Christian Mendoza, teacher

Christian Mendoza was born in Peru, but lived most of his life in Belgium.

After a period as a self-taught musician, he studied at the Conservatoria of Ghent and Brussels, where he had teachers such as Erik Vermeulen, Diederik Wissels, Nathalie Loriers, Kris Defoort, John Ruocco, Jeroen Van Herzeele and Stefan Lievestro.

He also followed workshops with Bill Carrothers, Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, Andy Milne, Ralph Alessi, Drew Gress, Bob Mintzer, David Haney, Julian Priester, Stéphane Galland, Christophe Walleme, Bert Joris, Jan Michiels en Moussa Dembélé.

In the summer of 2007 he attended the intensive workshop at the School for Improvisational Music in Brooklyn, NY, a meeting point where inspiring musicians such as Tim Berne, Marc Ducret, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Mark Helias, Jim Black, Tom Rainey shared their musical concepts. Another inspiring experience was participating to the “International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music”, at the Banff Centre, Canada, with Dave Douglas as artistic director. Faculty there included a.o. Adam Benjamin, Joshua Redman, Matt Penman, Clarence Penn, Tony Malaby, Angelica Sanchez, Ben Street, Hank Roberts and Don Byron.

Christian’s most important project at the moment is “Christian Mendoza Group”, a quintet with Ben Sluijs (altsax, flute), Joachim Badenhorst (tenorsax, clarinets), Brice Soniano (bass) and Teun Verbruggen (drums). This project did its premiere concert at the festival OdeGand 2008 (opening of the Festival of Flanders). 

In August 2009, they won the “Prix du Jury” at the international contest “Tremplin Jazz d’Avignon“ (France) in 2009. In March 2011, they presented their first recording, Arbr’-en-Ciel (WERF 098) , and did a jazzlabseries-tour in Belgium. They also performed at at the Ghent Jazz Festival 2010, Athens Eurojazz Festival 2011, Tremplin Jazz d’Avignon 2010, Belgian Jazz Meeting 2011.

Besides that he is very active as a sideman or co-leader in several other groups, such as Gowk (group of Teun Verbruggen), Bender Banjax (winner of the Young Jazz Talent Contest at the GentJazz festival in 2008), Antoine Prawerman’s Vegetal Beauty, a chamberjazz-trio called Sluijs-Mendoza-Vercampt, or the Christian Mendoza trio.

With those projects he had the opportunity to play at festivals such as the GentJazz Festival, Dinant Jazz Nights, OdeGand Festival of Flanders, JazzBrugge festival, Jazz in’t Park Ghent, Mexico EuroJazz Festival, Maastricht Jazz Festival. He also performed at several clubs and venues in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Germany and Mexico. As a freelance musician he has played with some of the finest musicians of the jazz and improv scene in Belgium, such as Ben Sluijs, Joachim Badenhorst, Jeroen Van Herzeele, Erik Bogaerts, Steven Delannoye, Bart Maris, Laurent Blondiau, Bert Joris, Frederik Leroux, Clément Nourry, Nic Thys, Yannick Peeters, Claus Kaarsgaard, Manolo Cabras, Lode Vercampt, Lionel Beuvens, Teun Verbruggen, Dré Pallemaerts, Tony Vitacolonna, Moussa Dembélé, a.o.

Since October 2009 he is also teaching jazz piano at KASK & Conservatorium.