Joja Wendt is redefining the idea of a conventional piano concert. Trained in the Netherlands and New York, the pianist emerged from the renowned Hamburg scene and has played alongside many music legends over the course of his career, including Chuck Berry and Joe Cocker. As a result, he draws his repertoire and musical vision from an extensive pool of pop, jazz and classical music. Presented with a large slice humour, charm, charisma and amusing anecdotes, his regular concerts are now themselves the stuff of legend throughout Germany. In his latest programme, Joja is showing with huge success how hits by AC/DC, Prince or Ed Sheeran can be played solo on the piano with the same breathtaking energy that would usually require a band with several members. From Bach to Horowitz, Joja‘s arrangements, intuitive jazz playing techniques, broad range of pop music and his own compositions are a testament to a wonderful kind of musical freedom. Such diversity once again highlights the fact that outstandingly and authentically presented music can delight people – regardless of whether it is popular or serious.
Joja Wendt has achieved what only few musicians had the privilege to experience: His name represents a synonym for the instrument he has grown with. Joja Wendt is the pianist. Not only inside his home country, but reaching far beyond. His concert tours led him from South Africa to Singapore, China and Russia and even to the stages of New York City’s Carnegie Hall and other legendary stages. Joja Wendt has travelled the world with piano music – which is remarkable in itself. However, it is unique that he has achieved his success not only with a brilliant technique, virtuous interpretation and as a charismatic entertainer, but with his very own music.
He is not only a virtuoso musician but appears like a friend to his audience. His aim is to overcome inhibitions for people to go to a piano concert. His message is: It’s fun to play the piano! His music reaches a main audience, male and female in the same way. „My roots of music are in the clubs“ he says, „that helps me today to make the distance of a conceret hall and the audience disappear“. That means that he is interacting with and talking to the audience between and even during the songs.
His shows are characterised by entertainment, but he is more than an entertainer. During his show he combines virtuosity and high musical quality. Asked about his way of rehearsing he compares himself to a boxer: „You can see the talent in the streets. As a young man you are working hard all time to become one of the best. Later you prepare precisely and exact for your fights. When I was a student I was working very hard on playing the piano better and better, between my 20s and 30s I rehearsed every day up to 10 hours. I didn’t even show up on the party of my A-levels because I was working on my piano skills“, he says. „Today I am preparing very intensive and precise for every tour.“
He won the Louis-Armstrong Award and was elected by Steinway & Sons to become a member of the Steinway Artist club. In 2016 he founded the online piano school ‘JOJAS PIANO ACADEMY’ to give people the opportunity to learn to play piano from home. His courses are designed for a wide range of levels from beginner to advanced and new content is constantly being added.
Joja Wendt lives with his family in Hamburg, Germany. He started playing piano at the age of four and is a graduate of the conservatory of Hilversum, Netherlands and the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He was discovered by Joe Cocker during a jam session in a music club in Hamburg. Joe engaged him as a support act for his current tour which was the beginning of Joja’s successful international career that has now spanned more than 30 years. He has toured with Chuck Berry, performed on stage with Monty Alexander and Fats Domino at the Montreux Jazzfestival and is a successful film composer. He has released more than 30 records so far.