Tristan Xavier Köster (b. 1993) is a Los Angeles born composer currently living in Hamburg, Germany. Working with ensembles and musicians in predominantly acoustic settings, Tristan is inspired by the abstract emotive capabilities of music and its ability to be radically interpreted by performers and listeners alike. Searching to exhibit a new “colloquial” sound in the contemporary classical medium, Tristan thinks of himself as a musician constantly improvising and searching for an unheard, yet intuitive, way to approach an instrument or ensemble.

Since moving to Germany in May 2015, Tristan has begun establishing an international presence working as a freelance composer. Collaborating with renowned musicians in North America, Germany, France, Italy, and China, Tristan has had performances in a variety of diverse locations ranging from historical venues such as the Hamburg Laeiszhalle, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, and the Shanghai Philharmonic Hall, to more non-traditional venues like the Villa Aurora (Lion Feuchtwanger’s former home), Hamburg’s Gängeviertel (Brahms’ Birthplace), and the living room of Los Angeles Artist Mark Dutcher. Tristan has written for and been commissioned by various ensembles and festivals all over the world, including the Shanghai Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, members of the LA Chamber Orchestra at the 2015 HearNow Festival, Trio Catch, the Varied Trio, the Mirror Strings Ensemble, the Lux Nova Duo, and the Soundscape Performance/Composition Exchange. His music has also been featured by Aeon Ensemble’s UN Sustainable Arts Initiative at NYU, Rarities of Piano Music Festival (Festival neue Musik Husum), broadcasted on 90.7 KPFK’s “Native Sounds,” and recognized internationally by the Tonali 2017 Festival. Tristan’s composition, “The Empty City Stratagem” for tenor and large orchestra, has also been awarded the William Schuman Prize by the BMI foundation as 2016’s “most outstanding score”.

One of eight internationally chosen musicians, Tristan is a composer/research fellow in the Zukunft der Orchesterkultur Projekt, funded by the Bundesbeauftragte für Kultur und Medien (BKM) in Hamburg, San Francisco, and Shanghai. Other upcoming projects include  a portrait concert in the Rudolf Steiner Haus (2019) featuring two commissioned works for the HfMT Percussion and Guitar departments, and a instrumental/improvisatory collaboration with composer-pianist Hector Docx. 

Having mentored under composer Xiaoyong Chen since 2015, Tristan earned his Master of Music Degree with an emphasis in orchestral composition at the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater in April, 2018. Following private study under composer AJ McCaffrey, Tristan completed his BM in composition summa cum laude, at the USC Thornton School of Music, naming Frank Ticheli, Stephen Hartke, and Donald Crockett as his most significant former mentors. Tristan has also been a visiting composer at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music under the supervision of Ye Gouhui where he participated in the 2018 “Serialism in China” Theory Congress, recorded and studied the folk music of China’s Guangxi Provence (July 2017), and participated in master classes at the 2015/2017 Shanghai New Music Weeks. He has also participated in various master classes and colloquiums with composers Tristan Murial, Brian Hulse, Valerio Sannicandro, Dan Visconti, and others in various festivals around the world.

Downloadable CV available here. Example score available here, and on orchestral pieces’ pages.

Tristan Xavier Köster, geboren 1993 Los-Angeles ist ein deutsch-amerikanischer Komponist und Cellist. Er lebt seit Mai. 2015 in Hamburg. Köster arbeitet überwiegend mit Ensembles und Musikern in akustischen Einstellungen und schreibt Musik, die von den abstrakten, emotionalen Fähigkeiten unseres Hörens beeinflußt ist. In dem er den Musikern sehr viel künstlerische und interpretierenden Freiheit gibt, hofft er, dass seine Werke radikal interpretiert werden.

In seiner jungen Karriere, hat Köster schon mit vielen anerkannten Musikern und Organisationen gearbeitet. Unter anderem ist er bereits aufgetreten mit Shanghai Symphony, den Hamburger Symphonikern, dem Shanghai Philharmonic, mit Mitgliedern des LA Chamber Orchesters (Hearnow Fest. 2015), dem Varied Trio, dem Trio Catch, mit dem Mirror Strings Quartet, dem SoundScape Performance Exchange, mit Mark Dutcher, Tonali 2017 Festival, Aeon Ensemble’s UN Sustainable Arts Initiative und 2016 mit Eclectic Salon. Für sein Stück für Orchester und Tenor, „The Empty City Stratagem,“ ein Auftragswerk von der Shanghai Hochschule für Musik, hat er2016 den renommierten BMI William Schuman Preis gewonnen.

Tristan Xavier Köster arbeitet gerade mit dem Bundesministerium für Kultur und Medien an dem internationalen Projekt “Zukunft der Orchesterkultur”. Seinen Bachelor Abschluss in Komposition hat Tristan 2015 n der University of South Caifornia Thornton Hochschule für Musik bei den Professoren Frank Ticheli, Donald Crockett, und Stephen Hartke gemacht. 2018 schloss er seinen Master Abschluss an der Hamburger Hochschule für Musik und Theater bei Professor Xiaoyong Chen ab.

Ein Portrait CD seiner orchestralen Musik kann unter folgendem link heruntergeladen werden: tristanxkoester.bandcamp.com/releases

Photo Credits: Axel Koester Photography, 2012, 2015.