About

Maria Baptists biography, CV, works, discography, publications, awards, grants, press and concerts as a soloist can be found below.

Gallery
Concerts

Theater Neumünster, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Piano Salon Christophori Berlin, Theater Lüneburg, Konzerthaus Liebfrauen, Jazz im Palmengarten Frankfurt.

Biography

Actually, there was never a time when Maria Baptist did not sit at a piano. Even as a little child in East Berlin, she was always surrounded by the music of her father, also a pianist and bandleader. Fascinated by the modern jazz of the 60’s and 70’s and the freedom that this spirit of life promised, she moved from Berlin to New York City, to the heart of jazz, a few years after beginning her piano studies at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music. Her time in New York probably had the most profound influence on how Maria Baptist developed as an artist. She studied at the New School and met Maria Schneider, who was a mentor to her. Maria Schneider’s orchestra was also the ensemble that performed Maria Baptist’s first composition for big band.

In the mid-90s, Maria Baptist returned to Berlin. In order to further refine her compositional skills for large orchestras, she also studied classical composition. During this time, Maria Baptist won a number of competitions, such as the Big Band Composition Competition at the HR, the NDR Promotion Prize and the Leipzig Young Jazz Prize. The Tagesspiegel newspaper praised her as “our great compositional talent”. Early in her career she worked with musicians such as Ingrid Jensen, Rolf Kühn and Gitte Haenning. She was invited by jazz ensembles such as the RIAS Big Band and composed equally for classical symphony orchestras.

As an artist, Maria Baptist established herself working between jazz and classical music. Her “standalone music” (Downbeat) merges these two worlds to create her own unique sound. From Hong Kong to New York, from Copenhagen to Stellenbosch, Maria Baptist presents her 250+ compositions at the most internationally prestigious jazz and classical music stages such as Elbphilharmonie, Konzerthaus Berlin, Harpa Concert Hall Reykjavik, Hong Kong Jazz Festival and the Stellenbosch Chamber Music Festival. She has documented her award-winning music on 17 albums.

As a soloist, Maria Baptist has made an international name for herself with her improvisational solo piano concerts, cross-genre projects for string quartet and piano, and in all variations from jazz duo to quintet. The press compares her to the great jazz pianists of our time: “Maria Baptist’s rhapsodic, free-flowing piano style evokes Bill Evans & Keith Jarrett”.

Maria Baptist’s work is driven by her own orchestra. The Maria Baptist Orchestra combines contemporary jazz with a symphonic sound aesthetic and is one of the most innovative ensembles from the German capital. Founded in 2015, the international press considers her ensemble to be „in a league with the key figures of modern big band jazz“. Their first album „Here & Now“ was nominated for the German Record Critics‘ Award and emphasized their singular position within the jazz landscape. In parallel, Maria Baptist cooperates as a conductor and composer with renowned orchestras such as the BuJazzO, the Big Band of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vogtland Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mittelsächsische Philharmonie.

Since 2000 she has been a guest professor at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” Berlin in the department HiZeiTo, teaching composition, arrangement, improvisation and theory.

What unites her diverse artistic output is her “sophisticated voice – highly emotional, evocative and vivid as life” (All About Jazz) – it can be heard in every one of her projects. And thematically, too, a common thread runs through her work: her relationship to Eastern philosophy and Buddhism can be found in many of her pieces.

CV

1971 – 1989

Born 1971 in East Berlin into a family of musicians (grandfather composer and instrumentalist, father arranger and pianist); first classical piano lessons, 1977; first composition and music theory lessons, 1981; first composition for trombone and piano, 1982; first jazz piano lessons at the Musikschule Friedrichshain, 1985; first band experiences and public performances, 1986;


