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impuls . 11th International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music


Graz, February 10th - 22nd, 2019



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Frank Gratkowski Foto Sven Thielmann Web
Photo: Sven Thielmann

Frank Gratkowski, improvisation

Improvisation / Instant composing:

"This workshop focuses on improvisation with a deep sense of form and structure. It includes: Listening exercises, reaction exercises, communication, complementary thinking / playing (meta-instrument), counterpoint, motivic and structural development, transformations of textures, working with musical limitations to create form, musical games." (Frank Gratkowski)



Frank Gratkowski (alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, composition). Born in Hamburg, 1963. Started playing the saxophone at 16 and, following a period at the Hamburg Conservatory of music, moved in 1985 to study at the Cologne Conservatory of Music with Heiner Wiberny, graduating in 1990. Since 2008 he lives also in Berlin.
Further studies with Charlie Mariano, Sal Nistico and Steve Lacy.
Frank Gratkowski has been working as a soloist in various international formations (Grubenklang Orchester, Apartment House, Musikfabrik NRW, BikBentBraam, zeitkratzer, WDR Orchestra, WDR Big band, Münchener Kammerorchester, etc.). Since 1990 he has been giving solo performances throughout Europe, Canada and USA. With his first solo program "Artikulationen", he was a 1991 prizewinner in the Musik Kreativ contest. In 1995 he founded the "Frank Gratkowski Trio" with Dieter Manderscheid (Germany), bass, and Gerry Hemingway (USA), drums. In 2000 the trio has been extended to a quartet by Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos. Since 2003 also appearing as a Double Quartet plus Tobi Delius, Herb Robertson, Wilbert DeJoode and Michael Vatcher. In 2005 he got the SWR Jazzprize. 2001 the Trio Kaufmann / Gratkowski / DeJoode has been founded and from 2004 he has been co leading and composing for the "James Joyce Orchestra" which turned in 2008 into the "Multiple Joy[ce] Orchestra". Since 2006 he’s working with the Trio Gratkowski / Brown / Winant which played in 2009 at the Donaueschinger Musiktage. He got commissions to compose for the ensemble "Apartment House" from the “November Music“ (Den Bosch NL) and the “Huddersfield Comtemporary Music Fesitival” (England) in 2009 and for the Ensemble "zeitkratzer" in 2015. Since 2002 he is working with the Trio Kaufmann/Gratkowski/DeJodde, which released 5 CDs and one extended CD "SKEIN".

Since 2008 he has been working with the ensemble "Fo[u]r Alto", specialized in microtonal music for which he composed two full programs. In 2014 he founded the more Rock influenced Band "Z-Country Paradise" which performed 2015 at the Moers Festival and in 2016 at JAZZ EM AGOSTO in Lisbon and 2017 at the RingRing Festival Belgrade. Frank Gratkowski played on nearly every German and on numerous international Jazz and New Music Festivals including Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Quebec, Les Mans, Muelhuus, Groeningen, Nickelsdorf, Barcelona, Lithuania, Warsaw, Zagreb, Prague, Bratislava, Sofia, Bucharest, Odessa, Belgrad, Madrid, Göteborg, Huddersfield, London and  Rome, Beirut, Taschkent, Tokyo, Yokohama and Kuala Lumpur.
He has been teaching saxophone, ensemble and composition at the Cologne, Berlin and Arnhem Conservatory of Music and is giving workshops all around the world.
Furthermore he has performed with Robert Dick, Phil Wachsmann, Radu Malfatti, Herb Robertson, Marcio Mattos, Eugenio Colombo, Peter Kowald, Ray Anderson, Michael Moore, Ken Vandermark, Greg Osby, Kenny Wheeler, Louis Sclavis, John Betsch, Jane Ira Bloom, Connie and Hannes Bauer, Xu Fengxia, James Newton, Muhal Richard Abrams, John Lindberg, Michael Formaneck, Ernst Reijseger, Fred van Hove, Theo Jörgensmann, Phil Minton, Peter Brötzmann, Mark Dresser, Mark Feldman, Hamid Drake, Michiel Braam, Han Bennink, Zeena Parkins, Mal Waldron, Misha Mengelberg, Beat Furrer a.m.o.
His discography count's more than 30 CDs under his own name and many others as sideman