Kati Brien was born in Stuttgart and studied music at an early age, before picking up the saxophone at 12. Three years later she played in her first concert tour to Hungary. She was soon a member of the Baden-Württemberg State Youth Jazz Orchestra and completed a diploma at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule. She moved to Berlin in 2008 to begin her jazz saxophone studies with Peter Weniger. There she was taught by Greg Cohen (who most notably worked with Tom Waits and John Zorn) and Kurt Rosenwinkel before graduating in 2012.
Kati was also a member of the Federal Youth Jazz Orchestra, touring the USA and Europe. At the age of 20 she was invited to play at the Stuttgart Theaterhaus Jazz Festival, where for three years in a row she was a “Talent to Watch”. Concerts at the Jazz Baltica, Jazz Rally Düsseldorf, Un Doua de Jazz, Leverkusener Jazztage, Jazzfest Berlin and other national and international festivals followed, as well as at the Philharmonie Essen, the Konzerthaus Berlin, among others. She shared the stage with musicians like Ed Partyka, Hayden Chisholm, Claudio Puntin, Jiggs Whigham, Wanja Slavin, Chris Dahlgren and many more.
Since 2010 she has been playing with her very own Kati Brien’s Dream Band, a 6-member jazz ensemble that has performed at the Jazzkollektiv Festival in Berlin, releasing an album Happy Music in 2017. In 2019 she received a grant from the Berlin Senate for this project and produced 5 music videos.
In 2016 she founded the music comedy trio halloJulia! together with Lizzy Scharnofske and Brigitte Haas, as a guitarist and vocalist.
Since 2018 she has fronted Clouds Without Shadows, probably her most intimate program. Playing guitar and singing lead vocals, she combines with long-time collaborator, Charis Karantzas to form a distinctive indie sound. Sonically supported by a self-made midi controller connecting 10 pedals, the duo simultaneously creates piano, bass, clarinet, and other sounds, to charge their live experience. Clouds Without Shadows’ first live EP was released on September 4th, 2020.
Kati has been the lead alto saxophonist for the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra (Denmark) since 2019.
In 2020 she began composing, playing and recording soundscapes for Firefly in a Jar, collaborating with the Australian writer, Nick Angel. Her soundscapes meld seamlessly with short stories read aloud by actors.
She also plays with David Riaño Molina's Ambrodavi - cumbia jazz; LIZZY -the human drum machine; and Markus Ehrlich's Flexible Eingreiftruppe - a moveable feast of a jazz-machine, with many moving parts.