1990 – 1999

Graduated from high school with honors, 1990; first trio with own compositions, 1990; piano studies at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” Berlin, 1990-1993; first publication of the composition “Morning Breeze” in the Real Book of International Association of Schools of Jazz, 1992; winner of the international piano improvisation competition in Lithuania, 1992; composition and piano studies at the New School NYC, USA as the first East German student. Lessons with Maria Schneider, Kenny Werner, Joanne Brackeen, Reggie Workman, 1993-1995; performance of the first composition “Fancy Blues” for Jazz Orchestra by the Maria Schneider Orchestra, 1994; concerts in New York City a.o. at the Jazzclub Smalls, 1994-1995; extensive concert tours in trio and piano solo through Europe, 1994-1999; composition studies at the HfM Berlin with Prof. Dr. Wolfram Heicking, 1995-1997; double prize winner at the Hessischer Rundfunk composers‘ competition with performances of the works “Fancy Blues” and “Minotaurus” by the hr-Bigband, 1995 and 1996; teaching position in the jazz department of the HfM Berlin, 1996-2000; festival concerts a.o. at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Leipzig Opera House as part of the Leipzig Jazz Festival, 1996; pianist with the RIAS Big Band, 1996; NDR sponsorship award and studio production of the work “AVUS” for Jazz Orchestra with the NDR Big Band, 1997-1998; concert with the Rolf Kühn Quartet in Leipzig, 1998; commissioned to compose 7 works for Jazz Orchestra by the Berlin Senate, 1999; festival concert “Jazz Focus” with Maria Baptist & the New Jazz Orchestra, 1999;


2000 – 2010

Guest professor at the Hochschule für “Musik Hanns Eisler” Berlin in the department of Historical and Contemporary Theory, 2000-present; 2nd prize at the International Thad Jones Composers Competition for large orchestra in Copenhagen and performances of the work “Ibiza Conversations” by the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra, 2000; collaboration with Gitte Haenning as pianist, big band leader and arranger. Concerts in Germany and Denmark, 2000-2003; co-production by rbb-kultur of four albums released on her own label, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2010; release of the first trio album “Crazy Dreams” with Ingrid Jensen as guest, 2000; concert at the Rolf-Liebermann Saal in Hamburg with recording by NDR, 2001; festival concerts a.o. Sommerfarben Herrenberg, Lüneburger Jazznights, Illmenauer Jazztage, Jazzfestival Kassel, 2001-2002; Commissioned composition for jazz trio and symphony orchestra by the Vogtland Philharmonic Orchestra, 2002; Private concert for Michael Jackson in Berlin at the Bambi Awards, 2002; World premiere of “Triologie einer Metamorphose” with the Vogtland Philharmonic Orchestra, 2003; Premiere of “Impressions of a Journey” for piano and string orchestra, 2003; solo concert at the Zingst Piano Festival, 2003; commissioned work “Mozart meets Jazz” by the Mittelsächsische Philharmonie, 2004; commissioned work for orchestra and big band by the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, 2004; world premiere of “Night Scenes for Orchestra & Big Band” with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, 2005; Conductor of the Jena Philharmonic and Big Band with Duke Ellington’s “Night Creatures”, 2005; Concert “Mozart meets Jazz” with the Mittelsächsische Philharmonie, 2005; Founding of the own label „Maria Baptist Music“ in which all own productions are released, 2005; Concert at the Chamber Music Festival in Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2005; Release of the first piano solo album “Sometimes Alone” with extensive Germany-wide tour, 2005; Commissioned arrangements of LaGaylia Frazier for voice and symphony orchestra with performances in Sweden, 2006; Release of the trio album “Music for my Trio”, 2006; Premiere of the chamber music composition “Short Trip” with ensemble echo in Berlin conducted by Konstantia Gourzi, 2007; Release of the album „Pierrot Lunaire op. 21 by Arnold Schoenberg with jazz interludes“ with the opus21 musikplus ensemble conducted by Konstantia Gourzi, 2007; Release of the Fado-Jazz album “Sinal” with Telmo Pires with own compositions and arrangements of traditional Fado songs, 2009; Europe-wide concerts with the Fado-Jazz program a. o. in the Admiralspalast Berlin, 2008-2010; Release of the trio album “Spring in Berlin” with festival concerts, e.g. at the Kurt-Weill Festival, 2010-2011; Conducting the Reykjavik Big Band and concerts at the Reykjavik Jazz Festival in Iceland, 2010;


