Music Videos

Music For Here & Now:  3 Compositions By Peter Griggs

1:  Journey Without Maps    2:  Calypso    3:  Sailing To Byzantium

In “500 Years of Music for Guitar”, Peter Griggs presents a chronological tour of the modern guitarist’s repertoire from the Renaissance to the Contemporary, with music by John Dowland, J.S. Bach, Mateo Carcassi, Bartolome Calatuyud, Django Reinhardt and Baden Powell – as well as his own compositions. He also includes some examples of Spanish Flamenco and Brazilian music on the program as well.

In Kingussie Peter Griggs performed at the Iona gallery presented by the Kingussie arts network. With a collection of Brazilian music and Latin Jazz. He also performs Brazilian music such as bossa nova and choro, jazz and nuevo flamenco.

Guajirita – Bartolome Calatuyud (1882-1973) played by Peter Griggs Live Performance 27th of September, 2009 Friedenskirche, Leverkusen


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Biographical Info

peter2Peter Griggs attended the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College Division, Bowdoin College, Wesleyan University and York University (UK). His principal teachers included Louis Ricci (French Horn), Elliot Schwartz & Wilfred Mellers (composition), Marion Brown (jazz improvisation) and Pandit Sharda Sahai (tabla). In 1975, Griggs spent a year traveling throughout Asia, recording and studying with musicians in India, Nepal, Indonesia and Japan – an experience which had a great impact on his musical development.

Throughout the 1980’s, Griggs performed with two NY-based new music groups: “Gamelan Son of Lion,” the composer’s collective performing on Indonesian-style percussion instruments, and “Music By Peter Griggs With Iris Brooks & Glen Velez,” a flute, guitar and percussion trio. Gamelan Son of Lion recorded several of Griggs’ compositions, including Solar Winds (Gamelan in the New World, Volume I) and Through The Looking Glass (Locust Records). Writing in New York’s Village Voice, critic Tom Johnson observed that Griggs’ gamelan composition Dream Sequence “shimmers along almost like Debussy.” The Griggs/Brooks/Velez trio’s recording, Radio Iceland, was cited by John Schaeffer in his book New Sounds: A Listener’s Guide to New Music as “a beautiful recording of world music.”

Griggs’ innovative compositions for gamelan are mentioned twice in Music Since 1945 by Elliot Schwartz and Danile Godfrey: as part of a broader trend by composers and musicians to incorporate elements of world music in their work and for his participation in a collective composition by four different composers, entitled Gamelan N.E.A. This composition, perhaps unique in the history of music, was commissioned by the National Endowment For The Arts.

Griggs is a prolific composer for modern dance, and has collaborated with several important choreogaphers including Nacho Duato of Compania National de Danza de Espania, Linda Diamond and Sally Gross. In The New York Times, critic Jennifer Dunning wrote that Griggs’ music for a dance by Sally Gross was “as clear and mysterious as the dance itself.” During the 1990’s, he worked as sound designer, composer and musician on more than 50 Off-Broadway shows in New York with companies including Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre, Kings County Shakespeare Company and the Mint Theatre.

In 1998, Griggs collaborated with sound artist Kudzu on the album Children Of The Amazon (Treecastle Music). This CD, for Brazilian percussion, synthesizers, acoustic & electric guitar and natural sounds, was popular on National Public Radio, and critically well-received. Kathy Parson ( Solo Piano Publications USA) described the album as being “stunning in its intensity, a journey into your own imagination.” Brad Biondo ( AfterTouch USA) noted “an absolutely superb guitar performance by Peter Griggs.”

In recent years, Griggs has studied flamenco guitar in Germany and Brazilian music in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Luis, Brazil. He was based in Dusseldorf, Germany from 2002 – 2012, and currently resides in the New York City area.


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Concert Programs

“500 Years Of Music For Guitar,” is a chronological tour of the guitarist’s repertoire from the Renaissance to the Contemporary, including Baroque, Classical, flamenco, jazz and Brazilian music. The program includes music by J.S. Bach, Gaspar Sanz, Bartolome Calatuyud, Django Reinhardt, Thelonious Monk and Paulinho Nogeira – as well as Griggs’ own compositions.

“Latin Cafe,” concentrates on the music of the Latin world and includes music from Spain, Cuba, Brazil and Argentina such as flamenco, rumba, choro, samba, bossa nova and tango. “Cafe Brazil” is an all-Brazilian variation of this program, with music by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa, Baden Powell, Jorge Ben and others.

“Music For An Old English Christmas” features arrangements of traditional carols, ballads and folk dances of the British Isles, along with compositions by Elizabethan composers such as John Dowland, William Byrd and Anthony Holborne. In addition to guitar, this program includes performances on the laud, an eleven string folk lute. “All In A Garden Green” is a non-seasonal secular variation of this program.

“The Guitar In America” concentrates on the unique styles of American guitar music, including traditional finger-picking, ragtime, blues, jazz and popular song and includes music by Robert Johnson, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Wes Montgomery and others.

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