Winner of the 2008 Canadian Smooth Jazz Award for Best Pianist, this Bulgarian piano prodigy is definitely hitting his stride.
Having recently relocated to Vancouver, Kristian is excited to present his latest CD Akoustika, a firm nod to his jazz roots. Akoustika features original contemporary jazz compositions recorded old-school, live off the floor in an acoustic trio format at the Calgary Opera Centre. The simplicity of the recording was inspired by the audio imagery of the old Blue Note albums – piano on the left, bass in the middle and drums on the right. The spared down format provides the perfect backdrop for these beautiful and complex compositions, as Kristian effortlessly weaves through odd-metre signatures and Bulgarian modes.
Born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, Kristian grew up in a family of musicians and was surrounded by music from a very early age. He was exposed to a variety of world music styles: Bulgarian folk, Classical, Afro-Cuban and Contemporary Jazz. Recognizing his talent, Kristian's parents enrolled him in classical piano classes at the age of four. At six years of age, Kristian was accepted into the prestigious L. Pipkov School of Music where he completed his musical education, twelve years of intense training as a pianist and percussionist. Kristian’s natural ability, extensive training and passion for performance enabled him to tour across much of Europe by the age of nineteen.
Since moving to Canada in 1995, Kristian has firmly entrenched himself in the Canadian music scene - as an active composer, performer, producer, clinician and studio musician. One of the highlights is Kristian’s thirteen year musical involvement with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks’ as composer and musical director. Onstage Kristian has worked alongside some tremendous Canadian and International artists, including Randy Brecker, Eric Marienthal, Alain Caron, Bob Mintzer, Jens Lindemann, George Koller, Joshua Hilberman, Senator Tommy Banks, Tap Tel Aviv, Shannon Gaye and Jackie Richardson.
June 2008, Kristian was invited to the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) 33rd Annual Conference as the pianist in the jazz trio accompanying the featured artists. The ITG extravaganza, hosted by Jens Lindemann at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, gave Kristian the incredible opportunity to share the stage with Wycliffe Gordon and Sean Jones (Lincoln Jazz Orchestra), Adam Rapa, Mike Murley, Guido Basso, G.G. Shinn, Ramon Vasquez, Lorenzo Trujillo, Benoit Glazer, and Andrea Tofanelli.
This past February, Kristian was thrilled to perform in the Orchestra for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.