Raphael Christen



His flawless technique and his heartfelt musicality make him a world-class marimbist: today Raphael Christen can be described as one of the most versatile masters of his instrument.


His concert activities underscore this: Raphael Christen is internationally amongst the very busiest marimbists. He is a solo musician, chamber musician, orchestra musician and guest soloist in a multitude of ensembles and formations.


Raphael Christen concluded percussion studies with Erwin Bucher at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts with distinction (major subject maximum mark 6.0) in 1994. In addition, he attended marimbaphone master’s courses with well-known marimbists (amongst others: Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic, David Brown) and with percussionist Pierre Favre. For two years he studied at the Toho School of Music in Tokyo under the auspices of world-famous marimbist Keiko Abe. He subsequently studied baroque music with Peter Solomon at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The musician and music docent says the following about Raphael Christen: “With great success he has understood how to constantly redefine the limits of his instrument and to develop a new repertoire.”


Indeed, the work of marimbist Raphael Christen is of international significance. In his immense repertoire he effortlessly switches between classical, baroque, New Music, mainstream or folklore. Several contemporary composers (Thüring Bräm, Carl Rütti, N.J. Zivkovic and others) have composed works specifically for the marimbist Raphael Christen.


Yet he is not only acclaimed for his brilliant technique. What particularly distinguishes Christen is the many-faceted ‘sound’ of his instrument: the marimba ‘sings’ – powerful, lyrical, congenial – when Christen plays.  


This can be heard at a vast number of appearances in which Raphael Christen impresses everybody as a chamber musician and solo marimbist. But he also plays as a guest soloist with numerous well-known orchestras, amongst other things with the Festival Strings at the Lucerne Festival and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he is a regular guest soloist with brass bands and wind orchestras.


Appearances led him, amongst other things, to the Lucerne Culture & Congress Centre Salle Blanche, the Stravinsky Auditorium in Montreux, the Hercules Hall in Munich and to Luxembourg, Dubai or Japan.


Current formations in the realm of chamber music are the Duo Synthesis and the QuaDrums percussion quartet. Synthesis combines marimba and euphonium (played by world-class musician Thomas Rüedi) into a unique duo sound. In the QuaDrums Ensemble, Raphael Christen and three other percussionists impress the audience with a breathtaking mixture of multicultural folklore and contemporary percussion music.


In recent years, about 30 live recordings with Raphael Christen have been published on CDs and have also been broadcast in productions for radio and television.


The solo CD “Dances With Marimba”» (2000), the album “Folk Songs” by the QuaDrums Ensemble (2002) and the album “Synthesis” by the duo of the same name (2006) are particularly noteworthy.


Raphael Christen also proves his versatility as docent and teacher. Amongst other things, he successfully teaches at music academies and gives master’s courses for marimbaphone.



(Fore more info, refer to details in the CV.)