Christian Lindberg is perhaps the first classical trombonist to maintain a successful full-time performing career as a soloist, now considered among the instrument's foremost exponents. Lindberg has also established himself as a conductor and composer.
Lindberg was born in Djursholm, Sweden, on February 15, 1958. He actually took up the trombone fairly late, starting at age 17 after hearing recordings by the great jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden. He studied at the Royal Stockholm Academy of Music, with Sven Erik Eriksson as one of his teachers. At 19, Lindberg became the principle trombonist of the Royal Opera Orchestra in Stockholm. He left that position after just a year, saying he was bored playing in an orchestra. After further studies in Stockholm, he moved to London where he studied at the Royal College of Music with John Iverson. He continued his studies later in Los Angeles with Ralph Sauer and Roger Bobo. He established himself very quickly in his solo career, beginning with a win at the Nordic Soloists' Biennale competition in 1981. Lindberg made his concert debut in 1984, performing the Henri Tomasi Trombone Concerto. He regularly plays dozens of concerts a year all over the world, has won many major competitions, gives frequent lectures and masterclasses, and holds the honorary title of Prince Consort Composer at London's Royal College of Music. Lindberg has been very active in expanding the repertoire for his instrument. He has premiered over 300 works for trombone, over 90 of which are concertos, and has arranged or transcribed over 100 other works for the trombone. Composers who have written works for him include Alfred Schnittke, Michael Nyman, Toru Takemitsu, Christopher Rouse, Luciano Berio, and Arvo Pärt. One of his most frequent collaborators has been composer Jan Sandström, who wrote his Motorbike Concerto for Lindberg (which Lindberg performs in costume, as he does other pieces).
With encouragement from Sandström, Lindberg began to compose his own works. His first major composition, Arabenne, for trombone and strings, was completed in 1997 and received its world premiere in 1998. Since then, he has completed over 50 pieces on commission from orchestras all over the world.
Lindberg has worked extensively as a conductor with orchestras and ensembles from all over Europe (especially in the Scandinavian countries), China, Japan, and the Americas. He served as principal conductor of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra from 2004-2011, the Swedish Wind Ensemble from 2005-2012, and beginning in 2009, the Norwegian Artic Philharmonic Orchestra. One of his major projects, outside of his duties as principal conductor, is a collaboration with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra in the "Allan Pettersson Project." The goal of this project is to record all of Pettersson's symphonies.
Lindberg's debut recording, The Virtuoso Trombone, was released in 1983, and began a long, successful collaboration with the BIS label. Since then, he has recorded dozens of albums (almost exclusively for BIS) playing trombone, conducting, or both. In 2019, he released Allan Pettersson: Violin Concerto No. 2; Symphony No. 17 (fragment), with violinist Ulf Wallin and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra.
© Keith Finke, Chris Morrison /TiVo