2011 – 2017

As the first woman conductor of the BundesjazzOrchester, 2011; commission of 10 works for jazz orchestra from the German Music Council, 2011; concerts on the main stage at the Jazzfest Berlin, 2011; TV broadcast of the concert at the Jazzfestival Viersen by WDR3, 2011; Release of the album „City Grooves“ with funding from WDR and German Music Council, 2011; Nomination with the ECHO Jazz for “City Grooves”, 2011; Piano solo concert on the main stage of the classical music festival Oldenburger Promenade and at the Jazz Days at Schloss Elmau, 2011; Co-productions by rbb-kultur of three albums released on her own label, 2012, 2013, 2016; Release of the album “Gate 29” for jazz trio, 2012; Germany-wide release tour in 20 jazz clubs with her Jazz-Trio, 2012; Invitation by Goethe Institute Paris for concerts and workshops, 2012; Festival concerts at Jazz Open Stuttgart and the main stage of Jazz Festival Rostock, 2012; Concert at the classical music festival Uckermärkische Musikwochen, 2012; Concert on the main stage of the Jazz Ralley in Luxembourg, 2013; First recording of a solo piano album in New York City, 2013; Conducting the Budapest Jazz Orchestra with concerts at the Átrium Theater, 2013; Release of the jazz-classical album “Episodes” for piano and string quartet, 2013; Conducting the Nerly BigBand, 2014; Piano solo concert at the Festival Jazzmeeting in Kühlungsborn, 2014; Concerts at the classical music festivals Pianissimo at Schloß Elmau and the main stage of the classical music festival Ostfriesische Landschaften, 2014; Release of the piano solo album “Self-Portrait” followed by a 25-day concert tour through 5 countries, 2014; First concert at Piano Salon Christophori, 2014; Foundation of the Maria Baptist Orchestra, 2015; Start of the monthly concert series of the Maria Baptist Orchestra at Kunstfabrik Schlot in Berlin with the premiere concert on 04. January, 2015; Portrait about Maria Baptist at “Rendezvous” at TRT-World Television, 2015; 12-day concert tour with the string quartet through jazz clubs and chamber music halls, 2015; Concerts at Staatstheater Kassel with Pierrot Lunaire and improvisations, 2015; Performance of the piece “December Colors“ by Jericho Brass, 2016; Direction of the Big Band of the Deutsche Oper with concerts at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2016;Release of the Maria Baptist Orchestra’s debut album “Here & Now I”, 2016; Nomination for the Bestenliste of the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, 2016; CD release tour of the Maria Baptist Orchestra e.g. at Jazzfest Kassel, 2016; Piano Solo Concert at the Chamber Music Festival in Kühlungsborn, 2016; Release of the album “Poems without Words” with the Trio plus One, 2017; Album presentation at the Kulturbühne of Dussmann, 2017; Extensive Europe-wide concert tour e.g. Germany, Poland, France, Great Britain, 2017; Trio Festival concerts at e.g. BayerKultur, Jazzfestival Bühl, 2017; Portrait in the ZDF/3Sat documentary „Jazz oder die Lehre vom Fliegen,“ 2017; studio guest and interview on „Der Tag“ on Deutsche Welle TV, 2017;


