Tristan Xavier Köster (b. 1993) is a Los Angeles born composer currently living in Hamburg, Germany.

Career trajectory / Collaborators below
(most recent-oldest)

Downloadable CV available here. Example score available here, and on orchestral pieces’ pages. (For longer bio, scroll below)

Biography for Press and Programs

Tristan Xavier Köster (b. 1993) is a Los Angeles born composer, cellist, and pedagogue 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 Europe, China, and the United States,  Tristan has had performances in a variety of diverse locations ranging from historical venues such as the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg Laeiszhalle, Resonanzraum, and the Shanghai Philharmonic Hall, towards more nontraditional venues like the Villa Aurora (Lion Feuchtwanger’s former home in Los Angeles), 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 Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra (2016/2018), the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra during the 2015 Shanghai Contemporary Music Week, members of the LA Chamber Orchestra at the HearNow Festival of New Music, Trio Catch, the Varied Trio, the Mirror Strings Ensemble, Rarities of Piano Music Festival in Husum, Eclectic Salon/Microfest LA, and the Soundscape Performance/Composition Exchange. His music has also been featured by Aeon Ensemble’s UN Sustainable Arts Initiative at New York University, broadcasted on 90.7 KPFK’s “Native Sounds,” and recognised 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”. 

A scholarship recipient and participant in the Zukunft Der Orchester Projekt(funded by the Berlin-based Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien), Tristan has traveled around the world meeting with music industry luminaries collecting experiences and giving masterclasses representing a new generation of composers and performers. 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 presenting on the Music of Witold Lutoslawski and György Ligeti, and has  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.

Tristan names composers Xiaoyong Chen, Frank Ticheli, and A.J. McCaffrey as his most significant mentors. In 2018 he completed his Masters of Music Degree (under X. Chen) and Post-Graduate studies (under Elmar Lampson) with an emphasis in orchestral composition and orchestral culture at the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater,  graduated summa cum laude with his BM in composition at the USC Thornton School of Music where instructors in composition included Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Veronika Krausas, and many others.

Active as a pedagogue, Tristan is an adjunct professor of Music Theory and Aural skills who teaches a musicianship course for bachelors-track music students at the Hamburger Konservatorium and also maintains a full freelance teaching schedule. Tristan resides in Hamburg, Eimsbüttel with his wife, child, and two cats(Sophie Gubaidulina & Olive Messiaen).

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 er 2016 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 Köster 2015 an der University of South California 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.