New Jersey born pianist, composer and improviser Theo Walentiny grew up in an artistic home, his father an abstract painter and his mother an art therapist. He began studying classical music and improvisation from age 6. Eventually, Theo also discovered McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea and Charles Mingus, among others, leading him to further study jazz and improvised music. He began to study privately under jazz pianist Oscar Perez and taught himself various music technology skills guiding him to an interest in film scoring.
Walentiny moved to New York City to continue his studies at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in 2014. While at The New School he has been fortunate enough to study with Reggie Workman, Jane Ira Bloom and Kirk Nurock among many others. It is here that Walentiny began to forge and solidify his sound drawing upon influences such as Andrew Hill, Tyshawn Sorey, Tōru Takemitsu and Henri Dutilleux.
He is a founding member of the Aurelia Trio alongside bassist Nick Dunston and drummer Connor Parks. The group has been named Aurelia due to their sound being closely associated with the lucid-dreamlike appearance and movement of the Aurelia jellyfish. Rooted in jazz, Aurelia Trio’s musical language bears several other influences, particularly contemporary classical music and free improvisation. Featuring music written by all three members, original composition with an emphasis on improvisation is a key aspect of Aurelia Trio’s sound.
In addition to Aurelia, Walentiny leads a septet which also features Jasper Dutz, Adam O'Farrill, Kalia Vandever, Lee Meadvin, Nick Dunston and Connor Parks. The septet’s repertoire features his own compositions exclusively and ranges in influence from impressionism and romanticism to modern jazz while sometimes cross collaborating with visual artists.
Walentiny is at the heart of this new scene of up and coming composers/improvisers, which at this point has become more of a close-knit family than anything else. He is currently a member of the Arta Jekabsone quintet, Kalia Vandever quartet, Lucas Kadish “Tundra” and the Coleman Hughes project among others.
As an active performer, Theo Walentiny has appeared at such notable venues as The Jazz Gallery (NYC), The Stone (NYC), Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (NYC), The Blue Note (NYC), Tri-C Jazz Festival (Ohio), Beit Ha’amudim (Israel), Bern Jazz Festival (Switzerland) Huanglou JZ Club (China) and Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland).
Most recently Theo spent three months in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China performing and composing in residency at the Huanglou JZ club with Dre Hocevar’s Verso Doxa. Since then he has relocated to Williamsburg, Brooklyn where he continues to write, perform and teach.