Sten Hostfalt Biography
The singular artistry of acclaimed guitarist, composer, bandleader, educator, and producer Sten Hostfalt as manifested in his internationally documented four decade innovative commitment to music, has via exploration of the parameter of pitch, and self-invented instrumental techniques earned him recognition for contributing to the expansion of the vocabulary of the guitar, and to music of our time.
Released on the Sonus Rex label, his ninth album as a leader 'Four Pieces For Microtonal Guitar/Transformations'
including Cuatros Piezas Para Microtonal Guitar commissioned by Fundació ACA for a 2014 solo premiere performance at the XXXV Encontre de Compositors at Pilar i Joan Miro' Palma de Mallorca, Islas Baleares, Spain celebrates eighteen years of recordings of original Microtonal work. Along with music composed for 2010-2011 solo concerts at New York City´s Symphony Space, and the 2014 microtonal large ensemble work Dimensional States. All, following the 2002 solo recording 29 Pieces for The Microtonal Guitar Live at Knitting Factory New York, critically regarded a seminal work for microtonal music on the guitar.
Sten Hostfalt was introduced on the New York jazz scene through mid-1990's performances, recordings and collaborations with mentors, legendary icons and pioneers of American music Jimmy Giuffre and Paul Bley, the latter of whom initiated Hostfalt's debute recording as a leader, Eternity Check. Concerts with masters of jazz Gary Burton, Peter Erskine, Clare Fischer, Rob McConnell and Bobby Shew followed apprenticeship in jazz orchestras led by Herb Pomeroy, Phil Wilson and George Russell. As a guitarist, featured soloist and member of the first edition of Guillermo Klein's large ensemble, Big Van he appeared alongside new jazz generation luminaries Mark Turner, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake, Melvin Butler, Aaron Goldberg and Jeff Ballard weekly during the inception of influential and subsequently famed New York City jazz club Smalls.
A Swedish-born, naturalized American citizen and longtime New Yorker, initially largely self-taught as a musician, early musical experiences included classical guitar studies from age sixteen, activity on the 1980's Scandinavian DIY-New Wave/Progressive/ Fusion music scene, and as a street musician in Copenhagen and Paris. As well as hearing finger-style blues guitar legend Big Joe Williams live and up-close in an intimate setting, and participating in a workshop with then Copenhagen, Denmark-based Jazz piano master Horace Parlan, a Albert Ayler and Charlie Mingus alum, notably appearing on the latter's classic recording Ah-Um.
A veteran music educator, currently enlisted as an applied lessons instructor at Columbia University's Teachers College, the oldest and largest school for education, in the United States, and part of one of the nations elite academic institutions. Mr. Hostfalt is a former teaching faculty member of The Royal College of Music in Stockholm. And an invited lecturer at New World School of The Arts, Miami, FL, and at Berklee College of Music. As an alumnus of three of the world's most prestigious institutions for modern music and music education, he is the recipient of a Master of Music and Music Education Degree from Columbia University's Teachers College, as well as a Master of Music Degree in Composition, and a Graduate Diploma in Performance from New England Conservatory as an honors emissary. Along with a Bachelor of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music with honors, and as an Outstanding Musicianship Award recipient. Since 2006 he operates his own Manhattan, New York City creative music education studio-one of few facilities anywhere to offer microtonal music studies for the guitar.
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FULL BIOGRAPHY / PRESSKIT
'Sten Hostfalt is a leading innovative guitarist and composer working on the New York music scene of today. He performs with some of the most original and unique voices in modern music and has been called 'highly exceptional' by legendary American music icon Jimmy Giuffre and 'virtuosic' by musical innovator Joe Maneri' writes distinguished master educator and Berklee College of Music Professor Jon Damian-one of the world's foremost thinkers about guitar, theory and pedagogy, in his book publication ' FRESH MUSIC : Explorations with The Creative Workshop Ensemble For Musicians, Artists and Teachers' a document of 40 years with Mr. Damian's creative workshop at Berklee which have hosted leading jazz guitarists Bill Frisell, Jeff Parker, Mark Whitfield, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Leni Stern, Wayne Krantz and Lionel Loueke.
