Christian Garrick is an improvising violinist, a composer and a bandleader. He is active on the international concert circuit and on the London studio session scene. He is a professor of jazz and non-classical violin at three of London’s major music conservatoires.
Christian was born in 1971 and began violin aged five. He grew up in a 4-storey town house in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with his mother and father, two brothers, four pianos and a harpsichord . In a musical maelstrom of a household his father, Michael Garrick MBE, played jazz piano, composing music all day and night-long. Meanwhile, in the next room, his mother, Susan Robinson, taught piano and clarinet peripatetically. One day would involve an encounter with the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Spike Milligan, Nigel Kennedy or even Petula Clarke and the next, perhaps a trip to the Royal Festival Hall, where mum would be singing with the London Philharmonic Choir. There, a youthful Christian would bump into the likes of Olivier Messiaen, Itzhak Perlman, Klaus Tennstedt or Zubin Mheta.
At 8, he met Stephane Grappelli at The Stables in Wavendon, an encounter that would influence him and his playing enormously.
Brother, Gabriel, is an accomplished trumpeter and teacher. Gabriel runs the successful Jazz Academy music courses incepted by Michael Garrick. Youngest brother, Matthias, is a busy sound engineer and producer. Matthias has worked for the likes of Travis, Tim Minchin and Grace Jones.
Christian leant Suzuki method with Joan Penrose of Berkhamsted. Studies continued with Bernard Blay of Hitchin followed by an influential apprenticeship with the great British jazz violinist John Van Derrick. He studied at London's Royal Academy of Music between 1989 and 1994 gaining first-class honours in his performers' degree and winning the DipRAM in his post-graduate year. Among the many influential resident and visiting staff at the RAM were Hugh Fraser, Martin Speake, Nick Ingham, Steve Coleman, Jack Dejohnette, Chucho Valdez, Arturo Sandoval, Gary Peacock and Kenny Wheeler. Christian was subsequently made an Associate of the Royal Academy.
In 1987, aged 16, he established his first group Nobody’s Quartet with James Pearson (p), Allan Simpson (g) and Jon Noyce (b). In 1989 Nobody’s Quartet entered the Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Competition winning joint first place in the final round.
He has worked with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Nigel Kennedy, Julian Joseph, Bireli Lagrene, Dolly Parton, All About Eve, Van Morrison, Luka Bloom, Martin Taylor, Brian Ferry & Caro Emerald. He has made tours of the Far East and Australia with guitarist John Etheridge in a tribute to Stephane Grappelli and in 2001 he toured Israel with Dame Cleo Laine and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. His performance at the Genius of the Violin Festival in 2004 led to invitations to perform Piazzolla's Seasons with Barry Wordsworth at the Brighton Dome and then in London, at the Royal Festival Hall, in 2008. He has toured and recorded extensively with Parisian guitar virtuoso Angelo Debarre and is a member of Alec Dankworth's Spanish Accents. He formed the band Spirit O’ Stephane to celebrate the music of Grappelli. He works frequently in film and television for composers such as Danny Elfman, Anne Dudley, Howard Shore, George Fenton, Rachel Portman, Stephen Warbeck, Mark Thomas and Rob Lane.
He has recorded many solo albums of which Different Strokes was called "The outstanding British album of the year" in the Sunday Times. He has won the Benjamin Doniger Jazz Scolarship, Lansdowne Studios Award, Modena Prize, and the Cleo Johnson Composition Award, and in 1992 won admission to the International Association of the Schools of Jazz headed by Dave Liebman in Siena, Italy. His Quartet, with David Gordon on piano, Tom Hooper on drums and Jeremy Brown on double bass, were winners of the Special Award for Best Ensemble at 1999's BT Jazz Oscars. Christian has since been nominated for 'Best Rising Star' and for 'Best Miscellaneous Instrument’ on several occasions.
He performed on two occasions for the late Princess Diana. In a separate royal event he played for the Queen, Queen Mother and relations at Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles' 50th birthday celebrations.
In 2008 a violin concerto was written specially for him by Sir John Dankworth.
He plays violins by John Dilworth, Bodo Vosshenrich and John Jordan with bows by Pete Oxley and Kandler.
