A classically-trained pianist and self-taught jazzperformer, Michael Arbenz brings the passionate curiosity of his self-directed investigations in jazz to the rigour of his classical performance practice. After studying classical piano in Basel, Michael Arbenz’s international classical career has included collaborations with Pierre Boulez, Heinz Holliger, Jürg Wyttenbach and the Swiss new music ensemble Contrechamps. Discovering a love of jazz as a child, his self-guided exploration of both the techniques of improvisation and the history of jazz was fresh and personal, and his approach to improvisation is multilayered rather than linear, using the piano as an orchestra. His jazz influences are very eclectic and include major jazz pianists across the history of the music, as well as colours and ideas from classical music. He has performed widely with the acclaimed VEIN trio, and has collaborated with international stars including Greg Osby, Glenn Ferris, Dave Liebman, Marc Johnson, Wolfgang Puschnig, and Andy Sheppard.
Michael Arbenz also works as a composer and arranger and teaches in the Jazz Department at the University of Lucerne.