HK Gruber

Composer, conductor and chansonnier, HK Gruber was born in Vienna in 1943 and sang with the Vienna Boys’ Choir as a child, going on to study at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik. In 1961 he began playing double bass with Ensemble die reihe and from 1969 to 1998 in the Radio Symphonieorchester Wien. Gruber first began performing as a singer/actor with the ‘MOB art and tone ART’ ensemble which he co-founded in 1968 with fellow Viennese composers Kurt Schwertsik and Otto Zykan. Composing in his own highly individual style, his music is performed internationally by the world’s leading artists and orchestras. Gruber was awarded Austria’s most prestigious cultural prize the 2002 Greater Austria State Prize, and in 2009 was announced as an Honorary Member of the Wiener Konzerthaus. Gruber is an Honorary Lifetime Trustee of the Kurt Weill Foundation.

Gruber’s compositions have been written for and performed by the foremost orchestras. Gruber's recent works include the opera »Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald« (Tales from the Vienna Woods) premiered at the Bregenz Festival in 2014 and a major new Piano Concerto for Emanuel Ax, co-commissioned by New York Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.

An active conductor with many major international orchestras, and he was Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic from 2009 to 2015.

Gruber has performed extensively as chansonnier, most notably in ‘Frankenstein!!’, his most popular work which he premiered with Sir Simon Rattle and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 1978 and has received more than 600 performances around the world. He has also performed and recorded as chansonnier in the works of Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler as well as Schoenberg’s ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ and Maxwell Davies’ ‘Eight Songs for a Mad King‘.

A major highlight of the 18/19 season, Gruber conducts Gottfried von Einem’s opera ‘Der Prozess’ in concert at the Salzburg Festival and Wiener Konzerthaus with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of von Einem, with whom Gruber studied composition. Elsewhere his music is performed by many leading orchestras including ‘Aerial’ by Håkan Hardenberger and Boston Symphony/Nelsons, ‘Charivari’ by Hong Kong Philharmonic/Christian Schumann and ‘Busking’ by Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Storgårds.

The works of HK Gruber are published by Boosey & Hawkes.

HK Gruber beim Beethovenfest






8:00 pm

The sick moon

  • Sarah Maria Sun soprano
  • amarcord
  • Ensemble Modern
  • HK Gruber Conductor
Works by Arnold Schönberg and Kurt Weill
World Conference Center Bonn, Saal »New York«