cresc...Images of Sound
Born in Vienna in 1943, HK Gruber was a member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir as a child; he later studied composition with Erwin Ratz and Gottfried von Einem, music theory with Hanns Jelinek and double bass with Ludwig Streicher at Vienna’s Music Academy. From 1961 he played double bass in the ensemble die Reihe; in 1969 he became a member of the ORF Symphony Orchestra. Since 1997 Gruber has dedicated himself to composing, conducting and performing as a chansonnier. In 1968 Gruber founded the ensembles MOB art and tone ART together with his composer colleagues Kurt Schwertsik and Otto Zykan, singing and acting with both ensembles. Gruber’s international career took off in 1978, when Simon Rattle and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra premiered his work ›Frankenstein!!‹. Ever since, the piece has been performed numerous times in many countries – in versions for orchestra, ensemble and ballet. Gruber came to renown especially for his concertos, including ›Aerial‹ for the trumpet player Håkan Hardenberger, which has been performed more than 60 times since its world premiere in 1999; two concerti for the violinist Ernst Kovacic; a cello concerto written for Yo-Yo Ma and premiered in Tanglewood in 1989; the percussion concerto ›Rough Music‹ which forms part of Evelyn Glennie’s repertoire; as well as ›Busking‹ for trumpet, accordion, banjo and strings, premiered in 2008 by Hardenberger. Gruber’s stage works include the apocalyptic opera ›Gomorra‹, presented by the Wiener Volksoper in 1993; ›Gloria‹, a musical version of Rudolf Herfurtner’s ›Schweinegeschichte‹, performed in 1994 at the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music and at Munich’s Volkstheater, the festival Wien Modern, the Municipal Theatre Münster and at the Aspen Music Festival; and ›der herr nordwind‹ with a libretto by H.C. Artmann, premiered in Zurich in 2005. Gruber also wrote the music for the TV movie ›Bring me the head of Amadeus‹ as part of the Mozart Year 1991. A sought-after composer, conductor and cabaret artist, Gruber is on the road much of his time. He regularly takes on the role of the chansonnier in ›Frankenstein!!‹ in international performances; his stage repertoire also includes Schoenberg’s ›Pierrot lunaire‹, Maxwell Davies’ ›Eight Songs for a Mad King‹ and works by Kagel. In 1987 he performed at the Almeida Festival and was one of the organisers of the series Alternative Vienna presented in 1993 by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the South Bank Centre. His close collaboration with Frankfurt’s Ensemble Modern led to a series of celebrated concerts, opera productions and recordings, and as a conductor Gruber regularly works with the world’s leading orchestras, ensembles and music festivals – since 2010 he has held the position of Composer/Conductor at the BBC Philharmonic. Among Gruber’s recent works are ›Dancing in the Dark‹, presented to the public by Sir Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic in January 2003, the orchestra suite ›Northwind Pictures‹ premiered in 2011, and a new percussion concerto with the title ›into the open...‹ as well as an opera based on Ödön von Horváth’s ›Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald‹, which had its world premiere at the Bregenz Festival in 2014.