Composer, conductor and chansonnier, HK Gruber was born in Vienna in 1943 and sang with the Vienna Boys’ Choir as a child, going on to study at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik. In 1961 he began playing double bass with Ensemble ‘die reihe’ and from 1969 to 1998 was a member of the Radio Symphonieorchester Wien. Gruber first began performing as a singer/actor with the ‘MOB art and tone ART’ ensemble which he co-founded in 1968 with fellow Viennese composers Kurt Schwertsik and Otto Zykan.
He composes in his own highly individual style, and his music is performed inter nationally by the world’s leading artists and orchestras such as the Vienna Phil harmonic, New York Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker and at the Lucerne Fes tival, Carnegie Hall and BBC Proms. Gruber is particularly noted for his con certos, including the percussion concertos Rough Music and into the open…, Aerial for trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger and his Cello Concerto written for Yo-Yo Ma and premièred at Tanglewood in 1989.
Gruber was awarded Austria’s most prestigious cultural prize, the 2002 Greater Austria State Prize, and in 2009 was announced as an honorary member of the Wiener Konzerthaus, following a great tradition of musicians to also receive this accolade, including Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Leonard Bernstein and Claudio Abbado. Gruber is an honorary lifetime trustee of the Kurt Weill Foundation.