biography

Julie Sassoon 2 - Photographer - David Beecroft.jpg

British pianist/composer Julie Sassoon is classically trained on piano and violin. She graduated in music and fine art in 1988, winning prizes for her classical piano performances and later completed postgraduate studies in jazz piano and Indian violin.

 

She came to the attention of critics and audiences in 2000, when she formed the remarkable ‘Azilut!’ trio with drummer Bart van Helsdingen and reeds player Lothar Ohlmeier, praised as ‘capable of miracles’ by the Guardian.

 

Whether touring with Max Richter’s ’Piano Circus’, opening Berlin’s prestigious contemporary music festival, Maerzmusik with Julius Eastman’s 4-piano works or playing solo at the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, the London Jazz Festival, the Royal Festival Hall with the legendary band Oregon or with Enrico Pieranunci, collaborating with Israeli singer Efrat Alony, trumpeter Tom Arthurs and drummer, master of free improvisation Willi Kellers, Julie Sassoon’s musical versatility takes her world-wide.

 

In 2006 Julie released her first solo album ‘New Life’ on Babel Records (London) and has since performed solo internationally. On the Berlin Jazzwerkstatt Label, her second piano album ‘Land of Shadows’ explores her German-Jewish identity – a theme that has become a prominent part of her musical output since relocating from London to Berlin in 2009. RBB Kulturradio recorded and broadcast her concerts at the Neue Synagoge, Berlin and Bauhaus Theatre, Dessau amongst others. The result is a highly emotive and unique album. 

In lockdown she released her 3rd solo album - ‘If You Can’t Go Outside… Go Inside’ - recently described as ‘an album which can be counted as one of 2021's top solo piano outings…’ in allaboutjazz.com.

 

In 2015 she formed the ‘Julie Sassoon Quartet’ with Lothar Ohlmeier (tenor sax/bass clarinet), Meinrad Kneer (bass) and Rudi Fischerlehner (drums). Their first album ‘Fourtune’, recorded at RBB Kulturradio Studios in Berlin was voted the CD choice of Bayerischer Rundfunk. Since then they have toured extensively, playing jazz festivals and venues throughout Europe and the UK, highlights of which include 2 sell-out performances at the Elbphilharmonie Concert hall in 

Hamburg. Their latest album ‘Voyages’ was released in December 2021 and has just been nominated by the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik as one of the most outstanding contemporary Jazz albums, as well as Guardian's Jazz Album of the month by John Fordham.

 

Other projects include ‘Inside Colours’ Duo with Lothar Ohlmeier, founded in 1998 and featured many times with live concert recordings for Bayerischer Rundfunk, and ‘Sassoon/Kellers’ Duo, Julie’s free improvising duo with Willi Kellers, which has been captivating audiences at European festivals and clubs since its formation in 2017.

 

As a visual artist Julie has exhibited her paintings in London, Manchester, Edinburgh & Berlin.

 

She has played with:
Andreas Willers, Frank Paul Schubert, Efrat Alony, Lothar Ohlmeier, Bart van Helsdingen, Willi Kellers, Stan Sulzmann, Jan Roder, Tom Arthurs, Samuel Rohrer, Yorgos Dimitriadis, Miles Perkin, Rudi Fischerlehner, Ingrid Laubrock, Petr Cancura, Ernst Surberg, Christoph Grund, Samuel Blaser, Stefan Werni, Hans Kanty, Christian Jandreiko, Nora Thiele, Matthias Müller, Milo Fell, Samuel Hall, Philippe Lemoine, Karen Street, Andy Tweed, Mike Walker, Nikki Iles, Martha Lewis, Klaus Kuervers, Max Richter, Paul Schwingenschloegel, Kalle Mews, Paul Brody, Tobias Klein, Dylan Bates, Stevko Busch, Susanne Folk, Peter van Huffel, Sophie Tassignon, Elisabeth Tuchmann, Sam Britton, Dave Kane, Jasper Hoiby, Stuart Ritchie.