GEORG GRAEWE composer/pianist
born 1956 in Bochum/Germany
40 years ago pianist, composer and bandleader Georg Graewe took his quintet to Berlin to record “New Movements” for the prestigious FMP label in April 1976. He was 19 years old then and has continuously been developing his very own musical language ever since. Apart from his work with large ensembles such as the GrubenKlangOrchester or his recent SonicFiction projects, his small groups such as the Graewe·Reijseger·Hemingway trio or the Frisque Concordance quartet, Graewe’s solo music has been at the core of his work since the late 80s. Quite often his piano music serves as a kind of sketchbook. Initial ideas are developed here later to be transformed into large-scale compositions for ensemble or orchestra. His fourth solo album “Stills and Stories” has been released on the Random Acoustics label last year.
His compositions, which include chamber music and works for full orchestra as well as scores for films, theater productions, radio drama and video, have been performed and broadcast around the world.
Graewe has also performed and recorded with Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, Phil Minton, Roscoe Mitchell, Barry Guy, Barre Phillips, Hamid Drake, John Butcher a.m.o.
Since 2002 he has also written 3 operas. “Kopenhagen”, his first, (based on the play by Michael Frayn) was produced by OPER KÖLN (CologneOpera House) in 2003. His second opera “Quicksilver” (a commission by Semperoper Dresden) came out in November 2006. And his last one “Barbara Strozzi oder die Avantgarde der Liebe” was staged by TheaterLuzern/Switzerland in 2010 and Oper Bonn/Germany in 2011.
His videocantata on Albert Einstein’s travel diaries (“alle kennen meine visage”) was premiered at the Jewish Museum Berlin in September 2005.
Starting in 1999 Graewe has been associated with CNMAT (Center for New Music andAudio Technology) at UC Berkeley.
From 2002 – 2007 he taught at “Hochschule für Musik HANNS EISLER” in Berlin.
In 2010 he curated a series of 27 events that presented different aspects of resonance between music, poetry, visusal arts
and science as part of the European Cultural Capital RUHR.2010. A catalogue plus DVD edition documenting this project has been published on the Random Acoustics label.
In his review for point of departure Canadian critic Greg Buium wrote:
Right from the start, stills and stories, pianist Georg Graewe’s first solo disc in more than a decade, proves one thing: this man’s brain works quicker than yours. So do his fingers. His feet, hands, and inner life just might as well. Not that speed counts, mind you. But when you dive into this dense, elusive, and, ultimately, riveting 2010 recording from Bochum, Germany, you sense that Graewe, back in his hometown, is pushing things to the limit: his own resources, his listener’s ability to absorb art, and, at 79 minutes, the limitations of the compact disc itself.
stills and stories is like a walking book – a seemingly discursive, digressive, travelogue. In this case, the grounds are Graewe’s keyboard – a Bösendorfer set up by Thomas Henke – the lens, his technical know-how, coupled with a sometimes stark, sometimes oblique relationship to emotive music-making.