Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Zaja, Markus (Emanuel)

Zaja, Markus (Emanuel), saxophonist, clarinettist, organist (church organ) composer; b. Lueneburg, German, 24 January 1964. His parents, both born in 1920 settled in Lueneburg after the WW2, father coming from Gleiwitz, now Gliwice, Poland, and mother from Slupna, formerly Poland, now GUS. This members of the Zaja - Clan are not really related to the Zajac people in USA, but however the families have origins in Croatia or some counties nearby Vienna, Austria. Two brothers, Benedikt, photographer, and Georg, Carpenter, and two sisters, Juliane, teacher, and Gabriele, are living with their families spread in Europe. He picked up playing the church organ at the age of 12 and played in services, both protestant and catholic, then added the saxophone and the jazz thing while serving as a civil servant as rescue ambulance driver. He studied musical sciences and philosophy at the university of Goettingen, Germany from 1986 to 1990, and saxophone with Wolfgang Engstfeld, later clarinet with Perry Robinson and Theo Joergensmann. Special ensemble studies with Lauren Newton and well-known guitarist Thomas Horstman 1990. Lives and performs constantly since 1991 in the famous industrial area " Ruhrgebiet"  in western Germany, soloing with the soprano saxophone in galleries, exhibitions as well as in a number of cathedrals nearby (Cologne, Romanic style cathedrals in Aachen - the funeral church of Carolus Magnus - and Essen ) in the Elder Europe. Received an award at the 1990 international jazz workshop in Trier and 1993 as artist in residence from the city of Essen, Germany at the ancient castle in Essen -Borbeck. In 1996 he was invited to the InternationaalOrgelimprovisatie Concours in Haarlem, Netherlands and in 1995 and again in 2000 he played as organist with Lauren Newton 's vocal ensemble Timbre at the famous Bach - festival in Leipzig. Compositions for Choir and electric guitar have been performed at the world exhibition EXPO2000 in Germany. As artist he has built a series of 5 basketball- sized objects concerning to the mathematic theories of ancient philosopher Plato, and composed a suite for sopranino saxophone for that setup. An important part of his solo performances is his own interpretation of Anthony Brixton's composition 113 for sopranino sax. Together with book artist Helmut Loehr, living now in Santa Fe and NYC, whose works can be found in collections and museums in USA and Europe as well as in Japan there are many of Multiple Book Projects. 

Somewhere (with Thomas Horstmann)

CDs are distributed via www.factoryoutletrecords.de. 
Other CDs can be ordered as manufactered Special Editions at www.markuszaja.de.

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