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Maximilian Shaikh-Yousef, by Markus Hammrich


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German-Arab composer, arranger, and instrumentalist Maximilian Shaikh-Yousef has cultivated a diverse musical language over the past ten years with which he tells his urban fairy tales. His latest project – The Mini-Maxi-Orchestra – brings to life a blend of jazz tradition and orchestral music of the nineteenth century. His sense of dramaturgy and motivic development is influenced by composers such as Bob Brookmeyer, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Kenton, Igor Stravinsky, and György Ligeti.


In his 10-piece large ensemble SH4iKH 9 extended, Maximilian combines broadly-orchestrated modern jazz with the classic style of a singer-songwriter. In collaboration with the Austrian singer Veronika Morscher, he has created a new programme for the 51st German Jazzfestival 2020, dealing with a diverse array of topics, from social-cultural concerns to delicate emotional tales


As artistic director, Maximilian organized a tour to the KatJazz Festival 2022 in Nepal in cooperation with the Goethe Institute, the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory and UNESCO. For this occasion, he also arranged Nepali traditional music for his ensemble and soloists Jhuma Limbu, Manice Gandharva, Sabin Ghising, Tomás Carrasco and Moa Nicolás Edmunds Guevara and gave masterclasses at the conservatory.

During Maximilian’s studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, his work was primarily focused on large orchestrations reaching beyond conventional big band instrumentations. In the fall of 2021, a week-long collaboration between the ERT Contemporary Music Orchestra Greece and Amsterdam based jazz-trombonist Charalampos Chronis paved Maximilian’s path to orchestral jazz. He arranged the band’s debut album "When Gray Shines the Brightest", which will be broadcasted in the fall of 2022.

As one of the founders and leaders of the German-based big band Projekt Orion, Maximilian composes and arranges music exclusively for artists such as Julian Argüelles and Frederik Köster. Meanwhile, he has had productions with the hr-Jazzensemble and worked as composer and arranger with the NSJO, Nachtlicht Ensemble, Bundesjazzorchester of Germany, in addition to working with various soloists like Harmen Fraanje, Fay Claassen, Bart van Lier, Christoph Lauer, John Schröder, Sebastian Sternal and Gerald Clayton.

I am very pleased that with Maximilian Shaikh-Yousef we are honouring a musician who has already developed a remarkable individual expression in his musical works

- Dr. Ina Hartwig, Kulturdezernentin der Stadt Frankfurt

"Gave a really remarkable concert in the Frankfurter Romanfabrik"

- Claus Gnichwitz, hr2 Jazzfacts

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