M.M. Duquesne University
Grammy award-winning bassist Christian Dillingham is equally at home in two musical worlds. His parents spun jazz records around the house, while his mother was an avid pianist who loved to play Chopin and Debussy. Dillingham is that rare musician who excels in an orchestral setting, yet has an intuitive feel for nuance and the improvisational skills necessary to play jazz.
After graduating from Youngstown State University with a Bachelor’s of Music degree in Music Performance with an Emphasis on Jazz, Dillingham’s education continued at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he worked with Jeffrey Turner, principal bass of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and subsequently received a Master’s of Music degree in Music Performance. He also attended the National Repertory Orchestra Festival in Breckenridge, Colorado, and the School for Improvisational Music in New York.
Upon graduation, Dillingham was invited to play in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and since then has made frequent appearances in Chicago’s vibrant classical scene, playing with the Lyric Opera, the Grant Park Symphony, Fulcrum Point New Music Project and the Chicago Opera Theatre. Dillingham is also a member of the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Chicago Philharmonic. He appears on albums by the Chicago Sinfonietta and Camerata Chicago.
At the same time, he became a regular presence in Chicago’s rich jazz community, performing at Fred Anderson’s iconic Velvet Lounge, the Green Mill, the Jazz Showcase, Constellation Chicago, Andy’s Jazz Club, Elastic Arts and other Chicago venues as well as at the Chicago Jazz Festival. Dillingham has played and recorded with dozens of musicians, including Melvin Butler, Kevin Mahogany, the late piano master Willie Pickens, Dee Alexander, Victor Goines, Bobby Broom, Sean Jones, Jim Gailloreto, Nick Mazzarella, Greg Ward and Mike Reed. He is a collaborator with violinist James Sanders in the Dark Matter String Band.
He currently performs with a number of diverse projects crossing genres from jazz, classical and roots to the avant-garde. He leads the Christian Dillingham Quintet, which draws from all of his experiences to explore Western classical music and American folk traditions in an improvised jazz context. He is currently on the faculty at Indiana University teaching jazz bass and joined the Music Faculty at NEIU in the Fall of 2020.