Born in southern Germany on July 25, 1995, Niklas Lukassen was brought up in a household that encouraged creativity in the fine arts. Early on he had an eager interest in drawing and painting. He started his first musical endeavors receiving classical piano lessons from a young age. As a teenager, he picked up different musical instruments before finding his way to the electric bass at age 14. It’s tonal qualities, and especially the role of the bass in an ensemble immediately had a profound impact on him. Taking his pursue to improve very serious, he moved to Berlin on his own after receiving special permission to attend the “Jazz Institute Berlin” after auditioning at age 16 while attending the “Bach Spezialschule fur Musik”, a high school for outstanding young musicians.
Embarking on his new life in Germany’s capital marked his entrance into the world of the double bass and helped him to flourish in his musical endeavors. Early international learning experiences included spending two summers at “Berklee College of Music” in Boston on a full scholarship and attending prestigious programs such as the “Betty Carter Jazz Ahead” residency in Washington D.C..
Establishing himself as both a sideman and bandleader, Niklas possesses the ability to stay true to style while expressing a voice of his own. In addition to his activities as a bass player, he has frequently displayed his talents as a composer and as a vocalist in various groups such as the German National Jazz Orchestra.
Upon his arrival in New York in the summer of 2017 as a student on a full scholarship in the Masters Degree program at “Manhattan School of Music” under the mentorship of jazz legend Ron Carter, he has advanced his steps into the international jazz scene as a rising force on both acoustic and electric bass.
His professional concert activities include tours to Malaysia, China, England, Spain, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, and the USA. Notable venues include the John F. Kennedy Center Washington D.C., Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola NYC, Berlin Philharmonie, and the Shanghai Concert Hall. Furthermore, Niklas Lukassen appeared as a sideman for acts under the label Universal Music on many of the top festivals in popular music in Europe such as the "Hurricane Festival".
Niklas has worked and studied with many of the leading musicians in the world in each category of music that he pursues.
As a bass player:
Joe Lovano, Mike Stern, Joe Locke, Nils Landgren, Till Broenner, Oz Noy, Valerie Simpson, Jiggs Whigham, Judy Niemack, Peter Weniger, Jay Clayton, Andi Farber, Gebhard Ullmann, Jean-Paul Bourelli, David Haynes, Universal Music Label, and the Berlin Jazz Orchestra among others…
As a band leader/ composer:
Aurora Ensemble, Niklas Lukassen Quintet
As a vocalist:
German National Jazz Orchestra ("Bundesjazzorchestra"), Lajjazzo (Big Band conducted by Jiggs Whigham), Young Voices Brandenburg, Krzysztof Penderecki (classical choir member for Berlin student concerts)…
- "Jugend Jazzt" National Youth Jazz Award Recipient (Germany, 2013)
- Bass Solo Competition "Bass Solo Fun" (USA, 2013)
- Winner of "Jugend Musiziert" (Germany, 2014) (Best Youth Big Band Nation Wide with "JayJayBeCe")
- Bass Solo Competition "Bass Solo Fun" (USA, 2014)
- Award Recipient "Thomann Bass Day" (2014)
- “Custom Music Duisburg" award for outstanding bass performance in cooperation with bass players magazine "Bass Quarterly" (Germany, 2015)
- Generous endorsements, including the dedication of a "Niklas Lukassen Signature Bass Guitar Model" from "Merlos" (Spain, 2016)
- Scholar of the "Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now e.V." foundation (Germany, 2016)
Music Schools attended:
Bach Spezialschule fur Musik - high school for outstanding young musicians
Jazz Institute Berlin - Bachelor of Music
Manhattan School of Music - Master Of Music (full scholarship recipient)
Ron Carter, David Grossman, Gregory Cohen, Dave Liebman, Joe Locke, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jim McNeely, John Hollenbeck …
Selection of summer programs/ residencies attended:
European Jazz Academy (2013)
Berklee College of Music, Five-Week Summer Performance program (full scholarship recipient) (2013+2014)
Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency (2018)