Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Dell, Christopher (Renatus)
While he was an infant his family moved to Ranchi, India, and then, five years later, to Heidelberg, Germany, (his parents divorced there in 1974). In 1974 his father and one brother and one sister (Nicolas, b. 1969; Eva-Maria, b. 1968) moved to Darmstadt, where they remained. Dell had piano lessons from about age 6, quit soon and then taught himself. From the age of 11 he had drum lessons, becoming dedicated to jazz from about the age of 15, and eventually obtaining one year of lessons in theory and harmony at the Academy of Music, Darmstadt.
From 1985-86 he studied Jazz at the Conservatorium Hilversum, from 1986-88 at the Conservatorium Rotterdam and in he received a scholarship at the Berklee School of Music, Boston and studied there from 1988-90 (among others with Gary Burton, Herb Pomeroy, Hal Crook). There, he also played in a combo class led by Herb Pomeroy and began performing gigs on campus. In 1990 he received the Diploma Magna Cum Laude and moves back to Darmstadt, Germany.From 1993-94 he studies composition with Prof. Dr. Engelmann and in 1996 composition masterclasses with Stockhausen, Rihm, Lindberg Diploma Magna Cum Laude (Berklee).
He has played at many festivals including ones in Frankfurt, Port Townsend, Hungary, Vancouver (1999), Montreal (1999), Madagaskar (1999), Knitting Factory, New York, (2001), Peoples Republic of China, (2002), Jazzkaar Tallin, Estland, (2002) and other tours through Europe, U.S.A., Japan, Africa, India and China. Dell founded and led the improvisation studio program at The Akademie fur Tonkunst, Darmstadt from 1992 until 2000.
He is very active as a vibraphonist, and, increasingly, as a composer. He has performed in a variety of styles, with Bob Brookmeyer, Lee Konitz, Art Farmer, Kenny Wheeler, Michel Godard, Benny Golson, Jazzensemble des HR, Albert Mangelsdorf, Cristof Lauer, Charlie Mariano, Barry Altschul, NDR Big Band, WDR Big Band, Lalo Shifrin, Katja & Marielle Labeque, Peter Erskine, John Riley, Bill Dobbins, Theo Jorgensmann and others.
He has spoken and performed at the universities of Wuppertal, Berlin, D.armstadt, Aachen. In 2002 he presented his book "Prinzip Improvisation," a study on the philosophy of improvisation at the world famous art exhibition"documenta 11." It was published by the artbookpublisher Waltehr Konig, Cologne.
Bujazzo No. 1 (1988); Where We Belong (1992);' Other Voices, Other Rooms (1995); Dancers on a Plane (1997); Christopher Dell/ Barbara Heller: Kartenspiele (1997); un_folded sites (2000); European Echoes (2000); Metazoon (2001); Heimaten(2001); Christopher Dell D.R.A.: Future of the Smallest Form (2001); Christopher Dell und Hyperion Ensemble: Plotzlichkeit (2002)
C.D. and the Real Groove: Let the Vibes Flow (1994); Theo Jorgensmann Quartett: Ta eko mo (1998); Seda: Oriental Bird (1998); Theo Jorgensmann Quartett: Snijbloemen (2000); Klaus Konig Orchstra: Songs and Solos (2000); Eckhardt Koltermann/ WDR Big Band (2000); Lalo Schifrin/ WDR Big Band: Bullit (2000); Hodge Podge: Sound Of The Waves (2002); Theo Jorgensmann Quartett: Hybrid Identity (2002)
Works in contemporary classical composition:
"Movements of Ion' for stringquartet and vibraphone (1993) premiere: Wien, january1994, german premiere: Tage f. Neue Musik, Darmstadt, february 1994
"Stringquartet No. I" (1993) premiere: Mathildenhohe, Darmstadt, april 1994
"Triosonate" for violin, cello and vibraphone (1994) premiere: Tage f. Neue Musik, Darmstadt, february 1995
"Agua Nocturna' for chamberensemble (1995) premiere: Staatstheater Darmstadt, November 1995
"Plotzlichkeit.Gesten", premiere: Radio City Hall, WDR, Cologne
- 1989"Gary Burton Jazz Award', Boston
- 1990 Downbeat Musicfest 'All-Star-Soloist', Oakland
- 1993 Finalist Europ. Jazzcompetition, Brussel
- 1993 Jazzprize of the City of Frankfurt
- 1996 Scholarship "International Summerclasses for New Music" Darmstadt
- 1996 Compositionprize ERTA
- 1998 'Deutsche Schallplattenpreis' for CD 'Dancers on a plane'
- 1999 Tour Award Africa, Goethe Institute
- 2000 Tour Award India, Goethe Institute
- 2000 WDR Scholarship for chamber composition
- 2001 Prize of the City Cologne for the Prformance-Project "At the edge of time"
- 2001 JazzArt Award-"music of the 21. century" for the project D.R.A.
- 2002 "1above0", composition comissioned by the WDR and the Museum For Applied Arts, Cologne