic Fiction – Concerts and Audiovisual Performances that Shape the Future»: a concert series at Schauspielhaus Zürich, curated by Norient and Rewire Festival (Den Haag, Netherlands).

2017, October 22–November 12 [Direction]: Theaterensemble Johannes, «Lied einer neuen Welt – Luther & Co. proben den Aufstand»: theater play to mark the 500th anniversary of Reformation.

2016–… (ongoing) [Project Management]: Norient Musikfilm Festival, editions in Bern, Lausanne and St. Gallen.

2016–… (ongoing) [Project Management]: Editor-in-chief Norient Online Magazine.

2015–2017 [Curation]: «Seismographic Sounds – Visions from a New World». An exibition by Norient, presented at Forum Schlossplatz Aarau (CH), Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie ZKM (D), CTM Festival Berlin (D), Castelgrande Bellinzona (CH), Base Milano (I), Kornhausforum Bern (CH).

2015–2016 [Project Management]: 1+1 – a recording project by Norient and Sound Development conducted in Cairo (Egypt), Honolulu (Hawaii/USA), Lome (Togo), and Zurich (Switzerland).

2015, October 11–November 8 [Curation and Direction]: Theaterensemble Johannes, «‹Da draussen bei den Heiden› – Szenen zu Mission, Rassismus und Sklaverei»: theater play and event series to mark the 200th anniversary of the Basel Mission.

2014, August 15–October 10 [Curation]: Norient @ K-eck-Kiosk Basel, invited by H3K, House of the Electronic Arts Basel.

2013, October 13–November 13 [Curation and Direction]: Theaterensemble Johannes, «Allen Gewalten zum Trotz – das Leben der Sophie Scholl»: play and event series around the German resistance fighter Sophie Scholl.

2012, November 24–December 2 [Curation]: event series to mark the international Korczak year 2012, proclaimed by the Polish government. Collaboration with the embassies of Israel and Poland in Switzerland.

2011, October 16–November 13 [Curation and Direction]: Theaterensemble Johannes, «Geranien im Ghetto. Janusz Korczak – ein Leben für Kinder»: play and event series around the Jewish-Polish pediatrist, educational reformist, and director of orphanages Janusz Korzcak.


Beyer, Theresa; Burkhalter, Thomas; Liechti, Hannes (Hg.): Seismographic Sounds – Visions of a New World, Bern: Norient Books 2015.

upcoming Brunner, Anja; Liechti, Hannes (Hg.): Pop–Power–Positions. Global Relations and Popular Music (~Vibes – The IASPM D-A-CH Series Vol. 1)


2019, October 19: «Ländler, Rap und Gangnam Style: Weltmusik im Wandel der Zeit», Zurich University of the Arts (CH), Expert-Day «Worldmusic 2.0»

2018, May 25: «Prinzipien des Samplings in der Forschung», Universität Wien Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Collegium Musicum Populare IASPM D-A-CH

2017, December 2: «Rattling Chains and Cackling Chickens. Non-Musical Sampling in Experimental Electronic Popular Music», Bern University of Arts HKB, Conference «The Future Sound of Pop»

2017, June 26: «Sampling Politics. Cultural Commentary Through Sampling in Experimental Electronic Pop Music», University of Kassel, 19. International Conference of IASPM

2016, October 22: «Remix von Orts-Referenzen im Global Pop. Ansätze einer multiperspektivischen Track-Analyse», Karl Franzens University Graz, 2. Conference of IASPM D-A-CH