Mateusz Smoczynski - violin Benni von Gutzeit - viola Mateusz Smoczyński - winner of the 2nd International Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition. Best jazz violinist of 2017 by Jazz Forum, European
Mateusz Smoczynski – violin
Benni von Gutzeit – viola
Mateusz Smoczyński – winner of the 2nd International Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition. Best jazz violinist of 2017 by Jazz Forum, European Magazine. Since 2017 he teaches jazz violin at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. He has performed at chief jazz stages and festivals nearly all over the world, and cooperated with the artists of the order of Branford Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Gil Goldstein, Richie Beirach, Glen Moore, Zbigniew Namysłowski, Tomasz Stańko, Urszula Dudziak, Władysław “Adzik” Sendecki, Leszek Możdżer, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Natalia Kukulska, Anna Maria Jopek, Monika Borzym, Grzech Piotrowski, and Sebastian Karpiel Bułecka. Participated in the world premiere performance of Zbigniew Seifert’s jazz concerto, together with Joachim Kühn, Bronisław Suchanek, Janusz Stefański, and Bohdan Jarmołowicz. Leader of a quintet, member of the New Trio, and a founding member of the Atom String Quartet. In 2012–16 Mateusz Smoczyński was the first violin in the American Turtle Island Quartet (winner of two Grammy awards). In 2013, the band were invited to participate in the recording of Grammy-nominated After Blue album of Tierney Sutton.
Benjamin von Gutzeit, one of only a handful of true jazz violists worldwide, was born in Bochum, Germany, into a musical family. His father is a well-known music pedagogue; his mother a pianist and two of his siblings are classical string players. He began his viola studies at the age of four, starting on a very small violin that was fitted with viola strings. He received instructions from his father until age twelve when he became the student of violist Emile Cantor of the Orpheus String Quartet. Benni consecutively won the 1992 and 1994 German Youth Competition Jugend Musiziert, which led to a solo concert tour in Japan. At age fifteen, he developed a fascination for popular music and took up playing the electric bass in addition to viola. From 2001 to 2004 he studied at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria, under the tutelage of jazz violinist Andreas Schreiber. In 2004 Benni moved to Holland to further his jazz studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with saxophonists Ferdinand Povel and Jasper Blom and guitarist Jesse van Ruller. He became an active participant of the Dutch jazz scene and performed with numerous groups including: Elastic Jargon by Maurice Horsthuis and Starvinsky Orkestar by Martin Fondse. He was sought after at prominent concert venues and festivals such as the Bimhuis and the famed North Sea Jazz Festival. In 2010 he moved to New York City (supported by scholarships of the Dutch Fonds Podiumkunsten, the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben and the Kogel&Schmidt Foundation) and became the first violist to earn a Master’s Degree from the Jazz department of the Manhattan School of Music. Benni has performed and recorded with many great musicians including jazz violinist Mark Feldman, electronic music virtuoso Matthew Herbert, cellist Ernst Reijseger, and Saxophonist Dave Liebman.
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