GRAMMY® nominated composer Gernot Wolfgang lives in Los Angeles, writes music for the concert stage and works as an orchestrator for film, TV and video games.
Critics describe GRAMMY® nominated Gernot Wolfgang as a “master composer with important things to communicate to his listeners” (David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare) and a composer with a “winning sonic arsenal” (Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone), while jazz legend Dave Brubeck characterized Gernot’s music as being of “unconventional beauty”. In his review on icareifyoulisten.com, Don Clark portrays the compositions on Gernot’s 2016 CD Passing Through as “substantial, provocative, entertaining examples of the now and future of chamber music.”
Born in Bad Gastein, Austria in 1957, Gernot Wolfgang currently resides in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the program "Scoring for Motion Pictures and TV" at USC, and holds degrees from Berklee College of Music in Boston and the University of Music in Graz, Austria.
Gernot has so far received more than 40 commissions from individuals and organizations such as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (2006 and 2015), the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, the Jazz Festival of the European Broadcasting Union, Los Angeles Philharmonic principals Michele Zukovsky (clarinet), Joanne Pearce Martin (keyboard) and David Breidenthal (bassoon), the Verdehr Trio & Michigan State University (1999 and 2007), the Debussy Trio, Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society, Cal State Northridge, Oesterreichische Kammersymphoniker (Austria), Jazz Bigband Graz (Austria), and the Los Angeles based chamber music series Chamber Music Palisades, Pacific Serenades and South Bay Chamber Music Society.
His concert works, which are published by Doblinger and Fatrock Ink Music Publishers, have been presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Kyushu Symphony Orchestra (Japan), Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Australia), Muenchner Rundfunkorchester (Germany) and the Symponieorchester Vorarlberg (Austria. They have been performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) in New York, National Gallery in Washington, D.C., Prinzregententheater in Munich (Germany), Konzerthaus and Musikverein in Vienna and at festivals such as the New York Chamber Music Festival, the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato (Mexico), the Wiener Festwochen and Wien Modern.
Albany Records has released three CDs of Gernot's chamber music: Passing Through (TROY1624, 2016), which received a 2016 GRAMMY® nomination in the category Classical Compendium, Short Stories (TROY1248, 2011) and Common Ground (TROY854, 2006). His music can also be heard on the Polygram, Universal, Koch, Navona, Crystal Records, GIA, Yarlung, Capstone, Centaur and Extraplatte labels.
As a guitarist with the Austrian jazz ensemble "The QuARTet" he has recorded two critically acclaimed CDs for Extraplatte and toured extensively throughout Europe in the 1990s.
From 1990-93 Gernot was a lecturer for Jazz Composition and Harmony at the University of Music in Graz. He has guest lectured and held masterclasses at UCLA, Texas Tech University, the University of Music in Vienna and Instrumenta Verano in Oaxaca, Mexico. Gernot has received awards, grants and scholarships from the American Composers Forum, American Music Center, the Austrian Ministry for Education and the Arts, the Austrian Ministry for Science and Research, Austro Mechana, Berklee College of Music, Billboard Magazine, BMI, the Fulbright Commission and the State of Tyrol, Austria.
Gernot Wolfgang also works as an orchestrator in the film and TV music industry. He is currently associate artistic director of HEAR NOW - A Festival of New Music by Contemporary Los Angeles Composers and on the advisory board of Coretet, a Los Angeles-based chamber music commissioning program.
ROUTE 33 for solo piano
SINFONIA CONCERTANTE for Four Winds - THE D.A.R.K. KNIGHTS for chamber orchestra
WINDOWS for clarinet, bassoon and piano
GHOST TRAIN for flute, bassoon and piano
SANTA BARBARA SUITE for small wind ensemble
STRING THEORY for string quartet
"Wolfgang's arresting, jazz-drenched new score seemed to capture at once the realities and myths of Los Angeles during fire season ... This piece could also serve as the score for an archetypical 1950s L.A. detective thriller - music that's somehow cool and sultry at the same time. Wherever your imagination takes you, Wolfgang provides the fuel ... "
- Richard S. Ginell, The Los Angeles Times
(on Gernot's composition for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, DESERT WIND)
"Winning sonic arsenal from composer with jazz, film and TV music background ... although there are many nods to jazz, folk and Latin music, the influences come across as partners to Gernot Wolfgang's creative individuality ... the repertoire embraces everything from puckish humour and jubilance to haunting modernism and lyrical radiance. Wolfgang is especially inventive in frisky and poetic material for such pairings as bassoon and double bass, as in Low Agenda, and viola and bassoon, which weave Three Short Stories."
- Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone (on the CD SHORT STORIES)
"It's the Second Viennese School by way of jazz, or perhaps vice versa. It incorporates some fluid, evocative harmonies, carrying the listener along on its sheer drive and inner logic".
- Stephen Francis Vasta, Musicweb-International.com
(on Gernot's piano quartet FROM VIENNA WITH LOVE)
"There is no doubt in my mind that Wolfgang is a major composer of our times ... Gernot continues to turn out an excellent array of some of the best music for bassoon of the 20th century ... Gernot Wolfgang's musical style is fundamentally atonal, but highly developmental, utilizing very interesting melodic and rhythmic motives to bind the music together. The influences of jazz and rock are clearly audible in his music, and the entire structure has a wonderful sense of finesse and completion that is often missing in the works of many modern composers. I never cease to be fascinated by the structural and musical texture I find in his compositions."
- Ronald Klimko, The Double Reed
" ... it's just like hearing 'Le Sacre du Printemps' for the first time once again. And we can claim without hesitation, that after listening to COMMON GROUND you will be able to answer the question whether you've ever experienced shivers down your spine when listening to experimental music with a full-bodied 'Yes!'."
- Tobias Fischer, tokafi.com (on the CD COMMON GROUND)
"My favorite section is Gernot Wolfgang's 3 Short Stories for Clarinet & Bassoon, a marvelous neoclassical procession as adventurous as a Miro painting, Gray double-tracking with bassoon (Judith Farmer) in low and high registers, offsetting each others' work in constantly switching lead voices."
- Mark S. Tucker, acousticmusic.com (on the CD SHADES OF GRAY)
"Gernot Wolfgang knows what he's doing ... Theremin's Journey is a mixture of old electronics, new media and traditional piano with more than enough incident to transcend its vernacular idiom into something very cool, clever and seductive."
- Rodney Punt, LA Opus
" ... [Reflections is] a truly modern work which would satisfy even the most hard core audiences at the Darmstadt Festival ... performers and audiences alike will enjoy the gripping emotionality of the piece."
- Ensemble Magazin, Germany
- Dave Brubeck, Jazz Great
"An outstanding composer ... "
- Concerto and Tiroler Tageszeitung, Austria
I started out in music as a jazz guitarist/composer. Ever since jazz has been an integral part of my work. I have always felt that stylistic borders are without meaning and that composing is primarily about making a personal statement. In this light major triads and "noise" coexist with equal value as part of the compositional vocabulary. My ongoing quest is to write music which is a natural synthesis between the rhythmic energy of jazz and the developmental and formal complexity of 20th century concert music.