“Gartner presented a kaleidoscope of tonal colour.” Judith Crispin – citynews.com.au (10/5/15)
“…cellist Geoffrey Gartner imbuing the line with a sumptuous sound…” Alan Holley – classikon.com (Jan 2015)
“…fantastically frenzied…” Felicity Clark – RealTime (Aug-Sep 2011)
“…resplendent and flawless.” Lloyd Bradford Syke – Curtain Call (07/04/11)
It’s been a year of wildly contasting music-making! I have presented four separate solo recital programs: world premieres, great Australian works and masterpieces from the western art music canon.
In January I travelled to the USA, where I presented present three separate programs. The first of these, Alumnus Recital was at my alma mater, UC San Diego, and included major solo works by Dallapiccola, Ginastera, Lachenmann and Damien Ricketson. It was wonderful to see so many of my former students and professors in the audience. I also presented two recitals in New Orleans: a program of electro-acoustic works at Tulane University, and another at the Marigny Opera House. This latter program featured two large-scale works: Bach’s 4th Unaccompanied Suite, and the premiere of Rick Snow’s installation for cello and spatially disposed sound-sculptures, In the Shade.
In March I presented a recital to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Roseville Music Club which featured Ysaÿe’s rarely performed Sonata for Solo Cello and Bach’s 3rd Unaccompanied Suite. I also performed with the Hourglass Ensemble in the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Recital Hall.
In May I presented another series of recitals with Daniel Herscovitch. Following on from our 2015 performance of Chopin’s Cello Sonata we presented a program featuring another large-scale masterpiece of the romantic era, Brahms’ Cello Sonata in F major, Op.99 and the premiere of Peter Dart’s Suite for cello and piano. We will record this work for the Wirripang label next year.
And for something completely different, I returned to the world of Fluxus, performing a suite of pieces by Dick Higgins from his infamous Danger Music series at the Liquid Architecture festival. Dangerous indeed…
For the past two years it feels like I have spent more time in the recording studio than out of it: 2016 saw the release of three separate CDs featuring my playing. I am particularly proud of the most recent of these, a survey of the music of German composer Wolfgang Steffen, who was professor of music theory at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin. A highly accomplished composer writing in a freely atonal style, Steffen’s music has been sadly neglected in recent decades. It is hoped that this disc goes some way to righting this wrong.
Curated by Daniel Herscovitch (who features on most tracks), this disc is packed with a diverse array of music, including the live premiere of the composer’s Violin Concerto. The disc also features great Australian performers Merlyn Quaife, Clemens Leske and Stephen Lalor. You can hear an excerpt from our recording of Steffen’s epic work for cello and piano, Diagramm, here. To purchase a copy click on this link.
I have also been hard at work in the studio with doyennes of Australian vocal chamber music, Halcyon. Several new discs have recently been issued including Waves III (available for digital download here), Waves II (featuring Ross Edwards’ tour-de-force for mezzo soprano and cello, Maninya I) and Kingfisher on the Tall Poppies label. The culmination of years of work, Kingfisher features twenty one new Australian commissions written to celebrate Halcyon’s fifteenth birthday. For detailed track listing, or to purchase these discs please visit the Halcyon website.
Also recently released on the Wirripang label is Halcyon’s latest disc, War Letters – New Music Commemorating WWI, where I direct Elliott Gyger’s 2015 work, Un Poilu Australien. Further recordings with Halcyon will be released in 2017, including another major opus by Gyger and music by Andrew Schultz.
Preparations for my first solo CD are also well underway. It will consist entirely of solo compositions written for me by Australian composers. Chris Tonkin’s work, Headspaces, and Rosalind Page’s two stunning opuses have already been recorded. Works by Damien Ricketson and Dominik Karski will follow.