Lars Graugaard

Denmark’s Lars Graugaard is a prolific and chameleon-like pioneer whose background lies in a very contemporary mix of musical styles that include classical, contemporary, improvised and urban. This lets him move with ease between a variety of musical areas ranging from abstract and demanding sonic statements to effortless, street-smart rhythm designs. And holding a MA in music performance and a PhD in interactive music allows him to explore a unique, novel and at times innovative take on electronic music in computer code and performance.His main interest is realtime generated music which he practices in multiple settings – alone, in duos with instrumentalists and with groups of players in directed performances, or more formally in fully structured and pre-established compositions in score notation.

Lars uses the computer as his instrument exclusively, which he programs according to his needs. Everything coming from his laptop is generated in realtime – no musical phrases, groupings or section are pre-recorded – and this allows him to have various ways to instantly create, guide and affect musical expressions. To do so, he incorporates the most recent insight into human cognition and meaning-making in sound into his programming as the point-of-departure for a music that is rich and intriguing yet easily appreciated by the naked ear.

Lars may at times decide push the music into various kinds of extra-musical expressions and explorations. But because of its origins it is always based on ‘soft’ musicality and therefore retains a linkage to human expression, however far he ventures into audacious experiments. So, rather than seeking the digital he looks for the human, even though he is always ready to re-locate into novel areas of musical expression and appreciation.

Given this approach, his collaborators always have a major, musical impact on the outcome. The same starting point can give remarkably different results, something which is readily appreciated in his records and concerts, where two performances never are alike. This testifies to the flexibility and responsiveness of his self-programmed digital performance tool and highlights the improvisatory undercurrent to each musical piece.Equally at home in the concert-hall and club, Lars has worked with a wide range of artists, groups ensembles all over the world with releases on small independents and major labels. A multiple recipient of artist grants, Lars now focuses his performing energies on realtime interaction with an entirely unique re-imagining of the possibilities of the 21st century jazz idiom.

Apart from extensive performing Lars is at the moment resident composer at Grup Instrumental de Valéncia, Spain and visiting faculty artist at New York University Steinhardt, the latter giving rise to many recordings for clang and other labels.

An introductory video showing the realtme interaction in a recording session with pianist Jean-Michel Pilc.

Filmed by Joel Stephen and edited by Simon C.F. Yu