""Gees wants to return to the days when music yielded a unique experience, with pleasure. Whether he succeeded? You can judge for yourself but it is certain that it is incredibly exciting and communicative, with a great pianist and improviser. The beautiful piano sound does the rest ..""www.opusklassiek.nl, 17-10-2013
Michael Gees’ biography certainly justifies the term: exceptional.
Few others can claim to have a career already behind them at the tender age of fifteen: 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 five, 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 flees the pressure of a predetermined competitional career at the age of fifteen, 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 and also appears in concerts globally; 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.
Turin reviewer N. Campogrande speaks of his “ingenious passion“ and goes on to write: “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.”
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 confines of the former mining area Consolidation. There, music, dance and theatre projects take shape, where children, youths and adults alike are incited and encouraged to discover and realize their own artistic impulses. A steady number of CDs have been released from 1996 onward on Kunstvereint, CPO, EMI and Challenge Classics, showcasing Michael Gees’ range.
"Gees wants to return to the days when music yielded a unique experience, with pleasure. Whether he succeeded? You can judge for yourself but it is certain that it is incredibly exciting and communicative, with a great pianist and improviser. The beautiful piano sound does the rest .."
"A very interesting composition in its own right, in which I hear the influence of, not German heirs to Schumann, but Bax"
When I went back to Schumann’s unadorned originals after a day or two of Gees, I had the distinctly heretical feeling of missing something and I wished I had Gees’ music written down to play from. That misses the point of improvisation, of the inspiration of the moment, though after reading Gees’ notes, I feel encouraged to try my own improvisations. What do other classical pianists do with their own favourites in the privacy of their practice rooms, I wonder.
Music Web International, 15-10-2013
The result is fascinating, opens adventuresome ways of listening and is a mixture of short detours and montain hiks from the original by Schumann.
4 stars review ****
"The framework of Schumann's compositions always stays maintained so that the exciting dialectic arises between the known and the unknown."
NRC Handelsblad, 03-9-2013
The German classical pianist Michael Gees lards Robert Schumann’s work with improvisations on his album ‘Beyond Schumann‘. So he moves in a way behind the compositions of this early 19th century composer.
Music Frames, 23-7-2013
"I feel like I have discovered new compositions of Schumann. The effect is that I wonder what Michael Gees' earlier released album is like"