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Gabriel Zufferey at Festival Pianos de Kinshasa [Kinshasa]

Festival Pianos de Kinshasa

Festival website

The Festival Pianos de Kinshasa is the first musical gathering in the Democratic Republic of Congo and on the continent dedicated to the instrument of the piano.  More than a music event, the festival reflects on the history of the piano in the DRC and on social issues related to Congo in general and the city of Kinshasa in particular.

Swiss pianist Gabriel Zufferey has been invited to participate in the third edition of the festival, which takes place from 1-7 October 2023 under the artistic direction of Congolese composer and visual artist David Shongo. Performances are staged in a range of locations throughout the city, including open-air terraces (the Nganda Pianos) and in various cultural venues. The unusual locations aim to provide novel experiences for the performers as well as open the festival to a wide and varied audience.

The theme for this year’s edition is “Intervals”, and features concerts by 14 professional pianists, as well as conferences and “Bilokos” workshops aimed at building knowledge and appreciation for piano music in DRC.

The concept of intervals in music refers to the distance between two notes, a distance that separates but can also be interpreted as a distance that connects two notes. This year’s theme explores the multiple interpretations of this musical concept in Congolese and global contexts. The theme opens up space for debate and avenues for musical creation examining distance and proximity through the lens of geographical, social, and artistic connections.


Gabriel Zufferey began studying music at the Conservatoire de la Place Neuve in Geneva as a child and continued learning jazz and improvised music at AMR. At twelve he starts playing concerts and receives the prize for the “most promising performer” by SACEM at the City of Paris’ Martial Solal jazz piano competition and the “jury’s special prize” at the solo piano competition of the Montreux Jazz Festival. As a youngster, he performs his own compositions and releases his first album “Après l’orage” in trio at nineteen. A few years later he releases “Hear & kNow” in quartet and “Contemplation”, recorded solo in an isolated mountain village. Alongside his activities as a concert pianist and composer, Gabriel is also involved in teaching and research. In his current musical projects, he continues to pay homage to the music of the great pianist Bill Evans. Gabriel reharmonises some of his pieces and dives ever deeper into this rich, intimate universe. The concerts he offers today reflect his attachment to this immense artist.

(Portrait: Michel Bertholet)