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Hayden Chisholm

Hayden Chisholm (born 1975 in Otahuhu, New Zealand ) is a saxophonist and composer.

He was raised in New Plymouth, New Zealand, where his parents encouraged him to start with piano at the age of eight and clarinet two years later. His first saxophone experience came playing with the local school and Dixieland bands. At the age of seventeen he moved to Switzerland and soon after began his music studies in Germany.

Hayden studied saxophone at the Cologne Musikhochschule with Frank Gratkowski where he received his Masters in Saxophone at the age of twenty-two. At the age of twenty-three he received a New Zealand Young Achievers’ Award and soon after, the prestigious City of Cologne Prize for Improvised Music. He used these scholarships to continue his music studies in Japan and Southern India where he also recorded for Indian films in Chennai. He has continued to travel extensively, collecting musical information and studying the various thought schools.

He has toured and performed throughout Asia, Africa, North and South America and Oceana as a solo artist and with groups such as Root70, Pluramon, Jaki Liebezeit (ex-Can), and Flanger, The Embassadors, often with the support of the Goethe Cultural Institute. Between his travels he has written and performed music for the National German Theater in Hamburg as well as having compositions recorded by WDR and BBC radios. He founded the Subultra group which won the distinguished NRW Prize for Performing Arts in Germany and was composer in residence at the Muzik3 festival in San Diego from 1998 through 2000.

His saxophone influences include Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Art Pepper. He cites other influences as Japanese Gagaku music, nature sounds, Gilberto Gil, Anton Webern, Maricio Kagel, Olivier Messiaen, Pablo Casals, Yannis Xenakis, and many literary sources as inspiration behind his music.

As a teacher he fuses such areas as breath work, taiji, ear-training, meditation, and voice training (he is a master of overtone –singing) in his saxophone courses. He has taught at universities in Cologne, Hanover, Berlin, Lima, Novosibirsk, and gives annual Master Classes on Mount Pilion in Greece.

In 2000 he was commissioned by the City of Cologne to compose for the Doderer Literature Prize. The winner that year, Martin Mosebach then introduced him to Rebecca Horn. This was the beginning of a collaboration that continues until today. His work with her is wide ranging, from composing the music for major site- specific installations “Moonmirror” (Mallorca, 2003), “Lumiere en Prison” (Paris, 2002) , Spiriti de Madre Perla” (Naples, 2002), “Twilight Transit” ( NYC 2004), Heart Shadows ( Lisbon, 2005), Das Universum in einer Perle” (Berlin, 2006), to photographic work featured in her book “Notebook Samarkand”(2001) and Cosmic Maps (2008). He recomposed the music for her early performance films which was released on a complete DVD set in 2005 and in 2007 he created the music to accompany the Rebecca Horn show at the Samsung Museum in Seoul. In 2008 he worked as assistant director with Horn for the Sciarrino Opera “Luci mie traditrici” at the Salzburger Festspiele.

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Album Review

Hayden Chisholm: Breve

Read "Breve" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Saxophonist Hayden Chisholm, who hails from New Zealand, has set up shop in in Germany. His debut set as a leader for Germany's Pirouet Records, Breve, features a teaming with fellow Kiwi, bassist Matt Penman, and British piano legend John Taylor, The sound, untethered by the rhythmic anchoring of a drummer, has a smooth, clean, almost classical feel--a string quartet tackling these tunes wouldn't seem out of place. Noticeable in the first thirty seconds of the disc's opener ...

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Moers Residency a Good Fit for Hayden Chisholm

Moers Residency a Good Fit for Hayden Chisholm

Source: All About Jazz

By Phillip Woolever With theatrical drama, dynamic performing colleagues and a flair for winding wind and wordplay, Hayden Chisholm, this year's Improviser in Residency, adds a unique dimension to his twelve-month tenure at Moers 2015. The Moers residency was initiated as part of the festival's cultural, community commitment. Despite some recent cutbacks, Moers has expanded overall and has been able continue with some valuable aspects of an “avant" program, bringing local citizens closer to the artists than ...



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Pirouet Records


Coptic Dub




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