Django Bates Professor
Bern Academy of the Arts
Family / Artistic Pursuits / Care of Sauerteig
BA & MA
Piano, Composition, Trans-disciplinary +, Rhythm 5 & 6 (BA3), Ensembles include 'South African Bluenotes: the music of Dudu Pukwana and the exiles' / 'Beloved Bird: the music of Charlie Parker arranged by Bates' / 'Bern Art Ensemble 22-piece jazz orchestra.'
- Django Bates, born 1960 in Beckenham, Kent, UK, is a pianist, Eb horn player, and composer, who credits the variety of musical influences in his work to his childhood. His father was a collector of Jazz, Romanian, and African folk music.
A founder member of Loose Tubes, Django was a leading light in the 1980s European jazz renaissance. The London Sinfonietta, The Brodsky Quartet, Joanna MacGregor, Britten Sinfonia, Royal Shakespeare Company, and Duisburg Philharmonic are some of the many groups that have commissioned new works from Django. As an internationally respected musician he has appeared alongside Bill Bruford, Dudu Pukwana, Sidsel Endresen, Wynton Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Evan Parker, Ronnie Scott. In 1997 Django was awarded the prestigious Danish Jazzpar prize, dubbed the ‘Nobel Prize of Jazz’.
Django was the inaugural artistic director of FuseLeeds04: UK’s biennial new music festival. For the opening concert he composed ‘Umpteenth Violin Concerto’ for violinist Ernst Kovacic and, in honour of improvising saxophonist Evan Parker’s 60th birthday, Django commissioned sixty composers including Gavin Bryars, Laurie Anderson, Sir Patrick Moore and John Zorn to write one bar each. He then quilted these bars into the piece ‘Premature Celebration’ which was performed by The London Sinfonietta with Evan Parker and Paul Lytton improvising to music they had never previously heard.
In 2010 Django released Belovèd Bird; a celebration of his childhood hero Charlie Parker, for which he used the classic acoustic piano trio constellation, beloved of jazz listeners and players throughout the world. Django continued the exploration of Parker’s work with the release of the albums Confirmation and Tenacity. Here Django included original pieces which stand in their own right but also serve to recontextualise Parker’s lines, using the same rhythmic and harmonic signature that is brought to bear in the re-workings of Donna Lee, Confirmation, et al.
When Django was commissioned to write The Study Of Touch for a BBC Proms concert in 2013, the work inspired Manfred Eicher to produce a new Belovèd album, this time focusing on Django’s own compositions. This rekindling of Django’s relationship with the ECM label has led on to the project Blue Maqams in which he plays with Oud player Anouar Brahem, Dave Holland and Jack Dejohnette. The Study Of Touch was honoured with a British Composers Award for Contemporary Jazz Composition in December 2014. The album The Study Of Touch was released in 2017.
In 2019 Django was awarded an Ivor Novello award for the 'inimitable differences he's made to the sound and evolution of jazz in Europe and the wider world over the years' (Fordham).
- 2005 - 2011 Professor Rhythmic Music Conservatorium in Copenhagen, Denmark
Generations 2021 in Frauenfeld. The Bern Art Ensemble will perform two concerts at the festival. The first presenting compositions of young CH-based composers, the second presenting the music of Bates.
The Ivors Academy (UK)
Language skills and intercultural knowledge
- English - Native or bilingual proficiency
- German - Professional working proficiency
- United Kingdom