HK GRUBER

Collection

 

HK Gruber Collection:

Works

  • Music manuscripts (drafts, sketches, clean copies) and copies with handwritten annotations

Correspondence

  • Letters to and from HK Gruber
  • E-Mails to and from HK Gruber

Life documents

  • Certificates, identification cards, official documents
  • Portraits and photographs

Collectibles

  • Audio-visual media
  • Music prints (file copies)
  • Posters
  • Programme booklets
  • Press documentation
  • Publishing materials
  • Secondary literature

 

Catalogue search

The collections of the Archives of Contemporary Arts are continuously recorded in the Austrian Library Network Catalogue of Estates and Autographs. For queries on materials that have not yet been made available, please feel free to contact us. Digitised inventory materials (including AV media) can be transmitted electronically.

Contact us:

Dr. Martina Kalser-Gruber, MSc

Biography

HK Gruber, born in Vienna in 1943, began his musical career as a child with the Vienna Boys' Choir. Gruber studied contrabass with Ludwig Streicher, music theory with Hanns Jelinek and composition with Erwin Ratz and Gottfried von Einem at the Vienna Academy of Music. At the age of 18, he was already a member of the ensemble "die reihe", joined the Tonkuenslter Orchestra in 1960 where he later became a double bass player, and in 1969 he was accepted into the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he remained until 1998.

In 1968, together with fellow composers Otto M. Zykan and Kurt Schwertsik, HK Gruber founded the "Ensemble MOB art und tone ART", in which his singing and acting talents were also put to good use. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle premiered his Frankenstein!! in 1978, which brought him to international attention. This "pandemonium" based on rhymes by HC Artmann and composed for a singing narrator and orchestra soon became his most popular work, being performed more than 600 times all over the world, and is considered the outstanding example of his highly individual compositional style.

HK Gruber was commissioned by the most renowned orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic or the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to compose works that these top orchestras performed at festivals such as the Lucerne Festival or the BBC Proms, but also at concert venues such as New York's Carnegie Hall, mostly under his own baton. His works include Dancing in the Dark (premiered in 2003 with the Vienna Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle), the opera Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald (premiered in 2014 at the Bregenz Festival), and the Piano Concerto for Emanuel Ax, which was commissioned jointly by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Instrumental concertos also hold a special place in his oeuvre. He composed Aerial for the trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, which, since its premiere, was performed over 90 times internationally, and a cello concerto for Yo-Yo Ma, which premiered at Tanglewood in 1989. Further to be mentioned are the concertos for percussion Rough Music or into the open..., which Colin Currie premiered  in 2015. The apocalyptic opera Gomorra (premiered in 1993 at the Vienna Volksoper, Libretto; Richard Bretschacher) adds to Gruber's repertoire, as does Gloria von Jaxtberg: Das Gegenteil von Wurst ist Liebe, in which he translated Rudolf Herfurtner's Schweinegeschichte into music (premiered in 1994 at the Huddersfield Festival, also performed at the Munich Volkstheater and the Aspen Music Festival and Wien Modern festivals), and herr nordwind (premiered in 2005 in Zurich), based on a libretto by H.C. Artmann. In the course of the Mozart Year 1991, he also composed the film music for Bring Me the Head of Amadeus. As a chansonnier HK Gruber not only performed in works by Hanns Eisler and Kurt Weill but also in Arnold Schönberg's Pierrot Lunaire or Eight Songs for a Mad King by Maxwell Davies, and as well recorded them in the studio. From 2009 to 2015, he held the position of Composer / Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

HK Gruber received the Grand Austrian State Prize in 2002 and became an honorary member of the Vienna Konzerthaus in 2009. Furthermore, he was appointed honorary life member of the board of the Kurt Weill Foundation.

 

Awards and Prizes

• 1969 and 1978: Promotion Prize of the City of Vienna

• 1970 and 1977: Sponsorships from the Theodor-Körner Foundation

• 1975 and 1979: Honorary Prize of the Austrian Minister of Education, Science and Culture

• 1989: City of Vienna Music Award

• 2002: Grand Austrian State Prize of Music

• 2004: Silver Medal of Honour for services to the City of Vienna

• 2017: Gold Medal of Honour for services to the City of Vienna

 

 

Works

HK Gruber was commissioned by orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic or the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to compose works that these orchestras performed at festivals such as the Lucerne Festival or the BBC Proms, but also at concert venues such as New York's Carnegie Hall, mostly under his own baton. His works include Dancing in the Dark (premiered in 2003 with the Vienna Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle), the opera Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald (premiered in 2014 at the Bregenz Festival), and the Piano Concerto for Emanuel Ax, which was commissioned jointly by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Instrumental concertos also hold a special place in his oeuvre. He composed Aerial for the trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, which, since its premiere, was performed over 60 times internationally, and a cello concerto for Yo-Yo Ma, which premiered at Tanglewood in 1989. Further to be mentioned are the concertos for percussion Rough Music or into the open..., which Colin Currie premiered  in 2015. The apocalyptic opera Gomorra (premiered in 1993 at the Vienna Volksoper) adds to Gruber's repertoire, as does Gloria, in which he translated Rudolf Herfurtner's Schweinegeschichte into music (performed at the Munich Volkstheater and the Aspen Music Festival and Wien Modern festivals), and herr nordwind (premiered in 2005 in Zurich), based on a libretto by H.C. Artmann. In the course of the Mozart Year 1991, he also composed the film music for Bring Me the Head of Amadeus. As a chansonnier HK Gruber not only performed in works by Hanns Eisler and Kurt Weill or but also in Arnold Schönberg's Pierrot Lunaire or Eight Songs for a Mad King by Maxwell Davies, and as well recorded them in the studio. From 2009 to 2015, he held the position of Composer / Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

More Information

Publishers