Carsten Dahl

b. 1967



Any attempt to give a brief description of Carsten Dahl’s musical style would have to be quickly abandoned. Here is a musician with absolutely no desire to tie himself to any form or genre, and there is literarily no musical expression he hasn’t tried. Carsten Dahl is known for his work as jazz oriented pianist, but he is a musician and composer that moves unimpeded from the bebop tradition via completely free improvisation to classical music. Carsten Dahl is without a doubt among this century's greatest pianists. Latest he has been known for his highly acclaimed classical compositions and piano works, such as The 5th Dimension that premiered in 2013.

Solo piano is very important to Carsten Dahl, a challenge where he finds the greatest potential to work with space and time, to create music that relates to the moment. It’s for his two solo albums that he has received the DMA Jazz Prize for Best Record in 2004 and 2011. Here he takes inspiration from both classical pianist Glenn Gould and jazz pianists like Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Bud Powell; cultivating improvisation in extreme situations. There are also clear inspirations from contemporary music and different world regions and folk music - one of very few people able to bring together many global inspirations into one comprehensive personal expression with a clear artistic signature.
Critical Acclaim
...Pianist Carsten Dahl is a grand musician - Thomas Michelsen, Politiken

... Order more from him! - Thomas Michelsen, Politiken


Carsten Dahl is a composer, pianist and drummer. In his late teens he made his mark as a studio musician, and shortly afterwards began studying at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. After two years of study with among others Ed Thigpen and Alex Riel, Carsten Dahl changed instruments and began playing piano.

Quickly Carsten Dahl made a name for himself as one of Denmark’s most promising jazz pianists; partly in close, long-lasting collaborations with a number of Danish musicians of the same generation such as Thomas Blachman and Lennart Ginman; partly in concerts and recordings with an array of international jazz names such as Eddie Gomez, Didier Lockwood, Johnny Griffin, Dave Liebman, Billy Harper and Jerry Bergonzi.

Carsten Dahl’s interest in free jazz and free improvisation has made him a collaborator and coach for Ensemble MidtVest. This has led to among other things a CD of improvised music for Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis. He cultivates playful, free expression on the stage, on the one hand as a soloist and on the other in the group Carsten Dahl Experience.

Alongside jazz, classical music has also interested Carsten Dahl. Through work with and recordings of Johan Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations on pre­pared piano and Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, Carsten Dahl’s interest in composing classical music has been enhanced. This interest has seen its most significant expres­sion so far in the work The Fifth Dimension for soloists, choir and orchestra from 2012. Since then there has been a piano concerto, and several new projects are in the melting pot.

For Carsten Dahl music is something spiritual – an intense, irresistible force. He is not afraid to speak openly about his psychiatric diagnosis, which he calls both a blessing and a curse in relation to his work as a musician and composer.

Hjarne Fessel 2014


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