Bio

First studies and arrival in Europe.

Geoffrey Douglas Madge was born in Adelaide (Australia), having his first piano lessons at the age of eight. Later after hearing the great pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch he continued his piano studies with Clemens Leski at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide. During this period he was busy composing string quartets, songs and works for piano solo. At an early stage he developed an interest in unjustifiably neglected composers and this became one of his main enterprises. He toured Australia for 3 years with a piano trio. Then, in 1963, after winning first prize in the ABC piano competition in Sydney, he went to Europe to study with Eduardo del Pueyo in Brussels and Geza Anda in Luzern. Following this he gave successful debut concerts in London, Cologne, Budapest and Amsterdam. He settled in Holland upon his appointment as professor of piano at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague, he is now retired.

Recital programs.

Geoffrey Madges recital programmes are a combination of baroque, classical, 19th century and contemporary works, often a combination of well-known and unknown compositions. Also special projects like his Cathedrals of Sound; series (first arranged for the 1996 Adelaide Festival) in which he performs epoch-making works in 3 or 4 recitals from the whole piano literature,including the monumental Berlioz/Liszt Symfonie Fantastique. During the last years some of the main works he has been performing are Bach's Goldberg Variations, The Art of Fugue and the complete Well-tempered Clavier. Performances of such major works as Beethoven's Diabelli Variations and Hammerklavier Sonata, Reger's Bach Variations and the Debussy Etudes have always been a highlight in his concert programmes. He has always been fascinated by the connections between architecture and music.

Concerto repertoire and other interests.

He has given and still gives performances of an extremely wide range of piano concertos, all the Bachs, the 5 Beethovens, including the Choral Fantasia, Mozart's Piano Concert in C KV415, Brahms 2nd, the Max Reger Piano Concerto, the Busoni and Benjamin Britten concertos, Liszt's no's 1 and 2, all three Medtner concertos and many others. During the 60's he was investigating the music of the Russian composers around the revolution years and following much research in libraries and archives brought a number of forgotten works from Mossolov (including the piano concerto), Louriť, Roslavetz, Wyschnegradsky and others to the attention of the public.

Xenakis and Sorabji.

Following his arrival in Europe he was quickly discovered by Iannis Xenakis and other well known composers of complex works. Madge's first meeting with the celebrated composer Xenakis was in 1970 in London, prior to his performance of Herma, a part of his debut concert programme at Wigmore Hall in which he also played the Diabelli variations of Beethoven together with the complete Etudes by Debussy. Following this meeting many Xenakis performances followed under the supervision of the composer: his complete piano solo works, ensemble works and both concertos. One of the highlights in Geoffrey Madge's cooperation with Xenakis was his very successful contribution to the Xenakis Festival in 1975 in Athens with Herma, Evryali and Synaphai. In that year the new Greek government, replacing the facist regime of the colonels, decided to celebrate the new freedom by honouring Iannis Xenakis with an all-Xenakis Festival in the Herodus Atticus Theatre. In 1975 Decca recorded for LP the first piano concerto; Synaphai connexities for piano and orchestra; with the New Philharmonia Orchestra under Elgar Howarth and Geoffrey Madge as soloist,this LP won an Edison award and has recently been re-released on CD by Decca. He has given many performances of this and other Xenakis works with the conductors, Michel Tabachnik, David Porcelijn, Cristobal Halfter and Elgar Howarth.

Geoffrey Madge became widely well known through his integral performances of the Opus Clavicembalisticum by K. Sorabji. He was given personal written permission from the composer to perform the work following a number of meetings with the composer. Since the first complete performance of O.C. in the Holland Festival (Utrecht) on 11/06/82 more performances of the complete, almost 4 hours duration work have followed in Chicago, Bonn, Montreal, Paris and in Berlin (Berliner Festspiele). The release of the 5 CD production Chicago performance, recorded by WFMT-FM in Chicago and produced by BIS, has received high critical acclaim.

Compositions.

Madge has composed a considerable amount of music, including a string quartet, lieder, works for piano solo, two pianos and a ballet; Monkeys in a cage; (premiered in the Sydney Opera House in 1977). His piano concerto was premiered in Amsterdam in 1985. He has been very active writing new works for two pianos and recently 12 new piano compositions including a piano sonata. His most recent piano work Midnight at Urulu was premiered by Kamelia Miladinova in 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The influence of Busoni.

Geoffrey Madge has lifelong been researching and studying the works and playing style of the great pianist/composer Ferruccio Busoni. In 1988 Philips issued his 6 CD anthology of Busoni's solo piano works, this production was an international success and received numerous prizes, including the Dutch Edison and the Belgian Caecilia Prize. These CD's have recently been re-issued by ArkivMusic in the USA. His performances of the monumental Busoni Piano Concerto in a number of international festivals have received rave critical reviews. He regularly presents lecture recitals based around the music of Busoni.

Skalkottas.

Through his connections with the Greek music-world he came into contact with the Skalkottas Society in Athens. He was asked by the president of the Skalkottas Society to give the first performance of the 32 Piano Pieces by  Nikos Skalkottas during the 1979 ISCM Festival, held in Athens that year. At the time a huge enterprise as almost all the works had to be played from manuscript. Later giving many performances of the cycle and beginning a long-time relationship with Skalkottas's music. In 1998 the Swedish label BIS invited him to take part in their Skalkottas project. In 1999 Piano Concerto no. 1 with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra was released, in 2004 Piano Concerto no. 3 with the Caput Ensemble followed by Piano Concerto no. 2 in 2005, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, all conducted by Nikos Christodoulou. Performances of Skalkottas have followed in a.o. Germany, Iceland, Denmark and Greece.

CD releases.

His numerous CD releases include Bach/Busoni transcriptions, works by Godowsky, Mitropoulos, Reubke, Krenek, Wolpe, Xenakis, Russian music from the 1920's. Also Medtner's three piano concertos, Gershwin's Piano Concerto and Rhapsody in Blue with the Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra. Many of his older CD's have been recently re-released.

Chamber music.

He is most active in the areas of chamber music, his Madge Ensemble (see Camerata Busoni) consisting of internationally well known musicians give performances of the major piano trios, quartets and quintets, he has performed most of the major chamber repertoire, including the two piano repertoire (Beethoven/Liszt - 9th Symphony) with the Belgian pianist Daan Vandewalle.

The MadgicTouch Foundation.

The foundation;MadgicTouch; is devoted to disovering new directions in performance and pedagogy, to find more information, paste www.madgictouch.com in your browser.

Geoffrey Madge has given masterclasses in Russia, Poland, France, England, Germany, Australia and Holland.

In September 2005 Geoffrey Madge was awarded in Cracow, Poland, the prestigious Silver MedalFor Merits to Culture Gloria Artis; for his very prominent artistic creations and great contribution to culture.

home