2018 – 2023

Funding of Maria Baptist Orchestra concert series through the Berlin Senate for Culture & Europe, 2018-2023; This grant has resulted in 20 commissioned jazz orchestra compositions, 2018-2023; Concert in New York City at “3333 concerts”, 2018; Concert at Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik with the Sigurdur Flosason Quartet, 2018; Concert at JazzBaltica, 2018; Release of the piano solo album “Resonance”, 2018; extensive concert tour in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, 2018; Solo piano concert on the main stage of the Nancy Jazz Festival in France, 2018; Concert in the main program of the classical music festival Usedomer Musiktage, 2019; Concerts at the Hong Kong Jazz Festival with a travel grant from the Berlin Senate, 2019; Release of the second part of the album cycle “Here & Now II” for jazz orchestra, 2019; Publication of the study score for “Here & Now II”, 2019; Conduction of the Reykjavik Big Band with concerts at Harpa Concert Hall, 2020; Publication of the duo album “Facing Duality” with saxophonist Jan von Klewitz, 2020; Publication of the sheet music “Sheet Music Vol. 1,” 2020; Concert with the duo program at “In Concert” by Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 2021; Commission by the Berlin Senate to compose three movements of the four-movement suite “The Bright & The Dark”, 2021, 2022; Anniversary concert week for Maria Baptist’s 50th. Birthday at Jazzclub A-Trane in Berlin with presentation of all jazz ensembles on five evenings, 2021; Extensive concert tours with Jan von Klewitz, 2021; Release of Maria Baptist Orchestra’s video album “Live in Berlin” with funds from private sponsors, 2022; Quintet concert at Festival Jazz im Palmengarten in front of 1000 people, 2022; Duo concert at the Festival Kunstflecken at the Theater in der Stadthalle Neumünster, 2022; Commissioned composition of the Berlin Senate “Concerto for the Reeds” for jazz orchestra, 2022, 2023; Film music recording “House of Dreams” (RTL): Piano Sonata No.32 by Ludwig van Beethoven op.111 2nd movement with improvisation, 2022; Release of the double album “Essays on Jazz”with the instrumentation alto saxophone, bass clarinet/tenor saxophone, piano, double bass and drums, 2023; Summer-Week at the A-Trane with trio and guests, 2023; guest on hr2-kultur program Jazzfacts, 2023; Nomination of „Essays on Jazz“ for the Bestenliste of the German Record Critics‘ Award, 2023;

since 2024

Concert at the Konzerthaus Liebfrauen with the Maria Baptist Orchestra, 2024; Debut at the Elbphilharmonie and premiere of the piano solo cycle „Hopes & Fears“, 2024; Release of the piano solo album „Hopes & Fears“, Sep 2024; Concert tour through classical concert halls: Gewandhaus Leipzig, Glocke Bonn, Gasteig Munich, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Chamber Music Hall Beethoven-Haus Bonn, 2024;

Compositions
Selection from 250+ compositions

Symphonic Orchestra

Triologie einer Metamorphose für Jazztrio und Symphonieorchester #1-3; Night Scenes für Symphonieorchester und Big Band; Zodiac Sign für Philharmonisches Blasorchester


Jazz Orchester

Suiten: Ibiza Conversations #1-3 (1. Ibiza Conversations, 2. On Top of Mountain, 3. The Blossom); Concerto for the Reeds; Midnight Suite #1-4; The Bright & The Dark

Einzelwerke: 36th Street Midtown; Apartment #3A; As long as we are searching for; At the Blue Shore; Avenue Walk; AVUS; Blue Pictures; B’Dazzled Blue; Gate 21; Goodbye; Here & Now; Introduction for the Orchestra; Lingering; Love Ballad; Minotaurus; Natural Landscape; Nature of Reality; On Cloud 9; Red Moon; Roof Garden; Rush Hour; Sea of Blackness; Serenity; Sign of the Zodiac; Travel in Possibilities for Jazz Orchestra; The Moon Stood Still for Jazz Orchestra


Chamber Music

Impressions of a Journey für Klavier und Streichquartet #1-4; Nine Episodes for Piano & String Quartet #1-9; Dezemberfarben für Blechbläserensemble; String Quartet #1; Short Trip für Solo Klavier und Kammerensemble #1-3


Jazz Ensemble

After the Darkness; Apartment #3; Beautiful Chaos; Facing Duality; Goodbye; Gratitude; Hell’s Kitchen; Here and Now; Illuminate the Night; Longing; Midnight Rain; Minotaurus; Music for my trio 1-3; Natural Landscapes; On Top of the Mountain; Running; Sea of Blackness; Stillness Speaks; The Bright and the Dark; The Moon Stood Still; Things I Wanted to Say; Turn up the Silence