Sten Hostfalt has developed his own repertoire incorporating microtones - a genuinely innovative approach, in the future 29 Pieces for the Microtonal Guitar may be be considered a groundbreaking work - Don Williamson JAZZ REVIEW
'The total immersion of a mini-verse of finely etched detail taken to glorious extremes, 29 Pieces for The Microtonal Guitar is among the most riveting explorations of the microtonal world ever recorded. It's fine focus and beauty of detail puts the cycle in a class with John Cage's exquisite 'Sonatas and Preludes for Prepared Piano' - Larry Cosentino, SIGNAL TO NOISE
Active as a performer, composer and bandleader since the late 70's, Sten Hostfalt's international recognition as a singularly unique and original guitarist, composer and solo performer came with his second album,'29 Pieces For The Microtonal Guitar Live at Knitting Factory New York". A 2002 solo concert recording devoted to a microtonal guitar and electronics program informed by mentor Joe Maneri's Equal-Tempered 72-note system. Released at the heels of his debut recordings as a leader 'Eternity Check', initiated by Hostfalt's mentor, American avant-garde pioneer Paul Bley, the following release, funded by little except utilizing a artist network, and pressed up in 300 (since long sold out) copies - '29 Microtonal Pieces' was considering its independent production and unorthodox program very well-received.
'Sten Hostfalt takes the rigid confines of Guitar and transforms it into an instrument capable of exploring the minute spaces between traditional notes by using altered tunings, mechanical preparations and Electronically enhanced techniques. The result, 29 Pieces for the Microtonal Guitar, is an intriguing recording that shows just how far an instrument can be bent and altered to meet a more experimental and adventurous need, taking you on a journey to a place where rules simply don't exist. For those with ears broad enough to allow for the possibility that music can extend beyond the expected, and expand the potent boundaries of experience' - John Kelman, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
'Not for the faint of heart. Beyond rapturous. High density, highly logical in a completely different way, and highly recommended' - Kenneth Egbert, JAZZ NOW
'Rants And Raves-Editors Pick' - Barry Cleveland, GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE
'In and out of the aural palette in an attractive complexity. Hostfalt gives you another angle on exploring tone colors and guitar abstractions that you will not want to miss' - Grego Applegate Edwards, CADENCE
Stylistically Jazz Now drew comparisons to John Fahey and Derek Bailey. Guitar Player's 'Rants and Raves' placed the work next to 'The 21st Century Guide To King Crimson'. While Cadence noted Captain Beefheart and Jimi Hendrix influences. Since the debut CD's, Sten Hostfalt has produced seven more-all in all nine recordings as a leader, on his own label, Sonus Rex (ex g-wOw). In the process, enlisting engineers Greg Thompson (They Might be Giants, David Byrne, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Justin Bieber, Korn) Doug Henderson (Anthony and The Johnsons, Devendra Banhart, Swans, Sleep, System of a Down) and Eric Tew (Super Furry Animals, Ted Leo, Boss Hog, Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow, Phife Dawg, Fountains of Wayne) and worked in some of New York's most influential studios of the new millennium-Micro-Moose and Kampo, and via grants from the Cultural Committee of Sweden at Le Triton, Paris France and in the Swedish Radio studio.
