“Search for your authentic self and let it permeate into your notes.”
Peter Greve (1931-2021) not only spoke these wise words, but practiced them throughout his career as a composer. With a vast breadth of personality-infused compositions spanning numerous releases on Navona Records, Greve’s work speaks to his personal interests and experiences, an authentic extension of himself that we at PARMA reflect on today.
Born in The Hague, Netherlands, Greve decided at the young age of 6 that he wanted to become a composer; when, exactly, had yet to be determined. The music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert were frequent in Greve’s childhood home, held to high regard and almost treated as guests as they captured his family’s attention when played on the radio.
Though music was evidently the path for Greve to take, other stops were made along the way in his journey to becoming a full time artist. Greve continued his musical studies in piano, trumpet, theory, and orchestral conducting during his collegiate career, but ultimately finished with a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemistry. His devotion to music was still strong, however his career as a scientific researcher in the pharmaceutical industry and in state service took the reins.
Greve’s career in the world of science was fruitful, having acted as a consultant for various national and international organisations such as the UN-Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UN-World Health Organization (WHO). After his retirement in 2002, Greve went on to fulfill his early childhood dream of becoming a full time composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist, becoming a member of the Society of Dutch Composers and BUMA/Stemra, the Dutch organization charged with collecting copyrights for its members.
Greve made his Navona Records debut on PINNACLE in January 2016 with his piece Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, written to honor his late friend’s outgoing personality, love of nature, philosophy, and altruism.
Just a year later marked Greve’s second Navona Records release — this time with fellow Dutch composer Hans Bakker — on LINES TO INFINITY with pieces inspired by his interests in foreign cultures and human connections.
As a composer, Greve often pushed the boundaries of classical conventions, both in his compositions and his orchestrations. His Aria for organ and trumpet duo on 2019’s IN TANDEM boldly paired prominent brass writing with soft and subdued organ lines underneath, an unlikely and masterfully executed combination.
In November of 2019, Greve released a full length album of original music through Navona Records. THE PALACE OF THE DREAMKING — recorded with a number of notable orchestras, chamber musicians, and choir — granted listeners an eclectic and experimental soundscape with narratives spanning religious texts and Scandinavian folklore.
“It gives a varied anthology of instrumental works of mine, brought together in an attractive professional framework: something like a jewel in a crown.”
Having original music published across five different albums in the span of three years, Greve is a prime example that it’s never too late to make your dreams a reality. From his young days as an investigator, consultant, and decorated scientist, to his final chapters devoted solely to music, Greve leaves with us a legacy to cherish, and a reminder that there is always time to pursue what you love.
OERBOS & OTHER WORKS VOL. III
Greve’s posthumous album OERBOS will release in 2022 on Navona Records.
For more on Greve and his compositions, including interviews about his influences and work, visit his artist page on Navona Records.
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