Piano Solo

A Morning in New York; After the Darkness; AVUS; Blue Hour; Cloud 9; Early Sunday Morning; Falling Night; Fuge Nr. 1 in A-moll; Hopes & Fears #1-5; Piano Ballad; Portrait of a Woman; Raising the Frequencies; Resonance; Roof Garden; Running; Song of the Soul; Stillness Speaks; The Blossom; The Day before I met you; The High Line; The Moon stood still; Urban Meditation; Winterskizzen


Vocal music

Behold the past und Fancy Blues for 5 voices a capella

Discography

Maria Baptist (piano solo). Hopes & Fears. Live aus der Elbphilharmonie. double-album. 2024

Maria Baptist Quintet. Essays on Jazz. Live aus dem Jazzclub A-Trane Berlin. double-album. 2023

Maria Baptist Orchestra. Live in Berlin. Video Album. 2022

Maria Baptist & Jan von Klewitz. Facing Duality. 2020

Maria Baptist Orchestra. Here & Now II. 2019

Maria Baptist (piano solo). Resonance. 2018

Maria Baptist Trio plus One. Poems without Words. 2017

Maria Baptist Orchestra. Here & Now I. Live aus der Kunstfabrik Berlin. Koproduktion des rbb-kultur. 2016

Maria Baptist (piano solo). Self-Portrait. 2014

Maria Baptist Piano & String Quartet. Episodes.Koproduktion des rbb-kultur. 2013

Maria Baptist Trio. Gate 29. Koproduktion des rbb-kultur. 2012

Maria Baptist & BuJazzO. Music for Jazz Orchestra. Live vom Jazzfest Berlin. 2011

Maria Baptist & BuJazzO. City Grooves. 2011

Maria Baptist Trio. Spring in Berlin. Koproduktion des rbb-kultur. 2010

Maria Baptist & Telmo Pires. Sinal. 2009

Arnold Schönberg. Pierrot Lunaire op.21 plus Jazzinterludes. 2007

Maria Baptist Trio. Music for my Trio. Koproduktion des rbb-kultur. 2006

Maria Baptist (piano solo). Sometimes Alone. Koproduktion des rbb-kultur. 2005

Maria Baptist Trio feat. Ingrid Jensen. Crazy Dreams. Koproduktion des rbb-kultur. 2000

Publications

Sheet Music Vol 1. Music for Jazz Piano. 2020

Studienpartitur Here & Now II. Maria Baptist Orchestra. 2019

Real Book of IASJ. Morning Breeze. 1992

Prices & Grants
Selection

Bestenliste. German Record Critics‘ Awards. Quintet album „Essays on Jazz“. 2023

Basisförderung. Maria Baptist Orchestra concert series. Berlin Senate. 2018-2023

Travel grant. Hong Kong Jazzfestival. Berlin Senate. 2019

Awards. Carl von Ossietzky composition competition. 2018

Bestenliste. German Record Critics‘ Awards. Orchestra album „Here & Now I“. 2017

Album productions. rbb-kultur. 2013, 2016

Nomination. Album „City Grooves“. ECHO Jazz. 2011

Album productions. rbb-kultur. 2000, 2005, 2006, 2010

2nd prize. International Thad Jones Composers Competition for large orchestra. Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra. 2000

Composition scholarship. Berlin Senate. 1998

Sponsorship Award. Conducting Competition of the NDR. 1997

Grant from the Künstlerinnenprogramm. Berlin Senate. 1994

Jazz scholarship for studies at the New School NYC. Berlin Senate. 1994

Cultural grant. GVL. 1993-1995

Winner. Leipzig Jazz Young Talent Festival.1996

Awards. HR Composers Competition. 1995 and 1996

1st place. International Piano Improvisation Competition Lithuania. 1992

Press
Selection

Interview. NDR. Round Midnight. 2024

Podcast Interview. hr2 kultur. Jazz Now. 2023

Interview und Studio Concert. Deutschlandfunk Kultur. Tonart. 2023

Album presentation. NDR. Jazztime. 2023

Concert Review. Frankfurter Rundschau. Alles hat hier seine Richtigkeit. 2022

Concert broadcast. Deutschlandfunk Kultur. In Concert. 2021

Feature. All About Jazz. Best Releases of 2020 list

Feature. ARD. Radiofestival. 2020

Feature. Berliner Morgenpost. Big Band Jazz auf höchstem Niveau. 2018

Portrait. ZDF / 3Sat. Jazz oder die Lehre vom Fliegen. 2018

Studio guest & Portrait. Deutsche Welle TV. Zu Gast bei Tina Gerhäusser. 2017

Portrait. rbb-kultur. Late Night Jazz. 2016

Portrait. TRT-World Television. Rendezvous with German Piano Virtuoso Maria Baptist. 2015

