About Teis Semey

Jazz guitarist Teis Semey (Denmark, Aalborg, 1993) studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam in the Netherlands with Reinier Baas, Maarten van der Grinten, and Jesse van Ruller. At 21 years old, he won the Princess Christina Concours first prize and press prize, was awarded the Keep An Eye Jazz Award in 2017 as well as the Best Coltrane Arrangement prize and won the press prize in Leiden Jazz Awards 2016. Teis performed in the Edison Jazz/World Awards with the New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra alongside Joshua Redman and has received critical acclaim as a composer, composing commissions for Entrée Concertgebouw twice and participated in a Berklee Global/Conservatory of Amsterdam project on basis of his Japan Suite. He has also composed for the string ensemble Pynarello.

“…Semey’s compositional drive propels the players into a higher emotional expression – this is not academic, cerebral writing, but felt experience translated into sound.” 

Mark Werlin, AllAboutJazz

In 2018 he was selected for the international InJazz Congress in Rotterdam a a part of the Next Generation showcase. Subsequently Teis spent half a year in Los Angeles, studying under Bruce Forman and Vince Mendoza. Teis Semey performed in the renowned jazz club Blue Whale as well as recorded amongst others with Henry Solomon, after which he then returned to Amsterdam to finish his second album Throw Stones.

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Childhood and Youth

Teis Semey was born to two students in Aalborg Denmark, and grew up in their college room before moving with his family to the country side. Semey did not belong very well and was mostly bullied and isolated, which led him to music. Young Semey spent days and months in front of the computer teaching himself solos and riffs off from YouTube videos. As Semey’s family moved away from the country side and to the Swedish city of Malmö, Semey struggled with mental health and self-harm and was as a result thrown out of his school. Fortunately, Semey was placed into an integration project focused entirely on learning through art and aesthetics. “I don’t wanna think about where I’d be without the incredibly passionate and empathetic people working in that school with all these tricky children”, Semey says himself. Semey came to feel accepted and find peers who also loved music, and as such found his first community and friendship. It was also at that point, he started to fully devote himself to playing guitar.

His late adolescence was marked by going to blues bars, drinking, studying music and composition and touring locally with his blues band The Wang Dang Doodle Orchestra.

“…Semey’s compositional drive propels the players into a higher emotional expression – this is not academic, cerebral writing, but felt experience translated into sound.” 

Mark Werlin

Semey fell in love with improvised music through Kurt Rosenwinkel and John Coltrane, a love which led him to pursue a bachelor and later a masters degree in the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Aside from being an instrumentalist, Semey is also a composer, composing for different groups as well as his own three albums.


“I never chose music, I never felt like I had a choice. I just did the only thing that I could, followed to only path that didn’t lead to destruction”, Semey says.

Teis Semey finished his studies in Amsterdam in 2019, and continued working and touring with his band and other bands. 

Music is my greatest mission. I truly believe that I can offer something important with music – a connection to the immaterial bliss of leaving reality, for the audience. A connection to another realm, of dreams, wishes, hopes, honesty, truth, passion. The transaction of sound is always pure, honest and can’t be stolen by anything and anyone. It’s directly from our hearts to your ears.”

Teis Semey has given masterclasses and performed in Mexico, USA and around in Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Estonia), with his main bases being the Netherlands and Denmark.




As a leader

Teis Semey has released two albums: Where The Fence is the Highest (TRPTK, 2019) and Throw Stones (Loumi Records 2020). Where The Fence is the Highest is a two-suite acoustic near-symphonic album consisting of two “jazz” suites. Throw Stones is a fast paced and multi-coloured album that embraces electronic dance music, chamber music and improvised acoustic ensemble playing and brings it into one explosive action packed album. 

Teis Semey is releasing his third album in April-May 2021 which will feature his Quintet – Sun Mi Hong, Alistair Payne, José Soares, Jort Terwijn and Teis Semey himself. 

While releasing his own music, Semey also works with other projects. Also Teis Semey XL (a super large version of the trio and quintet together), the string orchestra Pynarello, Pássaro Migratório, Guy Salamon Group, Fuensanta Mendez’s Ensamble Grande and Trio Jacínto. 

Teis Semey also performs solo-guitar concerts, produces electronic music and writes poetry, as well as produced all artwork for his second album himself.