Born 1961 in Nuremberg, she studied the visual arts, which still have an important influence on her music. Since moving to Hamburg in 1982 she has been involved in free improvisation and experimental music. Since then she has “established a distinguished grammar of sounds beyond the open trumpet” (jazzdimensions.de). She works mainly on extending the sounding possiblities of the trumpet by using splitting sounds, multiphonics and granular sounds and has developed her own extended techniques and preparations for producing these sounds. Besides this material research she is especially interested in the relation between sound and silence.
Since 2006 Birgit Ulher works with radios and uses extended speakers, fed with radio noise in her trumpet mutes. The trumpet functions as an acoustic chamber and modulates the radio noise, thus the trumpet is transmitter and receiver at the same time. Her work with radio is documented on the CD 'Radio Silence No More', released 2007 on Olof Bright.
The same concept is the basis of the duo with Gregory Büttner, where Büttner plays his sound contributions via a laptop with an output to a small speaker which Ulher uses a s trumpet mute.Their first CD 'Tehricks' based on this concept was released 2009.
She performs solo, with dancers, working ensembles, and one-time collaborations with musicians from around the world.
She has been organising the festival of improvised music Real Time Music Meeting for over ten years.
Music performances in Europe, USA, South America, Russia and the Middle East, together with UNSK (Birgit Ulher / Martin Küchen / Lise-Lott Norelius / Raymond Strid), the Trio PUT (with Ulrich Phillipp and Roger Turner), Nordzucker (with Lars Scherzberg and Michael Maierhof), Heiner Metzger, Martin Klapper, Tim Hodgkinson, Dorothea Schürch, Rhodri Davies, Robyn Schulkowsky, Michael Zerang, Damon Smith, Lou Mallozzi, Gino Robair, Ute Wassermann, Albert Márkos, Sven Ake Johansson, Gene Coleman, Ernesto Rodrigues, Heddy Boubaker, Tim Perkis, Bryan Eubanks, Ariel Shibolet, Christoph Schiller and Sean Meehan, Forbes Graham, Leonel Kaplan, Gregory Büttner, Lucio Capece, Eric Leonardson and Bill Hsu.
Lectures/Workshops at Queen's University of Belfast, Haifa University, SAIC - School of The Art Institut of Chicago, Hochschule für Musik Basel, Workshop Area Sismica in Forlí, Italy, Workshop Anáhuac 33, Mexico City, Workshop Galeria Mérida, Mérida Mexico and Certain Sundays, Berlin.
Residencies at AIR Krems, Austria 2017, ArtInRealeases - GIS Studio - AIR Mexico 2016, Mexico City, Künstlerhaus Lukas, Ahrenshoop 2015, QO-2 werkplaats, Brüssel, 2010, Casa Zia Lina, Elba, Italy, Foundation Thyll-Dürr, 2001 and 2003, Boswil, MKS, Switzerland, 1994
No Idea Festival, 2018, Austin, Texas
katarakt festival, 2018, with Tritop, Hamburg
Konfrontationen, 2017, Nickelsdorf, Austria
No Idea CDMX, 2017, Mexico
katarakt festival, 2017, with Radio Tweets, Hamburg
Colour out of Space, 2016, Brighton , UK
3nd Anniversary Umbral, 2016, Mexico City and Oaxaca
Mesto žensk Festival, 2016, Ljubljana
Festival Internacional de la Cultura Maya, 2015, Mérida, Yucatan
2nd Anniversary Umbral, 2015, Mexico City and Oaxaca
concepts of doing, 2015, Berlin
katarakt festival, 2015, Hamburg
EUPHORIUM Mini-Festival, 2014, Leipzig
High Zero Festival, 2013, Baltimore, highzero.org
Sonic Circuits Festival, 2013, Washington D.C., dc-soniccircuits.org
Altera Festival, 2013, Naples, Italy
katarakt festival, 2013, with Stark Bewölkt Quartett, Hamburg
Tsonami, 2012, Valparaiso, Chile
Perspectives Festival, 2012, Västeras, Sweden
blurred edges festival, 2012, Hamburg
Teni Zvuka Festival, 2012, St. Petersburg
katarakt festival, 2011, with Nordzucker, Hamburg
Blow Up, 2010, Oslo
Festival Musiques Innovatrices, 2010, St. Etienne, musiquinno.fr
Seattle Improvised Music Festival, 2010, seattleimprovisedmusic.com
Densités Festival, 2009, Wesnes-en-Woevre, vudunoeuf.asso.fr
Edgetone New Music Summit, 2008, San Francisco
Soundfield Festival, 2007, Philadelphia
FONT Festival of New Trumpet Music, 2007, New York
Kaleidophon Ulrichsberg, 2007, Austria, jazzatelier.at
Festival für improvisierte und komponierte zeitgenössische Musik, 2006, Basel
Ausklangfestival, 2006, Hörbar Hamburg
On the Outside Festival, 2006, Newcastle with Daniel Carter, Roy Campbell, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Gail Brand, Pat Thomas and Gerry Hemingway amonst others. ontheoutsidefestival.co.uk
blurred edges, 2006, Hamburg, blurrededges.de
i and e Festival, 2006, Dublin, i-and-e.org
High Zero Festival, 2005, Baltimore, Maryland, highzero.org
Plain Music Festival, 2005, Warsaw
Suoni e Sound, 2002, Elba
Festival Unerhört, 2001, Wendland
Jazzwoche Hannover, 2000
Szünetjel Festival, 1999, Budapest (Tim Hodgkinson, Albert Márkos, Johannes Bauer, John Edwards, Rhodri Davies, Dieter Ulrich, Söres Zsolt)
LEM Festival, 1999, Barcelona
Warsaw Autumn, 1998, International Festival of Contemporary Music
European Improvisation Orchestra (with Tim Hodgkinson, Albert Márkos, Martin Klapper, Krzysztof Knittel, Raymond Strid, amongst others) Radio- and TV broadcast
Konstanzer Jazzherbst 1995 und 2001
HumanNoise Congress 1995, Wiesbaden
Jazzfestival Schaffhausen 1995
Rote Fabrik, Zürich 65 (Dorothea Schürch, Marianne Schuppe, Hannah E. Hänni, Co Streiff, Birgit Ulher, Stevie Wishart, Claudia Ulla Binder, Robyn Schulkowsky), Radiobroadcast DRS
Canaille Festival 1992, Frankfurt