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Delius began playing saxophone in 1980 in Germany. In 1983-1984 he lived in Mexico City where he played in the “Cuarteto Mexicano de Jazz” led by pianist Francixco Téllez.
Delius moved to Amsterdam in 1984 and studied for a short while at the Sweelinck Conservatorium. He soon became involved with Amsterdam improvisers and dropped his studies to immerse himself in the improvised music scene. In 1990 he was awarded the Podiumprijs from the organisation Stichting Jazz in The Netherlands. In February 2004, Delius was awarded the VPRO/Boy Edgar Award, the Netherlands' most prestigious award in improvised music.
He has worked in Europe and overseas with among others Steve Lacy, Louis Moholo’s Viva-la-black, Bill Frisell, Mark Feldman and Trio Clusone, Misha Mengelberg, Steve Beresford, Jeb Bishop, Kent Kessler, Nora Mulder & Hamid Drake and Ray Anderson.
Tobias Delius leads his own quartet with Tristan Honsinger (cello), Joe Williamson (double bass) and Han Bennink (drums). The CDs The Heron, Toby’s Mloby and Pelikanismus were enthusiastically received both at home and abroad.
Delius has a duo with bassist Wilbert de Joode, forms a trio with keyboard player Cor Fuhler and various drummers (Louis Moholo and Paul Lovens to name two), and initiated the Trio San Francisco with reed players South African Sean Bergin and Italian Daniele D’Agaro. He has formed apa ini, a group with Wilbert de Joode, Hilary Jeffery (trombone) and Serigne Gueye (djembe).
He can be heard in a variety of groups, including Available Jelly, Sean Bergin’s MOB, ICP Orchestra, Chris Abelen Quintet, Joost Buis and his Famous Astronotes, Frank van Bommel Quartet and Curtis Clark.
- Sharpe, John (16 December 2009). "Tristan Honsinger and Tobias Delius at the Jazzwerkstatt in Berlin". All About Jazz. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- "Laureates Wessel Ilcken Prijs & VPRO/Boy Edgar Prijs". Music Center The Netherlands. Retrieved 21 December 2011.