Jazz violinist, educator, and producer Christian Howes grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where he studied classically from the age of five, performing as a soloist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at age 16 and later receiving his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the Ohio State University.
At age twenty, a “cultural intervention” occurred when Christian had the opportunity to perform at regular gospel church services. “Playing in the gospel church services influenced me to change musical directions. The experience was so different from the classical music world; it felt fresh and inspiring. It became my mission to become a violinist with a strong voice in jazz.” Since his shift 21 years ago, he has gained great notoriety from critics and players alike as one of the world’s most respected jazz violinists. Christian was a favorite of the late Les Paul, with whom he worked for 11 years. Says Christian of his mentor, “Les defied categorization in terms of age or genre. His character, approach to life, and musicianship taught me many valuable lessons.” From 2001-2010 Howes become an in-demand violinist on the New York scene, collaborating with a bevy of top shelf jazz artists, including Greg Osby, D.D. Jackson, Frank Vignola, Joel Harrison, Dafnis Prieto, Dave Samuels, Spyro Gyra, and a 4-year chair in Bill Evans’ “Soulgrass” band.
In 2013, he was voted among the top three violinists in JazzTimes’ “2012 Expanded Critics Poll“. In August 2011, Christian was ranked as the #1 “Rising Star” violinist in the Downbeat Critics Poll. He was a nominee for the Jazz Journalists Association’s “Violinist Of The Year” in 2011. In 2012, he received the Residency Partnership from Chamber Music America for his work in outreach with orchestral education programs. He regularly tours throughout Asia, Europe, and the U.S. as a leader of his own groups and a soloist with orchestras. Says All About Jazz, ”as a jazz violinist he has no peer.” The Minneapolis Tribune called Christian “arguably the most intriguing young violinist in jazz.” According to the Chicago Reader, “Not since Jean Luc Ponty has a violinist ranged from pure classical to fuzz-tone rock to convincing jazz with such authority.”
In April 2013, Christian Howes & Southern Exposure performed at the historic Lincoln Center in New York City for an unprecedented six consecutive nights. Since then, Christian has enjoyed touring extensively both with the Southern Exposure ensemble and as a solo artist, including the honor of performing with the Tucson Pops Orchestra.