Short CV

David Paul Graham was born in 1951 in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, studied at Reading University and with Hans Werner Henze in Cologne.

He was three years in Montepulciano, teaching at the music school and organising the local music-theatre contribution to the annual festival. Here he initiated a childrens’ composition-course which produced Tre Opere per Burattini (Three Puppet-Operas) written and performed by young people. This project has become a model.

His works have been performed and broadcast in Europe and Latin-America. He composed several song-cycles (texts by Hans-Ulrich Treichel, Richard Nöbel, Rose Ausländer, Bert Brecht, Ian Stephen), larger works which have been premiered at the Almeida Festival; Münchener Biennale; Columbus Festival, Udine; Steirische Herbst, Austria and in many German cities. He has written music for radio-plays, film music for Volker Schloendorff and Bill Douglas, Music/Video with Harald Klemm (Dolly, a 20-minute artistic commentary on genetic engineering), and his latest opera was The Girls from Theresienstadt for Thomas Neuhoff and the Youth Choir of the Lukas Church, Bonn (Feb. 2010).

His didactic work with young people is widely known. In 1996 Lighting the Candle brought together the Tate Gallery, the Orchestra of St. John’s Smith Square and the National Youth Music Theatre in the performance of a stage piece with libretto and music by pupils from a London school. Graham teaches regularly a children’s composition-class in Düsseldorf, has often been composer in residence at university courses (Spain) and 7 times member of the organising committee of a Cuban festival for new music.

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Longer CV

David Paul Graham was born in 1951 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, studied at Reading University (GB), obtaining the degrees of B.A. and B.Mus., and for three years in Hans Werner Henze’s master-class at the Academy of Cologne. Over the following years he occasionally assisted H.W.Henze (e.g. completion of The English Cat and orchestration of Re Teodoro in Venezia).

Following this he was called to Montepulciano (Italy) to work as Animatore Culturale, teaching at the  music school and organising the local music-theatre contribution to the annual festival. Here he became aware of the lacunae in music-education caused by emphasis on interpretation and initiated a childrens’ composition-course which produced Tre Opere per Burattini (Three Puppet-Operas) written, composed, designed, built, lit and performed by young people with the assistance of professional artists. This project became a model throughout Europe. He was later appointed to the Music-School of Düsseldorf (Germany), specifically to work in the field of Music-Theatre with young people.    

His works range from solo pieces to stage works, and have been performed and broadcast throughout Europe and Latin-America. He is particularly interested in under-represented instruments like the Accordion (for which he wrote solo pieces, several chamber works and a concerto, Shards) and the Guitar (solo and chamber pieces). He composed several Song-cycles (Texts by Hans-Ulrich Treichel, Richard Nöbel, Rose Ausländer, Brecht) with accompaniment for, amongst others, Accordion and Guitar. A large number of chamber-pieces have resulted from his close connection to the Henze-Kammerensemble. Larger orchestral works have been premiered at the Almeida Festival, London; Münchener Biennale; Columbus Festival, Udine; Steirische Herbst, Austria and in many cities of North-Rhein Westfalia. Graham has composed film music for Volker Schlöndorff and Bill Douglas, and recently completed a Music/Video collaboration with Harald Klemm (Dolly, for Video, Sound-track and Viola, an artistic commentary on genetic manipulation/cloning). He has written several works of music-theatre, the latest being The Girls from Theresienstadt, in which the conditions in that transit-camp, especially for the girls there who gave the first performances of Brundibár, are the theme.

His didactic work in Düsseldorf and in projects in Europe and Cuba bring young people and amateurs into the world of composition and music-theatre production. In 1996 Lighting the Candle (a Picasso project) brought together the Tate Gallery, the Orchestra of St. John’s, Smith Square and the National Youth Music Theatre in the performance of a stage piece with libretto and music by pupils from a London school. Graham hopes that such projects will help create an active and critical audience for new music. His work at the Clara-Schumann-Music-School in Düsseldorf (where in 22 years his pupils have written and produced 6 operas, film music, over 300 instrumental and symphonic pieces and published material for other children) was in 1993 the subject of a film by German television.

Graham’s musical output, didactic projects and organisational work are marked by the wish to communicate and to cross borders (whether geographically or artistically) and the drive to realise artistic dreams (in composition his own, in didactic projects those of others, in festivals a mixture). He has on several occasions negotiated concert-tours for various groups from Germany outwards and vice-versa. He was regularly European organiser and a member of the organising committee of the Festival of Contemporary Music in Camagüey, Cuba (where several of his works have been performed), which involved coordinating the international project The Knight of the Pale Countenance, a music-theatre piece with librettists, composers and performers from six different countries (for which he obtained UNESCO patronage). From 2003 to 2006 he was member of the organisational team and co-composer of Islands of the Bird-Men, an interactive multimedia opera based on the history and collapse of the civilisation of St Kilda, the piece being simultaneously played in 5 different locations all linked by satellite to St Kilda. The Mons (Belgium) performance was a highlight of the Edinburgh International Festival in 2009.   

David Graham is married and has two children.

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Mini CV

DAVID PAUL GRAHAM was born in 1951 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, studied in Reading and in Hans Werner Henze's Masterclass in Cologne. He is an enthusiastic teacher, directed komposition-projects in several European countries and in Cuba. He has written chamber music, music theatre, music for radio-plays; film music for Bill Douglas and Volker Schlöndorff, music videos with Harald Klemm. After the Youth-Opera The Girls from Theresienstadt he wrote the childrens' Opera 5 and IT!.

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