German-Australian pianist Max Petersen is among the most promising instrumental musicians of his generation in western Europe. As a band leader, he released five albums, the last two of which were highly praised in the international press. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) praised his album Dream Dancing as an “unicum in the history of jazz piano” and Zurich’s Kultur-Tipp wrote about 2019 release Divine Traces: “It’s hard to believe that the Australian Max Petersen, who is based in Winterthur, is only 25. His technical brilliance is breathtaking, his quotes and allusions range from baroque to bebop, his musicality is based on folk song and jazz ballad as well as minimal and new music.”
In New York, as a student of well-known personal such as Fred Hersch and Vijay Iyer, Max Petersen was exposed as a teenager, to an environment with a very high level of musical expertise, which particularly shaped his musical path. Although he is based in Switzerland, he maintained regular contact with the New York music scene, during his studies at the Zurich University of the Arts, which also led to the two-year collaboration with New York drummer Jimmy Macbride. During this time an intensive engagement with classical music began, which should lead to the two-pronged musical path that he still drives today. In addition to his work as a jazz pianist, Max Petersen also works as a classical pianist and studied with the classical concert pianists Ronald Brautigam, Hans-Jürg Strub and Galina Vracheva. The latter is a renowned specialist in classical concert improvisation, with whom Max Petersen also grappled and which strongly influenced his playing – also in jazz.
With Cologne based drummer Fabian Arends and Zurich based bassist Dominique Girod, he presented his last trio album “Divine Traces” in 2019. This one moves between the borders of African American music, improvised and new music, as well as classical and romantic piano music. It is the latest expression of the fresh-on-the-scene player and innovator Max Petersen, who constantly, like a sponge, absorbs new influences and creates music in the spirit of our times.