Christian has fronted the The Budapest Cafe Orchestra, the gypsy-beat specialists from Harringay, since 2009. He is a professor of jazz and non-classical violin studies at the Royal Academy of Music , Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and visiting guest professor to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.
“Christian Garrick is the best young violinist in jazz today.”
"Christian Garrick has revitalised jazz violin playing so that it has been rejuvenated for the 21st century. Whilst still able to play in the tradition established by Stephane Grappelli Christian has forged his own style which reflects his contemporary interests”
"If you know Christian Garrick as an elegant Hot Club de France violinist in the Thirties style of Stephane Grappelli, prepare to be amazed. His new double album, ‘firewire’, with keyboarder Dave Gordon leading an exceptional rhythm section, not only sounds totally 21st century but also swings like a hotel roof in a hurricane."
London Evening Standard
“He could easily emerge as one of the great jazz violinists of all time"
Sir John Dankworth
"Christian’s meltingly beautiful, light as air playing, his imaginative variety of sounds, and his impeccable taste, make him a very serious rival to Stephane Grappelli"
The Guardian 2008
2018 Sultan’s House Party w/Budapest Cafe Orchestra
2018 Le Départ w/Butterfly’s Wing
2017 Fifty Shades Of Goulash w/Budapest Cafe Orchestra
2017 Paper Jam w/David Gordon (p)
2016 Vib w/Spirit O'Stephane
2015 Bolero w/Budapest Cafe Orchestra
2015 The Gaelic Chronicles w/Budapest Cafe Orchestra
2014 Fromage w/Budapest Cafe Orchestra
2013 Lacrimoso w/Budapest Cafe Orchestra
2013 When The World Stopped For Snow w/John Etheridge and Liane Carroll
2012 Legends & Romances w/Budapest Cafe Orchestra
2010 Torrential Goulash w/Budapest Cafe Orchestra
2010 Flight Mode w/Dave Gordon, Ole Rasmussen, Tom Hooper
2009 Small Hotel w/Sweet Chorus
2009 Pocketful Of Rosin w/Budapest Cafe Orchestra
2009 Men On Wire w/John Etheridge
2008 Spanish Accents w/Alec Dankworth, Phil Robson, Julian Argüelles, Mark Miralta
2008 Christmas At The Stables w/Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, John Horler, Malcolm Creese, Matt Skelton, Anthony Kerr, Allan Ganley
2007 Live at Le Quecumbar w/Angelo Debarre Quartet
2007 Homage to Grappelli w/John Horler, Alec Dankworth, Allan Ganley
2006 At The Dimming Of the Day w/John Etheridge
2005 Firewire w/Dave Gordon, Ole Rasmussen, Tom Hooper, John Etheridge, Neil Craig
2003 Marzipan w/Dave Gordon, Ole Rasmussen, Tom Hooper, Eddie Hession
2002 Green And Pleasant Land w/Michael Garrick, Dominic Ashworth, Paul Moylan
2002 Impromptu w/Angelo Debarre Quartet
2001 Chasing Shadows w/Sweet Chorus
2001 Four Spirits w/Dave Gordon, Jeremy Brown, Tom Hooper
2000 Minor Swing w/Gary Potter, Nils Solberg, Andy Crowdy
1999 Different Strokes w/Dave Gordon, Jeremy Brown, Tom Hooper, Peter James, John Etheridge, Dave Kelbie, John Dankworth
1998 Sept Piece w/Andy Panayi, John Donaldson, Andy Cleyndert & Dave Mattacks
1998 Sweet Chorus w/Sweet Chorus
1996 The Secret Light Show w/Peter James, Jeremy Brown, Tom Hooper, Johnny Machin, Chris Vaughan, Julian Jackson, Chris Fish, Cliff Masterson, Chris George, Richard Sizer, Giles Broadbent, Ralph Broadbent, Nicole Wilson, Caroline Bishop, Bruce White, Joel Hunter, Julia Graham, Max Rutledge Turnlund, Pat White, Gabriel Garrick, Stuart Dunn, Bill Mee, Adrian Halliwell
1993 Nebuchadnezzar The Alec & John Dankworth Generation Band
Other recordings, not listed here, include those with Deva and Szapora.