'Sten Hostfalt's prepared guitar explorations combine jazz soloing with surreal effects, we're Impressed with his fast finger and intense focus' - TIME OUT NEW YORK
'Inimitable, There Are Few Musicians like Sten Hostfalt' - PM NYC / PAPER MAGAZINE
As a leader/co-leader of groups and projects since the late 1970's, Sten Hostfalt's recordings have featured bass guitar virtuoso Matthew Garrison (John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Steve Coleman, Josef Zawinul, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan), trumpet player/keyboardist Takuya Nakamura (Brazilian Girls, The Streets, Quincy Jones, CoCo Rosie) drummer Marko Djordjevic and tenor saxophonist Matt Renzi. His performances as a leader of ensembles such as G-Factor (Ghost Factor), K-MOD, Soft Value, Sten Hostfalt Trio/Quartet and Dimensional States, has during the past three decades hosted bassists Tim Luntzel (Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, Pete Seeger, Neil Sedaka and Lee Ranaldo), Richard Hammond (Joan Osborne, Erasure and Angelique Kidjo), Matt Pavolka (Lee Konitz, Elysian Fields) Masa Kamaguchi, Shayna Dulberger, tenor saxophonists Ole Mathisen (Randy Brecker, Dream Theater), Seamus Blake (John Scofield, Dave Douglas) and 2017 Down Beat Rising Star Poll Winner Noah Preminger (John Patittucci, Matt Wilson), drummers Jimmy Weinstein, Blake Lindberg, Dave Miller, Federico Ughi and Cyril Atef (Cheb Mami, Salif Keita), vibraphonist Tom Beckham and vocalists Melissa Kassel, Liliana Santon and Constance Cooper.
Meanwhile as a sideman, Sten Hostfalt has participated in and contributed to the development of a new generation in electronica through live performances with Collin Palmer AKA Calmer, featured on bass guitar in shared events with Praveen, Travis Stewart AKA Machinedrum (Azealia Banks, Jesse Boykins III), Theophilus London (Rihanna, Kanye West, Warner Bros.), Keith Murray (DEF Squad), Addiquit and MOBY. As a guitarist in drummer Marko Djordjevic's fusion outfit SVETI, btw 2006-2009 Hostfalt performed with young jazz fusion talents Nir Felder, Janek Gwizdala and Brad Mason (Blood Sweat & Tears). Longtime membership of New York's 'Downtown scene' (since appearing with Guillermo klein at 'old' Knitting Factory in 1995) has included over 70 performances, and the CD 'Now Matter' together with Downtown NYC scene mainstay saxophonist Blaise Siwula and shared events with Tim Berne, Daniel Carter, Bern Nix, Ray Anderson, Herb Robertson and Bob Stewart.
Prior to his new millennium focus on work as a leader, Mr. Hostfalt apprenticed in jazz orchestras led by Phil Wilson and Herb Pomeroy (taking over the guitar chair after Wolfgang Muthspiel, in one of the last editions of the legendary Berklee 'Recording Band' that known from the 'Jazz In The Classroom recordings' since the 1950's featured Branford Marsalis, Joe Zawinul, Toshiko Akiyoshi, John Abercrombie and Quincy Jones), briefly with George Russell (NEC Big Band) and as a guitarist and featured soloist on Argentinian composer Guillermo Klein's debute 'El Minotauro' (1994 Beat/1997 Candid) in 'Big Van'-the first edition of Klein's lauded large ensemble, a lineup described as 'unlike any other-one of the better continuing experiments in New York' by the New York Times, noted by All Music Guide for it's 'brilliant soloists' and in retrospect deemed semi-legendary' by Jazz Times Magazine. A creative format through which Hostfalt was introduced on the early 1990's New York Jazz scene alongside leading new generation jazz voices Chris Cheek, Mark Turner, Seamus Blake, Aaron Goldberg, Jeff Ballard and Melvin Butler at Mitch Borden's Jazz Club, Smalls weekly during the inception of the subsequently famed venue.
After departing from Klein's band (and passing the chair to first, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and to current guitarist Ben Monder) in favor for an offer to tour and record in Sweden, Norway and Finland with Swedish Sandviken Big Band, in support of mainstream Jazz artists Rob McConnell, Bobby Shew and Deborah Brown at leading concert halls and venues, and in shared festival events with Ray Brown, James Moody, Phil Woods, The Woody Herman Big Band, Niels-Henning Orsted-Pedersen and Tower of Power.
