The singular artistry of acclaimed guitarist, composer, bandleader, educator, and producer Sten Hostfalt as manifested in his 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 'Transformations' featuring compositions commissioned for a 2014 solo premiere performance at the XXXV Encontre de Compositors Festival, at Pilar i Joan Miro' Palma de Mallorca, Spain celebrates two decades of recordings of original microtonal music, since the 2002 album 29 Pieces for The Microtonal Guitar, critically regarded a seminal work for microtonal music in the improvised idiom.
A Swedish-born, naturalized American citizen, Sten Hostfalt was introduced on the New York and international jazz scene through mid-1990's performances and recordings with mentors, legendary icons of American music Jimmy Giuffre and Paul Bley, the latter of whom initiated Hostfalt's debut recording as a leader. Concerts with Gary Burton, Peter Erskine, Clare Fischer, Rob McConnell and Bobby Shew followed apprenticeship in jazz orchestras led by Herb Pomeroy and Phil Wilson. As a featured soloist and member of Guillermo Klein's ensemble, he appeared alongside new jazz generation luminaries Mark Turner, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake, Aaron Goldberg and Jeff Ballard weekly during the inception of subsequently influential New York jazz club Smalls.
Initially self-taught as a musician, early musical experiences included classical guitar studies, activity on the 1980's Scandinavian Progressive 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, and participating in a workshop with Jazz piano master Horace Parlan. Academically, a former teacher at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm. And invited lecturer at New World School of The Arts, Miami, FL, and Berklee College of Music. Mr. Hostfalt is the recipient of a Master of Music Education Degree from Columbia University's Teachers College, where he also served as an instructor. He also holds a Master of Music Degree in Composition, and a Graduate Diploma in Performance from New England Conservatory. Along with a Bachelor of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music.
Since 2006 he operates the music production label Sonus Rex, that incorporates his New York music education studio, notably one of few facilities anywhere to offer microtonal music studies for the guitar, and other instruments.
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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 album as a leader 'Eternity Check', initiated by Hostfalt's mentor, avant-Jazz pioneer Paul Bley, the following release, funded by little else than a artist network, and pressed up in 300 copies, '29 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 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), by way of New York City's Micro-Moose and Kampo studios, the Swedish Radio Studio as well as artist grants from the Cultural Committee of Sweden for tours and concerts in France, Sweden and U.S.A.
'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 of groups and projects since the late 1970's, Sten Hostfalt's recordings have featured bassist Matthew Garrison, trumpet player/keyboardist Takuya Nakamura, 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, Richard Hammond, Matt Pavolka, Masa Kamaguchi and Shayna Dulberger. Tenor saxophonists Ole Mathisen, Seamus Blake, and Noah Preminger. Drummers Jimmy Weinstein, Blake Lindberg, Dave Miller, Federico Ughi and Cyril Atef. Vibraphonist Tom Beckham, bassoonist Claire deBrunner, violaist Robyn Siwula, keyboardist Evan Gallagher, 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 together with Nir Felder, Janek Gwizdala and Brad Mason. 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 and longtime ABC No Rio COMA curator, saxophonist Blaise Siwula, including 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, 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 debut 'El Minotauro' (1994 Beat/1997 Candid) in 'Big Van'-the first edition of Klein's ensemble, a lineup described as 'unlike any other-one of the better continuing experiments in New York' by Peter Watrous of the New York Times, noted by All Music Guide for it's 'brilliant soloists', and in retrospect deemed semi-legendary' by Jazz Times. 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.
Toward the end of the old millennium, he accepted an offer to record and tour extensively in Norway, Finland and Sweden 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 choreographer and dance artist Savina Theodorou. In addition to twice in 2014 staging his 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 avant trumpet player Johnny Lapio, 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, and participated in a workshop with Jazz piano master Horace Parlan. After which he received a Bachelor's Degree from Berklee, a Masters Degree, and a Graduate Diploma from New England Conservatory, in compostion and performance respectively. Via studies with Jimmy Giuffre, Joe Maneri, Paul Bley, and George Russell, concerts with Gary Burton, Peter Erskine and Clare Fischer. And masterclasses with Toru Takemitsu and Gyorgi Ligeti.
His four-decade commitment and contribution to music education has been acknowledged by, and manifested through assignments as an applied lessons instructor in guitar, piano, bass guitar and electronic music at Columbia University's Teachers College (2020-21). As well as since 2009, faculty membership at NY Jazz Academy. Prior to which, he served as a faculty member of Kungliga Musikhögskolan, the Royal College of Music in Stockholm (2001-05). And as an invited lecturer at the New World School for The Arts, Miami FL, and Berklee College of Music as well as group workshops and lectures with Guillermo Klein's Ensemble at Colegio Ward, and Centro Cultural San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina.. His own New York City music teaching business, Sten's Guitar Studio, AKA NYC Guitar Studio-the educational divison of the record label and music production enterprise Sonus Rex, 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.
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