Ekkehard Wölk

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Ekkehard Wölk
Ekkehard Wölk.JPG
Ekkehard Wölk – pianist.
Background information
Born(1967-06-14)14 June 1967
OriginSchleswig, Germany
GenresJazz, Classic

Ekkehard Wölk [Ekkehard Woelk] is a pianist, arranger, and composer from Germany, working in both classical and jazz idioms.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Schleswig, Federal Republic of Germany in 1967. Wölk started piano training at the age of seven. His classical music teachers and professors were Kevin McKenna (Dublin, Ireland), Hartmut Leistritz (conservatory of Lubeck), Eliza Hansen (conservatory of Hamburg), and Gunther Daubler (conservatory of Wurzburg). His jazz improvisation teachers were Walter Norris, Dieter Glawischnig, Richie Beirach, Philip Catherine, John Taylor, Fred Hersch, and Barry Harris.

After graduating from high school in 1987 he studied historical and systematic musicology at the University of Hamburg, and later at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

From 1988 to 1994 he studied classical piano at the conservatories in Hamburg and Lubeck. 1994 he graduated as a concert pianist and music pedagogue.[1]

In 1995, Wölk moved to Berlin and started working as a composer and bandleader, mostly in the jazz field.

Silent Films[edit]

A couple of his works for German films have been released on DVD by New York-based company Kino. Secrets of a Soul by G. W. Pabst from 1926 with Werner Krauss was released in 2008 and The Finances of the Grand Duke by Murnau.


He has six albums released as a pianist and arranger in Germany and Italy:

A Meeting of two American Giants - Gershwin/Bernstein (2001)

Desire for Spring (2007)

Reflections on Mozart (2006)

Songs, Chorals and Dances (2005)

Homage To Nino Rota (2008)

The Berlin Album (2011): several of Wölk's original compositions from his Berlin suite as well as new arrangements of tunes by Mendelssohn, Weill, Eisler and Holländer.[2]

Another Kind Of Faith (2017): features Wölk's jazz arrangements of Protestant chorals by Luther, Walter, Schütz and J. S. Bach.[3]

Besides that, there are several professional live radio recordings by German broadcasting stations in Berlin and Munich with his trio, mostly original compositions under the title Pictures in Sounds!


Among his most notable works as a composer, there are several large-scale suites for chamber music ensemble in the last ten years, combined with powerful segments of instrumental improvisation. The first of these compositions happened to be the epic six - mouvement suite " Across The Border'`" which was written in the summer of 2000 for piano trio ( including some intended echoes of music by COPLAND and other classical North American composers. This piece is an elaborate attempt to catch an imaginary atmosphere and the basic emotional experience of perpetual motion in travelling through a vast, wild and unexplored continent, musically alternating between tightly arranged ensemble parts and vigorously executed jazz - influenced improvisations.

The collection of diverse compositions under the title "Pictures in sounds" (1999–2006)includes a lot of numbers inspired by non- musical motifs from literature and visual arts, sometimes as musical portraits or miniatures and genre- studies, like the pieces 'The Juggler'(1999),`Bartleby’s Blues'(2001), 'Dulcinea' (2001) and 'Master Gepetto`s Nightmare'( 2002).

In the winter of 2004, Ekkehard Wölk was invited for a composer`s residency in Ahrenshoop. During that time he worked on the four-part Berlin suite called "People on Sunday" (Babylon Revisited) for septet including violin, alto sax, trombone and clarinet besides the regular piano trio in which he musically depicts the course of life on a Sunday in contemporary Berlin from sunrise to sunset. The suite is structurally inspired by the silent movie by Robert Siodmak and Billy Wilder, Menschen Am Sonntag (1929).

In June 2004 Wölk was invited for another composer`s residency in Toronto, Ontario. While taking part in the Gibraltar Point Artists' Residency, he composed a vast 18-part song cycle called "Book of images" based upon early poems by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) from his publication The Book of Images.

Some extracts from these suites have been frequently performed by the Ekkehard Wölk Trio in the past years and have also been recorded live by Deutschlandradio Kultur, Radio Berlin- Brandenburg and Bayerischer Rundfunk München.[4]

Festival Appearances[edit]

His notable festival appearances include the Mozartfest Würzburg where he delivered piano solo renditions of famous opera songs, the International Jazz Festival in New Delhi , Russia (at the Glinka Hall Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Theatre[5] in St. Petersburg[6]), and also in various European countries including Norway, Estonia, Czech Republic, Belgium and Italy.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Online Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
  2. ^ http://www.musenblaetter.de/artikel.php?aid=8285
  3. ^ Nabel label webpage
  4. ^ interview with Ekkehard Wölk
  5. ^ Mariinsky webpage
  6. ^ The full concert on Youtube