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ConductorChristian Lindberg (born 1958) is a Swedish trombone virtuoso. Lindberg has premiered over 200 works, including over 70 new concerti. His performances are characterised as having “a charismatic intensity of delivery” (New Grove, OUP).
Growing up in Sweden, he learned to play the trumpet before taking up the trombone at the age of 17. He originally borrowed a trombone to join his friends’ dixieland jazz group, inspired by records of Jack Teagarden.
“I got completely obsessed by the trombone when I first played it. I loved it passionately. The whole world opened up for me.” (Lindberg, The Independent 1995)
He soon started studying with Sven-Erik Eriksson at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music. By the age of 19 he had a professional position in the Royal Swedish Opera Orchestra and at 20 he left the orchestral career behind to study to become a full-time soloist. He studied with John Iveson at the Royal College of Music (1979–80) and with Ralph Sauer and Roger Bobo in Los Angeles (1983).
In 1981 he had his first big break, winning the Nordic Soloists’ Biennale competition. He had his concert debut in 1984 with the Trombone Concerto by Henri Tomasi with the Swedish RSO conducted by Saraste. In the same year he signed a recording contract by Robert von Bahr and released his first solo CD on the BIS label, “The Virtuoso Trombone”. Initially commissioned for an impressive three album deal to cover the most challenging music in the repertoire, Lindberg has gone on to produce over 60 solo CDs.
He initially worked with pianist and college friend Roland Pontinen and local composer Jan Sandstrom. Early fame came with Sandstrom’s notorious “Motorbike Concerto”, which involves all the sounds of a motorbike from revving, gear changes and skidding, and a complete story told through the trombone.
Lindberg’s facility on the trombone is among the greatest on his instrument. For example, his performance of the solo violin part of “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” concerti requires amazing speed, accuracy, stamina, flexibility and range as with his interpretation of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee". By contrast, he brings his lyrical playing abilities to pieces such as “Julietta’s Farewell” from his arrangement of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet”.
He is best known for his performance of avant-garde and other theatrical works, achieving a marvellous audience rapport. His repertoire includes Luciano Berio’s “Sequenza V”, Sandstrom’s “Motorbike Concerto”, Fredrik Hogberg’s “The Ballad of Kit Bones” and “Su ba do be”.
He has developed his tone in the German tradition of a thick, warm sound, often with a fast vibrato. This is the most striking difference between Lindberg’s playing and the American and British virtuosi, who tend toward a more focused, free sound. Lindberg plays on a Conn 88H-CL trombone, which facilitates his thick, warm sound.
His compositional career began at the age of 39 after Jan Sandstrom convinced Lindberg to try his hand at composition. His first-performed work was “Arabenne” for trombone and strings, recorded in 1997.
In 2000 he made his conducting debut with the Northern Sinfonia in the UK. He is now a regular conductor for the Nordic Chamber Orchestra and the Swedish Wind Ensemble.
Recently, Christian Lindberg was commissioned to write a concerto for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and their bass trombonist Charles Vernon. The concerto was written for the alto, tenor, and bass trombones where the soloist switched between the three instruments. Its premiere was a roaring success, Charles Vernon received an extensive review and analysis of the 2007 for the trombone with several new concertos premiering next year in the New York Times.
In 2009 the New Trombone Collective will premiere a special written composition by Lindberg for the NTC and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducting by Christian himself. This will take place on the European Trombone Festival "Slide Factory 2009".
1 Theatre Square
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street