As a musician and composer, Christopher Dell works at the intersection of contemporary composed and improvised music. Dell took composition classes in the Schillinger system at Berklee College of Music, Boston and with Hans-Ulrich Engelmann. He was a fellow at the Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, where he heard from Karl-Heinz Stockhausen, Wolfgang Rihm, and Earle Brown.
Against this background, he has developed a distinctive body of work characterized by constant research, conceptual discursiveness, and the creation of experimental systems that transcend disciplines. According to the Reclam Jazzlexikon, Dell is considered the leading vibraphonist of his generation; the FAZ called him "the greatest vibraphone technician in European jazz history." Dell is and has been involved in numerous recording releases and tours, including Canada, China, U.S.A., Japan, India, Africa, South America.
His work has been honored with numerous awards including the Downbeat Allstar Award, German Record Critics Award, JazzArt Award - Music of the 21st Century, Grammy Nomination and Music Award of the City of Darmstadt, Goethe Institute Artist in Residence Program, and the 2015 Golden Jazz Award.
In 2021, Dell received the first German Jazz Award. Dell has received grants, fellowships, and commissions for compositions from Westdeutscher Rundfunk, the German Music Council, and the German Music Fund, among others. In 2001, Dell founded the artist's label edition niehler werft (enw). His most important ensembles are Dell Lillinger Westergaard and DRA. Recently, his conceptual montage work "Das Arbeitende Konzert/ The Working Concert" also caused a sensation; the book under the same title was published in 2020 by the renowned art book publisher spector books, Leipzig. Dell is endorser of Vic Firth Mallets.