BORN in 1983 in Munich.
Projects as Bandleader
CHRISTIAN ELSÄSSER & NDR BIG BAND
CD-Production “Flying in Circles” (2014)
CHRISTIAN ELSÄSSER ORCHESTRA (2013 – Present)
CHRISTIAN ELSÄSSER & FRANKFURT RADIO BIG BAND (HR Big Band)
CD-Production “Rise & Arrive” (2013)
CHRISTIAN ELSÄSSER TRIO (1999 – Present)
CD-Productions “Seemingly” (2010, ECHO Jazz award-winner), “Rediscovering Peer Gynt” (2007), “Venice” (2002) and “Future Days” (2001).
Performances in Munich’s great concert halls, including the Prinzregententheater and the Philharmonie, Gasteig (both Live Broadcasts of Bavarian Broadcasting, BR) and festivals, including the Rheingau Musikfestival and the Klavier Festival Ruhr
Since 2008, Christian Elsässer has instructed composition and arrangement, music production, jazz piano as well as jazz ensemble at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich.
With Big Bands and Orchestras
as composer, arranger and director
WDR Big Band, NDR Big Band, Frankfurt Radio Big Band (HR Big Band), SWR Big Band, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra & Kurt Elling, Metropole Orchestra & Kurt Elling (Director: Vince Mendoza), Zurich Jazz Orchestra, Willy Astor’s Sound of Islands & Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Munich Radio Orchestra, Ganes & Filmorchester Babelsberg, Sunday Night Orchestra, Harald Rüschenbaum Jazz Orchestra, Blue Note Big Band, U.M.P.A. Jazz Orchestra.
With musicians and bands
Vince Mendoza, Kurt Elling, John Abercrombie, Adam Nussbaum, Pee Wee Ellis (December 2007: European Tour), Fred Wesley (and the new JB’s), Klaus Doldinger (Passport & 4tet), Willy Astor, Alphonze Mouzon, Nasheet Waits, Franco Ambrosetti, Johannes Enders, Bobby Shew, Don Menza, Claus Reichstaller, Johannes Faber, Biboul Darouiche, Martin Scales / Patrick Scales, Till Martin, Henning Sieverts, Jenny Evans, Harald Rüschenbaum, Gerry Hayes, Paulo Cardoso, and many others.
Elly Beinhorn – Alleinflug (ZDF, 2014), Obendrüber da schneit es (ZDF, 2012), Hotel Lux (cinema film, 2011), Die Unbedingten (HFF / cinema film, 2009), Von Haus zu Haus (HFF / cinema film, 2009), Mena (HFF / cinema film, 2008), Trixi der Film (Pro7, 2008), 37 Grad (ZDF, 2008), Marienhof (ARD, 2005-2008), Unsere wilde Meute (ZDF, 2007).
in France, Spain, Greece, England, Italy, Serbia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland and Austria.
Awards & Accolades
Nomination for the German Composer’s Prize
Category “Young Talent” (2013)
ECHO Jazz Award
Category “Instrumentalist of the Year’s National Pianists / Keyboardists” for Christian Elsässer’s album “Seemingly” (2012)
Scholarship for the Metropole Orchestra’s “Arranger’s Workshop”
with Vince Mendoza and Kurt Elling. Christian Elsässer was one of 8 participants chosen from 100 applicants from around the world. (2012)
NDR Big Band Arrangement-Competition – 1st Prize
Three-day studio production with the NDR Big Band. (2011)
Nomination for the German Composer’s Prize
Category “Young Talent” (2011)
Star of the Year
Münchner Abendzeitung (2010)
Hessian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Jazzpositions” Big Band Composition-Competition – 1st Prize
Monetary prize plus two-day studio production with the HR Big Band (2010)
“Gasteig Competition” – Winner (2005)
“Dieter Ulrich Music Advancement Award”
Münchner Werbespiegel (2004)
“Klavier Festival Ruhr” – Scholarship (2003)
2006 – 2008 Postgraduate Studies in classical composition under Wilfried Hiller at the Richard-Strauss-Konservatorium in Munich
2004 – 2006 Studies at the Richard-Strauss-Konservatorium in Munich; jazz piano under Prof. Leonid Chizhik, classical piano under Michael Leslie
1999 – 2004 Youth Studies at the Richard-Strauss-Konservatorium in Munich under Prof. Leonid Chizhik
1997 – 2001 Member of the Landes-Jugendjazzorchester Bayern, CD: “Together” (with compositions by Christian Elsässer, among others)
1991 – 1999 Private lessons in piano, music theory and composition under Peter Kütt
Ulrich Habersetzer, Bavarian Broadcasting, Juli 2014
Liner Notes for the Album „Flying in Circles“
Musical composition is a very personal matter, but also both a technical and a logical one. Should a composer find the balance between these two poles, music that captivates will emerge. Munich native pianist Christian Elsässer achieves this balance together with the NDR Bigband on the CD, Flying in Circles.
Everything is clearly worked out: compact figures, gripping melody-lines, stunning tutti-sounds and a finely interwoven tonal fabric. A music that is very precisely composed and arranged.
Despite this concentrated density, Elsässer’s music also possesses breadth. Time and again, he finds wind beneath his musical wings, which carries the music. Light flows through his compositions, and in turn, they sound light, free, wild and unbridled. He succeeds in composing simultaneously densely and airily, from the head and from the heart.
Christian Elsässer, born in 1983 in Munich, is an ECHO-Award winner, an acclaimed pianist Germany-wide, working actively in various musical realms as an arranger and conductor: he has cooperated with all German Radio Big Bands and he has explored beyond the boundaries of jazz in projects with the Munich Philharmonic, the Munich Radio Orchestra and the songwriter Willy Astor.
On the CD, Flying in Circles, the NDR Bigband cultivates an irresistible lure under the leadership of Jörg Achim Keller with the ensemble’s outstanding soloists, the American guest star, Adam Nussbaum, on drums and the album’s composer and pianist, Christian Elsässer.
Adam Nussbaum, Elsässer’s ideal candidate for this collaboration, drives the compositions forward while maintaining a laid-back energy. The human voice as a section-instrument, shimmering percussion-colors, flutes, clarinets, trumpets and trombones with various mutes, all further enrich the big band sound.
Music with density and breadth, music played with technical perfection and lifeblood — above all, music that captivates; such qualities constitute Christian Elsässer’s compositions for his CD, Flying in Circles.