CD: EXTREME VIOLA
Music of Hindemith, Powning, Munro & Groh
Paul Groh, Viola
Paul Hindemith - Sonata for Solo Viola, op. 25 no. 1 (1922)
Listen to audio extracts of Three Arachnids from Extreme Viola
Paul Groh, viola
Paul Groh has had a diverse career as a musician in both the USA and Australia. Born in Mount Clemens, Michigan, near Detroit, he took up the viola at the age of nine, and by his teens he had become an active freelance musician in both classical and country music circles. He founded an award-winning folk band while still in high school and was Michigan’s old time country fiddle champion at age nineteen. He attended Boston University and Wayne State University, and received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After graduate study in composition at Indiana University he worked as an orchestrator for Boles Music Publishing, and later spent several years playing bass guitar in rock and roll bands.
In 1992 Paul Groh joined the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra as a violist, later serving as the orchestra’s librarian and personnel manager. He was also the orchestra’s utility string player, performing the banjo solo in Porgy and Bess, the mandolin solo in Feste Romane, and bass guitar on many occasions. He was the banjo player in the KSO’s subsidiary ensemble, the Newport Ragtime Band, and was active in the orchestra’s Education Outreach program, in which he visited local schools as a guest speaker and performer.
Since migrating to Australia in 2000 Paul Groh has been principal viola in the Central Coast Symphony Orchestra and the Christ Church Camerata in Newcastle. In 2004 and 2005 he organised the first concerts of music by local composers at the Central Coast Conservatorium, and in 2008 he helped establish the Crossroads Festival, the Central Coast’s annual festival of chamber music. He is a frequent guest on the ABC radio show “Smart Arts”, and in June 2010 he was a featured guest artist at the International Viola Congress in Cincinnati USA. He is also a regular contributor to the Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Viola Society.
In 2006 Paul Groh released his solo CD Extreme Viola, including four of his own works as well as music by Paul Hindemith, Graham Powning and Gordon Monro. He composes music exclusively for the viola as a self-sufficient solo instrument. His viola works deal with such diverse subjects as animals (Three Arachnids, Penguins), children’s stories (Curiosity and the Giant Mushrooms), animated cartoons (Jack Rabbit), mental illness and substance abuse (Monster of Attraction), and even serial murder (Kemper Variations).