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Alexander Grychtolik (Harpsichord, Organ, Conductor, Arranger)

Born: September 6, 1980 - Berlin, Germany

The German harpsichordist, organist, conductor, improviser, musicologist, academic, and conductor, Alexander Ferdinand Grychtolik, graduated from the Hochschule für Musik "Franz Liszt", Weimar, where he began research and work on his idea that it would be possible to digitally reconstruct selected works from J.S. Bach's Weimar period, creating a historical concert in a virtual church. Grychtolik received the school's Franz Liszt Prize in 2005. He studied the harpsichord with Bernhard Klapprott (Germany) and with Frédérick Haas at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. He also studied architecture at Bauhaus-University Weimar, where he published an article about the concert halls of the GDR.

Alexander Grychtolik has concertised at several European early music festivals. He has lectured at various conservatories such as Frankfurt and taught Baroque improvisation at the Hochschule für Musik "Franz Liszt", Weimar, the first such teaching position in Germany. He has also taught for instance at the Frankfurt music academy. He specializes in the field of early music, Baroque improvisation and composition.

Alexander Grychtolik spent many years exploring the art of Baroque composition, an endeavour that culminated in a number of nternationally renowned reconstructions of J.S. Bach's vocal works, broadcast on German and other European public radio networks. Critics praised the reconstructions as a "delightful experience" (NMZ online March 2010), as "conclusive" (Concerto 232/2010) and as a reconstruction reflecting an "intimate understanding of J.S. Bach's style" (Tibia March 2008). He edited J.S. Bach's St. Mark Passion (BWV 247) (the late version. performed in 1744) as a stylistically consistent reconstruction, published by Edition Peters. This work was lost, the last known copy having burned in 1945. This version that was only authenticated in 2009, was completely reconstructed for the first time by Grychtolik. He also edited a first reconstruction of the funeral cantata Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt, BWV 244a, also called Köthener Trauermusik, which J.S. Bach used as the base for his St Matthew Passion (BWV 244). J.S. Bach's O angenehme Melodei, BWV 210a, only survives as a fragment. However, because J.S. Bach used it for his wedding cantata O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit, BWV 210, it was possible to reconstruct the piece. Grychtolik's work makes it possible to perform the cantata in concert (Heidelberg: Edition Güntersberg, 2007). He has also reconstructed Hochzeitskantate Vergnügte Pleißenstadt, BWV 216 (Leipzig Hofmeister, 2008):

“For me, exploring early music is a seamless experience where interpretation, improvisation and composition come together to make up the creative process." That is how harpsichordist Alexander Grychtolik sums up his artistic vision. His concert performances are dedicated to the revival of the art of improvisation by J.S. Bach and his contemporaries, "also to further the understanding of what we call period music."

The reconstruction of J.S. Bach's St. Mark Passion (BWV 247) was first performed on April 1, 2007 as part of the festival Thüringer Bachwochen in Weimar's Herderkirche, where several of J.S. Bach's children were baptized. Klaus-Jürgen Teutschbein (Germany) conducted; Grychtolik played the harpsichord. It was again performed in the St. Jakobskirche in Köthen (Anhalt), where J.S. Bach once lived and worked, as part of its 23rd Köthener Bach Festtage. The day before the concert, Grychtolik participated in a panel discussion and had to answer questions about his J.S. Bach "parody" from J.S. Bach experts who are critical of his efforts. The Köthener Trauermusik was performed in March 2010 by the Lautten Compagney Berlin at the Sophienkirche in Berlin and at the Kammermusiksaal of the Deutschlandfunk in Cologne and later broadcast on radio. A performance on May 11, 2010 was aired by Austrian broadcaster ORF. In 2012 he recorded his reconstructions of two J.S. Bach's Birthday Cantatas Steiget freudig in die Luft BWV 36a and Der Himmel lacht, BWV 66a (Rondeau Production).

Alexander Grychtolik founded the ensemble Mitteldeutsche Hofmusik in 2008, devoted to reviving the musical tradition of Baroque courts in Middle Germany, especially occasional works. He is married to the harpsichordist Aleksandra Magdalena Grychtolik, with whom he has appeared in concert.

Source: Alexander Grychtolik Website; Wikipedia Website (November 2012)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2013)

Alexander Grychtolik: Short Biography | Mitteldeutsche Hofmusik | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Alexander Grychtolik (Official Website) [English/German]

Alexander Ferdinand Grychtolik (Wikipedia) [English]
Alexander Ferdinand Grychtolik (Wikipedia) [German]

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