|First studies and arrival in Europe.|
Geoffrey Douglas Madge was born
in Adelaide (Australia), having his first piano lessons at the age of eight.
hearing the great pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch he decided to continue 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.
Geoffrey Madge’s 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 in 3 or 4 recitals epoch-making works
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, Busoni and the Britten concertos, Liszt's no's 1 and 2,
Medtner 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. Madge’s first meeting with the celebrated composer
was in 1970 in London, prior to his performance of “Herma”, a part of his debut
concert programme at Wigmore Hall. 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. 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 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.|
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.
|The influence of Busoni.|
Geoffrey Madge has lifelong been researching and studying the work/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
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 response. He regularly presents lecture recitals based around the music of
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.
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.
He is most active in the areas of chamber music, his Madge Ensemble (see Camerata Busoni) consisting of internationally well known musicians giving performances of the major piano trios, quartets and quintets.
The MadgicTouch Foundation.
The foundation "MadgicTouch" is devoted to disovering new
directions in performance and pedagogy.
|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 Medal “For Merits to Culture
Gloria Artis” for his very prominent artistic creations and great contribution