My guest today is world class performing violinist, educator and composer, Christian Howes!
From 2001 to 2009, Howes was an in-demand violinist on the New York scene, collaborating with a bevy of top shelf jazz artists, including Randy Brecker, Jack Dejohnette, Steve Turre, Greg Osby, D.D. Jackson, Lenny White, Frank Vignola, Joel Harrison, Dafnis Prieto, Dave Samuels, Spyro Gyra, and a 4-year chair in Saxophonist Bill Evans’ “Soulgrass” band. Howes was a favorite of the late Les Paul, with whom he worked closely for 11 years. Les Paul said, “It used to be you could hardly find a good jazz violinist. Nowadays there are four or five really good players, but there is nobody better than this guy.”
Since 2011, Howes was voted #1 in the Downbeat Critics Poll under the “Rising Stars/Violin” category, named among the top three jazz violinists in the JazzTimes critics poll, and nominated for Violinist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association. He received the Residency Partner Award through Chamber Music America for residencies in school orchestras, earned a USArtists grant through the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and was invited by the U.S. State department to teach and perform as a cultural ambassador in Ukraine and Montenegro.
His 2013 release on Resonance Records, “Southern Exposure” earned recognition in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Downbeat, Jazz Times, as well as a six-night run at Lincoln Center. His 2015 release, “American Spirit” was named among the Best Jazz Albums of 2015″ by the Huffington Post. Howes is the founder of “Creative Strings“, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to expand music education through the creation of online curriculum, an annual summer conference, and dozens of visits to schools annually teaching improvisation, contemporary styles, and related subjects.
We talk about his background and how he developed into one of the top jazz violinists, his approach to composition, how he is helping students around the country get introduced to improvisation with his organization Creative Strings, his opinion on the state of music education and much, much more!