Kristian has worked as a professional musician, both as a performer and educator for more than twenty years. In his formative years, Kristian studied with Vancouver drummers Don Reid and Scott Robertson. After moving to Vancouver in 1995, Kristian attended Capilano University where he later received a Bachelor of Music Degree. While attending Capilano University, he studied with jazz drummers Dave Robbins and Blaine Wikjord as well as percussionists Ken Moore, Graham Boyle and Craig Scott. During a hiatus from his studies at Capilano University, Kristian performed for several cruise line companies for two years, which took him to many exotic destinations, such as Tahiti, Mexico and the Western Caribbean. Kristian then toured extensively in Canada and the United States with the Russell Jackson Band (former bassist with BB King) from 2000 to 2003. While on tour, Kristian shared the stage with such names as renowned jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Terence Blanchard,) and Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy (The Blues Brothers.) In 2005, Kristian studied with world renowned jazz drummer, Jeff Hamilton (drummer with Oscar Peterson, Diana Krall, and many others.) As well, in 2005 Kristian took part in the Port Townsend Jazz Workshop, where he studied under drummers Carl Allan (Freddie Hubbard, Benny Green) and Gary Hobbs (Stan Kenton Band). Kristian has also continued his studies of classical percussion with VSO Principal Timpanist, Aaron MacDonald.
From 2004 to present, Kristian has been a member of several local bands and performs in many freelancing situations including jazz, blues, country, mainstream rock/pop music, and as a percussionist in musical theatre. In addition, since 2008 Kristian has led his own jazz trio, ‘Kristian Braathen Trio’. The Kristian Braathen Trio released their first full length album in October 2015, entitled ‘Tempus Fugit’, featuring pianist Miles Black and bassist Jodi Proznick. In addition, he also works as a studio musician, maintains a busy private teaching schedule and is a Capilano University Jazz Percussion Recommended Audition Preparation Instructor.
In 2016, Kristian became an new endorsee with Canopus Drums, Japan. As well in 2016, Kristian received a BC Arts Council study grant to travel to New York for an extended study intensive with jazz great, Kenny Washington (Bill Charlap Trio, Tony Bennett, Julliard School of Music).