Michael Gees • piano

MG_Photo_Neu_1400px“Gees’ playing throughout the evening seemed as if he were the creator of these compositions and kept watch hence everything might fall into place as imagined by him before his inner ear. His eyes were not those of an artist intent on reproduction, but rather shone in the lambent look of passion, so like our idea of the composer as creator.“ N. Campogrande

Michael Gees’ biography certainly justies the term: exceptional. Few others can claim to have a career already behind them at the tender age of fteen: Born in 1953 into a world of sound and music, both parents are singers, the piano is his favourite toy at age three. Formal piano lessons follow at age ve, and the young musician subsequently goes on to win the Steinway Competition at age eight and receives a scholarship at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

The child prodigy is hailed as “Westphalian Mozart“, takes up studies at the conservatories in Detmold and Vienna and it seems as if he is fast on his way to become an internationally acclaimed pianist. Were it not for the gifted child’s longing to explore the world of sound on his own terms, to playfully experience his self like the great masters’ music, to invent their music all over again, note for note instead of limiting himself to a technical practice regimen. Michael Gees ees the pressure of a predetermined competitional career at the age of fteen, leaves school, conservatory and home behind, supports himself through odd jobs, works as archeological assistant and, in the process, for the duration of two full years, becomes a sailor.

Chance leads him back to the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, where he resumes his compositional studies and eventually graduates. He now develops first rate pianistic chops on his own, composes a number of works, gains international renown as lied accompanist of extraordinary proportions with Christoph Prégardien in Paris, London, New York and Tokio. All the while, he nurses and feeds his preference for combining the performance of music of past masters with living inspiration, thereby creating remarkable performances with his instrument.

In 1989, Gees founds forum kunstvereint in his adopted hometown of Gelsenkirchen; the Consol Theater, also installed by him, opens its doors in 2001 on the connes of the former mining area Consolidation. A steady number of CDs have been released from 1996 onward on forum kunstvereint, CPO and EMI, showcasing Michael Gees’ range. Since 2008 Michael Gees is associated to the Netherlands label Challenge Classics. The 2009 release of the Schöne Müllerin with Christoph Prégardien won the MIDEM Classical Award and became Recording of the Year.

Michael Gees works on solo-recitals beyond tradition, on modernized lied-renditions, melodramas and stage music.

Nothing is as present as music extempore.

As desperately as the improviser waits for inspiration by the muse, on which he depends, he is still honestly surprised once it comes. Surprised by seduction to play music for which there is no correct fingering. Music for which he is not prepared – and for which he must not be prepared. Music, which also requires improvised methods of performance, now!


ImproviSatie – Play Schumann

(Erik Satie – Robert Schumann – Extempores)

Aus: Vieux Sequins et Vieilles Cuirasses / Alte Zechinen und Harnische (1913):Crépuscule matinal (de midi) / Morgendämmerung (zur Mittagszeit)
5ème Gnossienne (1893):
Aus: Kinderszenen op. 15 (1838): 1.Von fremden Ländern und Menschen / 2. Kuriose Geschichte / 3. Hasche-Mann / 4. Bittendes Kind
Aus: Pièces froides / Frostige Stücke: (1897): Danses de travers / Verkehrte Tänze Nr. 1
1ère Gnossienne
Aus Véritables Prélude Flasques (pour un chien) / Wahrhaft schlaffe Präludien (für einen Hund) (1913): 
1. Sévère réprimande / Strenger Verweis / 
Aus: Kinderszenen op. 15 (1838): 5. Glückes genug 
Aus Véritables Prélude Flasques (pour un chien) / Wahrhaft schlaffe Präludien (für einen Hund) (1913): 2. Seul à la maison/Allein zu Haus


Aus: Kinderszenen op. 15 (1838): 6. Wichtige Begebenheit / 7. Träumerei / 8. Am Kamin
Danses de travers, Nr. 2
4ème Gnossienne
Aus: Descriptions automatiques / Automatische Beschreibungen (1913): 
1: Sur une lanterne / Von einer Laterne / 
Aus: Kinderszenen op. 15 (1838): 9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd / 10. Fast zu ernst / 11. Fürchtenmachen / 12. Kind im Einschlummern
Danses de travers, Nr. 3
1ère Gymnopédie (1888)
Aus: Vieux Sequins et Vieilles Cuirasses / Alte Zechinen und Harnische: Nr. 2, Danse cuirassée (Période greque) / Geharnischter Tanz (Griechische Periode)
Aus: Kinderszenen op. 15 (1838): 
13. Der Dichter spricht

ImproviSatie (Erik Satie and Music Extempore)
or: To Satie & Beyond (An expedition in Erik Satie’s World)

From Vieux Sequins et Vieilles Cuirasses / Old Sequins and Breast-Plates:
Crépuscule matinal (de midi) / Break of Dawn (at Noontime)
5ème Gnossienne
From: Pièces froides / Chilly Pieces:
Danses de travers / Wrong Dances Nr. 1
1ère Gnossienne
From Véritables Prélude Flasques (pour un chien) / Truly Flabby Preludes (for a Dog):
1. Sévère réprimande / Strict Reprimand / 2. Seul à la maison / Home Alone
Danses de travers, Nr. 2
From Descriptions automatiques / Automatic Descriptions: 1. Sur une lanterne / Of a Lantern
4ème Gnossienne
Danses de travers, Nr. 3
1ère Gymnopédie
From: Vieux Sequins et Vieilles Cuirasses / Old Sequins and Breast-Plates: Nr. 2, Danse cuirassée (Période greque) / Armored Dance (Greek Period)






CC72512 ImproviSatie - coverMichael Gees / Erik Alfred Leslie Satie
Michael Gees, piano
(Challenge Classics, 2011, 1 CD, Catalogue no. CC 72512)





CC72597 Beyond Schumann - coverRobert Schumann
Beyond Schumann
Michael Gees, piano
(Challenge Classics, 2013, 1 CD, Catalogue no. CC 72597)





CC72656 Secret Key Masters - coverMichael Gees / Frans Ehlhart / Marion von Tilzer
Secret Key Masters – Extempore
Michael Gees, piano
(Challenge Classics, 2015, 1 CD, Catalogue no. CC 72656)