Tristan Xavier Köster (b. Los Angeles, 1993) is a Hamburg based musician and composer.

Torn between the punk music of his childhood and the classical canon he loves so dearly,  Köster is constantly improvising and searching for an unheard, intuitive way to approach each instrument and ensemble. Köster finds artistic solace in the ability of acoustic music to distance people from their technologically driven lives and re-immerse themselves in their own aural roots. Working in these predominantly acoustic settings, Köster compositions are inspired by the abstract emotive capabilities of music and the ability of his ideas to be diversely interpreted by performers and listeners alike.

Recent collaborations have included performances in North America, Europe, and China by the Shanghai Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic, Sinfoniker Hamburg, members of the LA Chamber Orchestra, Trio Catch, the Varied Trio, the MIRROR STRINGS Quartet, the Lux Nova Duo, violinist James McFadden-Talbot, pianist Brendan White, cellist Jonathan Dormand, and many others. Notable concert halls include appearances in 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), various medieval castles and churches in Europe, and the living room of Los Angeles Artist Mark Dutcher.

Köster’s compositions have been programmed and commissioned by various festivals and institutions around the world including the 2015 HearNow Festival, the 2015 Shanghai New Music Week, the Aeon Ensemble’s UN Sustainable Arts Initiative at NYU, the Rarities of Piano Music Festival (Festival neue Musik Husum), Tuesdays at Monk Space @ Villa Aurora, the Tonali 2017 Festival, the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater, and has been broadcasted on 90.7 KPFK’s “Native Sounds.” In July 2017, Köster was funded by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Shanghai Conservatory to spend a month researching the Folk Music of the Guangxi Provence and ultimately compose a large work for orchestra “inspired” by these marginalised musicians. A compendium of this piece and his other orchestral works has been self released as an EP on Bandcamp under the title “too much ego. (Symphonic works).” The finale of his EP , “The Empty City Stratagem” for tenor and large orchestra , was awarded the William Schuman Prize by the BMI foundation as 2016’s “most outstanding score.”

One of eight internationally chosen musicians, Köster is a composer in residence and research fellow for 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, a work for the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra based on the poetry of Erich Fried, and a septet commissioned by the B.K.M/Zukunft der Orchester Kultur (F.O.C. Fellows) for a tour in America and Asia.

Naming composers Xiaoyong Chen, Frank Ticheli, and A.J. McCaffrey as his most significant mentors, Köster earned his Master of Music Degree with an emphasis in orchestral composition at the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater and graduated summa cum laude with his BM in composition at the USC Thornton School of Music where he studied on a nearly full Scholarship.  Köster has also been a visiting composer/theorist at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music under the supervision of Ye Gouhui where he participated in the 2018 “Serialism in China”  Theory Congress, and participated in various master classes at the 2015/2017 Shanghai New Music Weeks.

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

Tristan is the father of a beautiful and powerful infant daughter, shares two cats (Olive M, and Sophie G.) with his wife Katie, loves to cook, travel, and swim exceptionally long distances. He also maintains a full teaching schedule of about 20 private students at the Musik Atelier Ottensen.

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.