“Life is a lot like jazz... it's best when you improvise”. George Gershwin
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15 Mar

Uwe Steinmetz

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“...easy-going, based on simple melodies and counterpoint, hummably affable all the way. It’s thoughtful music, but not the kind you necessarily have to screw on your thinking cap to properly enjoy.” All About Jazz

Saxophonist and composer Uwe Steinmetz was born in Bremervörde, a small town in northern Germany, in 1975. His first musical training came when he started to play flute in a local brass band at the age of seven, and soon after began composing songs based on German folk tunes and marches. During his high school years he switched his focus to the saxophone, participating in numerous master classes and workshops, and composing for school ensembles. He was a member of the regional and national youth jazz orchestras and toured throughout Europe and the United States.

 

EDUCATION

Mr. Steinmetz’s influences came mainly from the teachers he studied and performed with during his school years: John Surman, members of The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Bob Mintzer, and David Liebman, among many others. He continued his musical education in Berlin and Bern with Gebhard Ullman and Frank Sikora, followed by studies at The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where he worked with Ben Schwendener, George Russell, Jerry Bergonzi. Mr. Steinmetz holds two degrees: one in jazz composition, and the other in saxophone performance.

Additionally, Mr. Steinmetz earned a certificate from George Russell for advanced studies in his Lydian Chromatic Concept, authorizing him to teach all aspects of Russell’s unique music theory, which shaped modern jazz in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including influences on artists such as Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy and Jan Garbarek.

 

NOW

Currently, Mr. Steinmetz lives and works as a freelance musician in Berlin. To date he has released twelve CD’s as leader and co-leader in Germany and the US, and has collaborated on numerous other jazz and Christian CD’s.

 

PERFORMANCE

He has performed his own music on four continents and in more than thirty countries with such internationally recognized artists as Joe Maneri (Boston, saxophone), Benny Prasad (Bangalore, guitar), Hariharan (Bombay, vocals), Markus Stockhausen (Cologne, trumpet), Peter Weniger (Berlin, saxophone), Bob Mintzer (New York, saxophone), Wolfgang Sieber (Luzern, organ), Carlos Bica (bass, Lisbon), Mads Tolling (San Francisco, violin) and many others.

 

AWARDS

Mr. Steinmetz has been a recipient of numerous grants and prizes, including complete scholarships for all his studies, the 2000 Theodor Fontane Award from the Stifterverband der Deutschen Wissenschaft, first prize at the 2001 European Jazz Competition in Getxo, Spain, the “Jazz In” prize awarded by Lower Saxony in 2005/2006, and grants for his compositions and other artistic work from the ministries of culture in Hannover and Berlin.

 

TEACHING

In addition to his work as a freelance musician, Mr. Steinmetz is a dedicated pedagogue. For the past fifteen years he has given band clinics, saxophone master classes and music theory workshops in high schools and conservatories in both Germany and the US , served as a juror for youth jazz competitions in Germany, and has lectured and given master classes and workshops on the interconnectedness of music and theology in Europe, Russia and India. In 1999, Mr. Steinmetz served as an assistant music teacher at the Kodaikanal International School in Tamil Nadu, South

India, where he also studied fundamentals of South Indian (carnatic) music. He has been on faculty at the Conservatory of Music in Rostock, Germany, since 2008, where his responsibilities include teaching saxophone and improvisation and leading ensembles.

 

COMPOSING

Mr. Steinmetz’s compositions include works for string quartet and jazz ensemble, organ, guitar, saxophone, choir, and jazz orchestra. Since 2002 he has worked with the London-based Fitzwilliam String Quartet, who premiered three of his works for large ensemble.

 

MUSIC THEOLOGY

In his compositional work he often deals with biblical or theological themes. His work “Stages on the Way to Freedom”, based on poems German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote while imprisoned by the Nazis, has been performed in schools, theatres and churches in Germany, Sweden, England, Switzerland and Ethiopia, and will have its North American premiere in April 2012. His composition “Genesis”, based on wood carvings by the Jewish artist Hermann Fechenbach, included originallanguage readings from the Bible, the Quran and the Torah. His most recent work,

“The Passion of the Apostles” for choir, soprano, big band and organ, explores Christian discipleship and the relationship between faith and political action.

 

BRIDGE BUILDING

Mr. Steinmetz’s unwavering interest in building a bridge between the classical tradition of organ improvisation and jazz has lead to encounters and CD-productions with leading European organists, and an ongoing series of more than fifty concerts combining jazz and theology (www.in-spirit.eu) in Berlin’s historic landmark, the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtnis-Kirche (Memorial Church), and in Paris, Basel and St. Petersburg, Russia.

 

FAITH AND PEACE BUILDING

As a believing Christian he seeks to increase the awareness that music and other art forms can help people discover a deeper, healing and reconciling truth in an increasingly fragmented society. He works with the international peace organization Initiatives of Change, is the international director of Crescendo Jazz (www.crescendo-jazz.org), an international ecumenical movement of Christian professional musicians, and participates as an artist in projects that foster and encourage intercultural dialogue and support civil peace-building efforts. Since 2009, Mr. Steinmetz has collaborated with the Lutheran Church in Germany for concerts, conferences and recording projects, and has appeared frequently on

panels about improvised music, church music and theology. He has been invited to perform and lecture for the European Symposium for Art and Theology at the University of Strasbourg, and has written for journals on the interconnectedness of music and theology, and for a renewal of liturgical forms within the Lutheran church. His work was recently portrayed by Deutsche Welle on ARTE, Europe’s cultural television station.

 

FUTURE

Mr. Steinmetz’s most recent projects include the release of five new recordings with original music performed by musicians of different European countries, including one for the British record label Linn (Record Label of the Year 2011) with two time Grammy Award winner Mads Tolling, and a commission of a Jazz Cantata that will be premiered by one of Europe’s leading vocal ensembles, Eric Ericson’s Chamber Choir from Stockholm.

 

More : www.steinmetzmusik.com   &   www.in-spirit.eu      


Uwe Steinmetz and the internationally recognized Greek pianist, organist and composer George Kontrafouris will close the 9th Spring Concert Series 2012 with improvisation for organ & saxophone, from baroque to contemporary jazz at St Paul’s Anglican Church, on April 21, 2012 at 20:30 - 27 Philhellinon street, Athens    

Last modified on Monday, 26 March 2012 06:52
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