Mateusz Smoczyński and Stephan Braun are world-famous virtuosos using unconventional techniques of playing string instruments. Their unique, individual approach to violin and cello playing translates into distinctive sound, rhythm and groove of the duo. Both artists are world-renowned, successful improvisers taking part in a wide variety of cross-genre projects. Long-time collaborators, Smoczyński & Braun have just released their first album Keep On Turnin’, inspired by the music of the 90s.
Mateusz Smoczyński is an internationally-acclaimed Polish jazz violinist and winner of numerous prizes at major competitions, including the Grand Prix of the Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Competition and 2017 Best Jazz Violinist award of the Jazz Forum European Magazine. A sought-after soloist and ensemble leader, he has performed at the most important jazz venues and festivals around the world. An active educator, since 2017 he has been an Adjunct Professor at the Jazz and World Music Department of the Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. Mateusz Smoczyński is considered one of the most multi-faceted Polish contemporary music composers. Author of numerous chamber and symphonic works, including „Adam’s Apple” violin concerto premiered at the iconic hall of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) in Katowice, Poland in 2018 to a wide critical acclaim. Founder of one of Europe’s most intriguing string ensembles – Atom String Quartet, he has collaborated with renowned artists, such as Branford Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Gil Goldstein, Richie Beirach, Glen Moore, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Zbigniew Namysłowski, Tomasz Stańko, Urszula Dudziak, Władysław “Adzik” Sendecki, Leszek Możdżer, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Natalia Kukulska, Anna Maria Jopek, and many others. In 2012–16 principal violinist of the Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet, with whom he recorded a Grammy-nominated album „After Blue” by Tierney Sutton. 2020 marks the release of the first album of Mateusz Smoczyński recorded in collaboration with the legendary German pianist Joachim Kühn under the label of ACT Music.
Stephan studied classical cello and jazz cello at the universities in Hamburg and Berlin. He has performed in different projects with Schauspielhaus Hamburg, Berliner Ensemble, NDR-Bigband and he worked as a sideman with Melody Gardot, Nils Landgren, Gil Goldstein, Chris Hinze, Don Thomson, Till Broenner, Giora Feidman, Kristjan Randalu among others. In 2010 he won the 1st price of the International Jazz Competition in Bucharest with his trio. He played at many famous festivals and concert halls, like Vienna Opera House, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Paris Olympia Theatre, Pori Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, New Directions Cello Festival, Cello Akademie Rutesheim, North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival and recorded as a sideman more than 20 CDs. As a leader, he published 2 own records, one with his trio (called The Raid, released 2008) and one with his singer-songwriter project deep strings (called Façon, released 2012). Since 2014 he is teaching at the “Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien” in Hanover in Germany. Cellist Stephan Braun, a seasoned musician to be sure, answers the question once and for all of what the true domain of the cello in jazz is: groove. He currently resides in Berlin.