Born December 2, 1969 in Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Fay Claassen first of all trained in dance and ballet at the ballet academy in Arnhem before in 1990 she studied vocal jazz with Rachel Gould at the royal conservatory in Den Haag. During her studies, in which she received two prizes (“Onderscheiding van Uitmuntendheid“) for jazz timing and jazz improvisation, she began her professional career as a jazz singer in the bands of among others Tony Overwater, Carolyn Breuer and the Amsterdam Jazz Quintett.
She works with such musicians as, Barry Harris (on the first solo CD ,”With a Song in my Heart”, in the year 2000 for Challenge Records), Toots Thielemans, Mike Stern, and Kenny Werner (“Rhythms and Rhymes”, 2002), Rita Reys (North Sea Jazz Festival 2008). From 2005 to 2008, she was a member of the formation “One Heart, Three Voices” with the singers David Linx and Maria Pia DeVito. She was guest soloist with the “Metropole Orchestra” in the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 under the direction of Vincent Mendoza and Jim McNeely. She gave concerts with the Sky Masters, the jazz orchestra of the Concertgebouw, the WDR Big Band, and the Danish Radio Big Band under the direction of Jim McNeely.
Fay Claassen has up to now published 5 CDs under her own name. In December 2009, she will record her new CD with the WDR Big Band with arrangements by Michael Abene. As a guest soloist, she can be heard on fourteen additional CDs.
Her project “2 Portraits of Chet Baker” brought her worldwide euphoric reviews, as well as the first “Chet Baker Award”, in 2006 in Amsterdam, a first place in the “All about Jazz”-critics poll in New York and the “Choc” from the French jazz magazine “Jazzman”.
Fay Claassen’s current album “Red, Hot and Blue” got her placed on the “Grammy pre-nomination list” for the “Best Jazz Vocal Album, 2009”. For “The Shakespeare Album” in November 2009, she received the Dutch “Edison Award”. The “Edison Award” is the most renowned music prize of the Netherlands, comparable to the “Echo” in Germany.
In 2006, she was on tour with her trio in Japan, gave concerts at the North Sea Jazz Festival (1998, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008), at the jazz festivals in Namur, Brosella, Brussels (Belgium), the Kilkenny Arts Festival (Ireland), Jazz Á Junas, the Paris Jazz Festival, the Berlin Days of Jazz, the Music Triennal 2007 in Cologne, the Jazz Festival Viersen, Jazz Maastricht, the Hilden Days of Jazz, the Monte Carlo Jazz Festival, the Reims Jazz Festival. She gave master classes and concerts at the International Association of Jazz Educators (IJAE) in Los Angeles and New York. She is to be heard on all the important stages of Europe both with her own groups, and as guest in projects of other musicians.
Musicians such as among others Diederik Wissels, Ivan Paduart, Bert Joris, Robert Jan Vermeulen, Michael Abene, as well as song writers such as David Linx, Robin Goldsby, Joy Misa and others appreciate her extraordinary interpretational and improvisational talent and have written many compositions and texts especially for her, on which Fay Claassen has always put her individual stamp in her 20-year professional career.