Aleksander Gabryś is a composer and double bassist, born on 22nd October 1974 in Siemianowice Śląskie.
Gabryś studied in Waldemar Tamowski’s double bass class at the Academy of Music in Katowice, from which he graduated with honours in 1998. Next, from 1999 to 2002, he studied in Wolfgang Güttler’s class at the Musik-Akademie der Stadt Basel, where he obtained his diploma as a soloist. He then advanced his composing skills under the supervision of his father, Ryszard Gabryś. In 1997, he was granted a scholarship by the government of Brandenburg at the Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf, and in 2002, a scholarship by Ernst Siemens Musikstiftung and Friends of Warsaw Autumn Foundation. He participated in double bass master classes in Łańcut, Katowice, Wrocław, Trossingen (Germany), and Ften (Switzerland).
Gabryś won several national composing competitions, such as the Andrzej Krzanowski Competition and Patri Patriae. He was also distinguished at the Concours International de Musique Electroacoustique in Bourges (1998), at the Andrzej Panufik Young Composers’ Competition in Kraków (1999), and Tadeusz Baird Young Composers’ Competition in Warsaw (2001). As a double bassist, he won the Adam Bronisław Ciechański Competition in Poznań (1997) and received second prize at the Krzysztof Penderecki International Chamber Music Competition in Kraków (1998).
Pieces composed by Gabryś have been performed at the Silesian Composers’ Tribune, and the Silesian Days of Contemporary Music festival, as well as festivals like Warsaw Autumn, Days of Kraków Composers’ Music, Unerhörte Musik, and Forsterbrücke in Germany, Hudobné Salóny in Banska Bystrica, Synthése 2003 in Bourges, Musica Polonica Nova in Wrocław, Organ Conversatorium in Legnica, Ars Cameralis Silesiae Superioris, and at a few dozen recitals in Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, France, and Italy.
He was the first Polish artist to perform Sofia Gubaidulina’s Sonata for Double Bass, Ilja Zeljenka’s Concertina, double bass version of 1+1+1+1 by Witold Szalonek and pieces by Giacinto Scelsi and Iannis Xenakis. A dozen or so double bass miniatures and bigger music forms have been dedicated to him by composers such as Thomas Kessler, Jevgienij Iršai, Andrzej Dziadek, Edward Bogusławski, Dagmara Jack, Ryszard Klisowski, Piotr Radko, Ryszard Gabryś, Aram Hovhanissyan, Thomas Lauck, Krzysztof Knittel, Michel Roth, Alfred Knüsel, Junghae Lee, Zbigniew Karkowski. In 2015, within the framework of the Karkowski/Xenakis project, Gabryś took part in the premiere of the last piece composed by Karkowski, who died in 2013 – Studio Varèse for Double Bass and Electronics. He also has many premiere recordings for Polish Radio and recording sessions for Polish Composers’ Union in his credit. In 2010, he released the double solo album BASSOLO, recorded within the framework of the ‘Młoda Polska’ scholarship he received from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
Aleksander Gabryś performs as a soloist (among others with the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, Basel-Sinfonieorchester, and Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra) and as a chamber musician (in Proporzioni oboe trio, Pre-arte trio, and Basel-based X-Quartett). He is a member of Ensemble Phoenix Basel, and collaborates with Collegium Novum Zürich, the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern (performances in Venice, Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Berlin), Ensemble Aventure, Ensemble Musikfabrik from Kőln, Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik, and Klangforum Wien (festivals in Paris, Madrid, Venice, Lisbon, Warsaw, Kraków, Porto, Innsbruck, Salzburg, and many events in Vienna, such as Wien Modern Festival).
His artistic output includes film scores as well. His piece Eco-Ethno-Polish-Mountains-Spheroid, inspired by traditional music from the Beskidy region, was used in the animated film Nowa Chowańszczyzna directed by Ewa Grabowska. He has also composed music for Alicja Żebrowska's artistic para-documentary Avunculus about the protesters from Wujek coal mine who were killed in 1981, and for photo series Nokturn by French photographer and director Carl Cardonnier.
Gabryś is one of the founders of Polish Society of Double Bassists. He also conducts academic seminars in new music performance.
- Miniatury for double bass and tape (1990)
- Lux in Tenebris for tape (1992)
- Voak Gefeustich, instrumental theatre for five musicians-actors (1992)
- Święty Boże for soprano, piano strings, tapes and lights (1993)
- Ogród Igier Boskich for strings and computer sounds (1994)
- Quadrofonietta for string instrument and live electronics (1996)
- Printemps Mandale for tape (1997)
- Actus Contra Naturam for tape and dancer (1997)
- Eco-Ethno-Polish-Mountains-Spheroid for tape (1998)
- Abraxas for string orchestra and tape (1998)
- Man in Fish for double bass and tape (1999)
- Bas-el-Karneval for string instrument and live electronics (2000)
- L’ultima Volta Con Dde-cadenza for tape (2000)
- Folklorietta, computer music with authentic folk recordings from Beskid Śląski (2001)
- Patrix for double bass and tape (2001)
- Deus Irae for violin, viola, cello, percussion instruments, accordion, piano, double bass and gadulka (2002)
- Aleksandrietta for two double basses and one performer (2003)
- Avanti, Amico! [wersja I] for clarinet (2003)
- Da ich ein Knabe war… for high voice, clarinet, French horn, piano, violin and cello; text by Friedrich Hölderlin (2003)
- Avanti, Amico! [wersja II] for bass clarinet (2003)
- Jekyll-Hyde for creative double bassist (2004)
- Nano for creative double bassist (2004)
- If It's Truth for double bass and string quartet (2005)
- Bas-El for tape (2006)
- Glorietta for choir of soloists and tape [together with Ryszard Gabryś] (2007)
- Donquixoterie for (counter)tenor, guitar, double bass and live electronics (2008)
- Pax, Freunde, Pax for trumpet and tape (2008)
- Nokturn – music for a series of photographs by Carl Cordonnier (2009)
- Nowa Chowańszczyzna – film score for an animated film directed by Ewa Słowik-Grabowska (2009)
- Avunculus – film score for a documentary directed by Alicja Żebrowska (2009)
- elUle for horn and violin (2010)
- CARRILLO_N13¿ Einetransgradiale Musik-Installation installation/performance – co-composition, Biennale Bern (2012)
- Bestiarium for horn and violin (2012)
- Bestiarium – Fortune Square trio tripSinfAct for violin, horn and symphony orchestra (2013)
- metAtem – interactive music booth inspired by Dante Alighieri and Micrograms by Robert Walser, Bern and Basel (2014)
Originally written in Polish by Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Music Information Centre, Polish Composers' Union, May 2003; translated and updated by MG, August 2019.