Primary Instrument: Piano
Kristjan is a dazzling piano player says Herbie Hancock after the 2006 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.
The Estonian pianist and composer Kristjan Randalu started his music education at the age of 6 in Tallinn - both his parents being classical pianists. After the move to Germany Kristjan studied classical piano with Sontraud Speidel and Patrick O'Byrne in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart and jazz piano with Paul Schwarz in Stuttgart, additionally having lessons with John Taylor in Cologne. In 2001 he continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Geoff Keezer (piano), Iain Ballamy, and Django Bates (composition). In 2003 Kristjan Randalu studied at the City College of New York with Edward Simon and John Patitucci. Additionally he studied composition with Daniel Schnyder. In 2006 Kristjan received his Master's Degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Kenny Barron, Garry Dial, Phil Markowitz, and Ted Rosenthal.
He is an alumnus of the Henry Mancini Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (2005 and 2006), where he recorded on the album Elevation (Concord) featuring Eddie Daniels and Tom Scott which received two Grammy award nominations.
Kristjan has played as a soloist in classical, jazz and cross-over projects e.g. with the National Symphony Orchestra of Estonia, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Stuttgart and the New Chamber Orchestra of Berlin in Europe, Israel, Turkey, Canada, and USA.
He has performed with Alex Acuna, Jay Anderson, Joel Frahm, Dieter Ilg, Quincy Jones, David Liebman, Christian McBride, Vince Mendoza, Bob Mintzer, Dick Oatts, John Pena, Gerard Presencer, Claudio Puntin, the Modern String Quartet, and Maria Schneider.
In 2002 Kristjan Randalu won the 2nd prize in the Solo Piano Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Randalu is the recipient of awards and scholarships from the Jürgen Ponto-Foundation, Art Foundation of Baden-Württemberg, German National Merit Foundation, European Foundation for Culture “Pro Europa”, Estonian National Culture Foundation, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, and the German Academic Exchange Service.
In 2007 Randalu received the Jazz Award of Baden-Württemberg, one of the most valuable Jazz awards in Germany with 15.000 EUR
In 2004 his Solo Piano CD Confidance (finetone music) was released and chosen for the CD of the month in the magazines Rondo (02/04) and Audio (04/04). The recording was also nominated for the Prize Of German CD Critics.
In February 2008 the new CD live with Grupa Janke Randalu will be released on Jazz'n'Arts Records - the 6th release by Kristjan Randalu.
In 2003 Kristjan performed his suite Nach dem Anfang vom Ende [After the beginning of the end] for piano and chamber orchestra at the festival jazz open in Stuttgart (with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Stuttgart), and with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.
In 2007 Randalu joined the faculty at the University of Music in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Kristjan is residing in New York City, where his recent performances include the 55 Bar, Jazz Gallery, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall.