Uwe Gronostay


Born: 1939
While his name may be unfamiliar to many listeners, choral conductor Uwe Gronostay has appeared on many recordings, often on obscure labels, and has led major ensembles throughout Europe. He has worked with numerous podium icons, including Karajan, Ozawa, Mehta, Abbado, Chailly, Nagano, and Boulez, and has collaborated with well-known singers, among them Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Gronostay's choice of repertory in both choral and vocal music is broad, taking in sacred works by Kodaly and Bruckner, lieder by Schumann and Liszt, choruses by Wolf and Hindemith, and various other works by such disparate composers as Mozart, Krenek, Richard Strauss, and Julius Röntgen. Gronostay has led many choral groups over the years, but is probably most closely identified with the Netherlands Chamber Choir. He has made more than 50 recordings on various labels, including Globe, Chandos, Kontrapunkt, and Delta.

Uwe Gronostay was born in Hildesheim, Germany, but his family relocated to Braunschweig in his early childhood. He became interested in keyboard music early on and by age 15 served as organist at St. Jakobi Church in Braunschweig. Under his direction a skilled choir was formed two years later at the church.

After music studies at the Musikschule Bremen, Gronostay worked for a time at Radio Bremen and freelanced as a conductor. From 1972 to 1986 he served as principal conductor of the RIAS Chamber Choir, which he led in performances of both early music (typically following historic performance practices) and modern works. He led the Philharmonic Choir Berlin for 20 years (1982-2002), but, arguably, his most important post was as principal conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir. He led the Amsterdam-based group for 10 years (1987-1997) and made his most acclaimed recordings there, many of them coming in the years after his departure.

While Gronostay has been busy as a conductor he has also managed a second career as a teacher, holding several posts, the longest at Berlin's University of the Arts, where he served from 1989 to 2003. In recent years Gronostay has remained active as a conductor, most conspicuously with the Netherlands Chamber Choir. Among his more recent recordings are a pair of Globe CDs issued in 2006: both feature the Netherlands Chamber Choir, with the first containing seven motets and other works by Bruckner and the latter offering songs and choruses by Liszt and the Mass in E flat by Rheinberger.