Album Review. Downbeat Magazine. Music for Jazz Orchestra. 2013

Concert Review. HAZ. Gekonnt balanciert. 2012

Feature. Emma. Jazzpianistin Maria Baptist. 2011

Interview. BR Klassik. Multitalent Maria Baptist. 2011

Interview & Concert at Jazzfest Berlin. WDR3 Fernsehen. west.art Jazzline. 2011

Feature. Hamburger Abendblatt. Maria Baptist ist die Verführerin an den Tasten. 2010

Feature. FAZ. Zweite Natur. 2008

Festival & Club Concerts
Selection from 1.000+
concerts as soloist

International

12on14 Jazzclub Warszawa (PL); 606 Jazzclub London (UK); Blues’n Jazz Rallye Luxemburg (L); Caffe Vivaldi New York City (USA); Harpa Concert Hall Reykjavik (ISL); Hong Kong Jazzfestival (HK); Jazz à cour et jardin Lyon (FR); Jazz Club Etoile Paris (FR); Nancy Jazz Pulsations (FR); Nota79 Barcelona (ESP); Porgy & Bess Wien (A); Puskin Cinema Jazzfestival (HUN); Reykjavik Jazz Festival (ISL); Smalls Jazz Club New York City (USA); Stellenbosch Chamber Music Festival (ZAF); Tangente Liechtenstein (LI)

National

Bauhaus Dessau; Birdland Jazz Club; Beethoven-Haus Bonn; Centralstation; Deutsche Oper Berlin; Elbphilharmonie; Gasteig München; Gewandhaus zu Leipzig; Glocke Bremen; Klassikfestival Gezeitenkonzerte; Halle 424; Haus der Berliner Festspiele; Isaarphilharmonie Saal X; Summerweek im Jazz Club A-Trane, Jazz im Palmengarten; Jazz Open Stuttgart; JazzBaltica; Jazzclub Hannover; Jazzclub Unterfahrt; Jazzfest Berlin; Jazzfestival Bühl; Jazzfestival Hürth; Jazzfestival Ratzeburg; Jazzfestival Viersen; Jazzstudio Nürnberg; Jazztage Kühlungsborn; Kasseler Jazzfest; Kunstfabrik Schlot; Konzerthaus Berlin; Kurt-Weill Fest; Klassikfestival Oldenburger Promenade; Magazin der Staatsoper; Opernhaus Leipzig; Liederhalle Stuttgart; Piano Salon Christophori; Jazzfestival auf Schloss Elmau; Stadthalle Neumünster; Strawinsky-Saal Donaueschingen; Studiokonzert Deutschlandfunk Kultur; Theaterhaus Gütersloh; Theater Neumünster; Theater Lüneburg, Usedomer Musikfestival; Volkshaus Jena

Let’s stay in touch – 

Once a month I write a personal letter in German about my life as a musician- my »Inner Circle« newsletter. 

I would be happy to stay in touch with you. You can subscribe here.

Yours Maria

© 2024 by Maria Baptist Music

All Rights Reserved

Let’s stay in touch

Once a month I write a personal letter in German about my life as a musician- my »Inner Circle« newsletter. 

I would be happy to stay in touch with you. You can subscribe here.

Yours Maria

Lass uns in Kontakt bleiben

Einmal im Monat schreibe ich einen persönlichen Brief über mein Leben als Musikerin- meinen »Inner Circle« Newsletter. 

Ich würde mich freuen, mit Dir in Kontakt zu bleiben.

Hier kannst Du Dich anmelden.

Deine Maria