Este virtuoso guitarrista y aclamado compositor neoyorkino se inicio' en la escena internacional del jazz a mediados de los años noventa y desde entonces ha recogido numerosos premios por sus originales proyectos y grabaciones. Y es que, Sten Hostfalt es un músico innovadorque ha ideado ténicas para el seis cuerdas estandár y más allá del sistema temperadode doce notas. En el XXXV Encontre Internacional de Compositors presenta en solitario su proyecto Microtonal guitar. - ARTS MALLORCA.com (Spain) 2014
Current or recent (as in past 10 years) work as a leader includes solo concert premier performances of original composed works at the XXXV Encontre de Compositors festival at Pilar i Joan Miro', Mallorca, Spain (2014), as well as at Symphony Space NYC (2010-11), music-dance and multi-media collaborations with greek dance artist and choreographer Savina Theodorou. In addition to twice in 2014 staging and performing the original microtonal orchestral work 'Dimensional States' with a 15-piece ensemble including two dancers, at ShapeShifter Lab NYC. And more recently, a collaboration with Italian avantgarde trumpet player Johnny Lapio (Anthony Braxton, Markus Stockhausen, Taylor Ho Bynum, Sylvanio Bussotti) , performing a March 2018 duo concert at ShapeShifter Lab NYC, and recording the duo CD Sten Hostfalt/Johnny Lapio [Sonus Rex/2019].
'A bunch of A-list adventurous Jazz types play Sten Hostfalt's microtonal Dimensional States for Orchestra'
- NEW YORK MUSIC DAILY
A U.S. East Coast resident for the better part of the past 30 years and a long-time New Yorker, Sten Hostfalt was born in 1962 in Lulea, Sweden and became a naturalized American Citizen by way of late 1980's-early 90's scholarships, awards and degrees with honors from two of the world's foremost academic institutions in modern music education, Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. Initially self-taught as a guitarist and composer, he studied classical guitar from age 16, heard legendary fingerstyle Blues guitarists Big Joe Williams live and up close in an intimate setting, and participated in a workshop with Charlie Mingus and Albert Ayler alum, Jazz piano master Horace Parlan. A lengthy period of self-studies led to a Bachelor's Degree from Berklee, a Masters Degree in Jazz Composition and a Graduate Diploma in Jazz Performance from New England Conservatory, via studies with icons and pioneers of American music Jimmy Giuffre, Joe Maneri, Paul Bley, Mick Goodrick and George Russell, and concert performances with Gary Burton, Peter Erskine and Clare Fischer. In addition to masterclasses and seminars with Jazz guitarists Larry Coryell and Pat Metheny, and 20th century composers Toru Takemitsu and Gyorgi Ligeti.
His four-decade commitment and contribution to music education is currently acknowledged and manifested by an assignment as an applied lessons instructor in guitar, piano, bass and electronic music at Columbia University's Teachers College, the oldest and largest school for education in the United States, at one of the nation's Ivy League, elite academic institutions. Prior to which, he served as a faculty member of the Royal College of Music in Stockholm (2001-05), one of the world's oldest conservatories. And as an invited lecturer at the New World School for The Arts, at the University of Florida and Berklee College of Music. His own educational facility, Sten's Guitar Studio (AKA NYC Guitar Studio), is a multi-genre facility notably known as one of few educational outlets anywhere to offer systematic microtonal music studies on the standard 6-string/12-fret guitar.
All Rights Reserved © 2020 Sonus Rex.
All Rights Reserved © 2021 Sonus Rex.
Sten Hostfalt appears courtesy of Sonus Rex
and Broadcast Music Incorporated, BMI.
Sten Hostfalt appears courtesy of Sonus Rex
and Broadcast Music Incorporated, BMI.