Biography - GrauSchumacher Piano Duo

With their sublime and explosive recordings, Andreas Grau and Götz Schumacher have established themselves as the world’s leading piano duo, only comparable to the legendary Kontarsky brothers – but even in this comparison GrauSchumacher’s interpretational skill leaves the Kontarsky brothers in the dust. (Fonoforum)

Andreas Grau and Götz Schumacher, with their talent for putting together clever and innovative programmes, have established themselves as one of the world’s top piano duos. Their collaboration at the piano is evidence that the two expert pianists are nothing short of musical soul mates.

The vast breadth of the duo’s expressiveness has garnered it invitations to various festivals and concert halls, such as the Cologne Philharmonie, Berlin Philharmonie, Cité de la Musique Paris, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Salzburg Festival, Tonhalle Zurich and the Piano Festival La Roque d'Anthéron, and has resulted in partnerships with renowned conductors such as Michael Gielen, Lothar Zagrosek, Emanuel Krivine, Heinz Holliger, Kent Nagano, Bertrand de Billy, Andrej Boreyko, Georges Prêtre and Zubin Mehta.

Their most recent projects have included concerts with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, SWR Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian State Orchestra Munich, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, as well as performances at the Rheingau Music Festival, Klarafestival Brussels, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Konzerthaus Vienna, Mozarteum Salzburg, De Doelen Rotterdam, Handelsbeurs Ghent and the Concertgebouw Bruges. Upcoming orchestral engagements will take the duo to the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra among others.

Through their performances of well-known orchestral concertos by composers such as Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Bartók and Poulenc, the GrauSchumacher Piano Duo is always striving for new ways to extend the repertoire for two pianos and orchestra. They have, for example, initiated an arrangement by Stefan Heucke of Franz Liszt’s famous Concerto Pathétique (originally for two pianos) for two pianos and orchestra. Inspired by the duo’s virtuosic and delicate playing, some of the most important contemporary composers have written new concertos for Andreas Grau and Götz Schumacher, most recently Peter Eötvös, Philippe Manoury and Jan Müller-Wieland. In October 2015, they will give the world premiere of a new concerto Machine in Echo by Luca Francesconi at the Cologne Philharmonie with the WDR Symphony Orchestra under Peter Rundel’s direction.

In August, the Duo already gave the world premiere of ictus II, a composition for two pianos and two percussionists by the Hindemith prize winner Bernd Richard Deutsch at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. The autumn will also feature the first performance of Hanspeter Kyburz’s ptyx. Philipp Manoury’s hour-long work Le temps, mode d’emploi for piano duo and electronics, which Andreas Grau and Götz Schumacher premiered in 2014, will be performed again in autumn 2015 at the Wigmore Hall as well as at the Festival Musica Strasbourg and the Tage für Neue Musik Zürich.

Their keen ability to conceive carefully considered programmes is also evident in their numerous recordings which appear, among others, in their own series on Neos. Their album of Stockhausen's Mantra won awards from Le monde de la musique and Diapason. Gramophone selected their CD Visions de l'Amen, featuring works by Messiaen and Schütz/Kurtág, as Editor's Choice. The duo has also made recordings of Luciano Berio’s orchestral works and Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps that were highly celebrated by critics. Their Concerti series with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, which already includes Concerti I (Mozart, Bartók, Liszt) and Concerti II (Liszt/Heucke, Bach, Stravinsky), will now be completed with Concerti III. The new CD with works by Poulenc, McPhee and Adams will be released in the current season.