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Gundula Gruen

Violinist, singer, musical director and more...

'Gruen’s band swirl and flow fascinatingly around her, in obvious thrall to her fearless and commanding playing.' - Froots

Gundula is a classically trained violinist whose study and passion encompass Gypsy, folk and klezmer music from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. She is a performer of note, as well as a teacher and musical director. Her performances include heartfelt vocals in the native languages of the pieces such as Romany, Yugoslavian and Russian.

In the last 20 years she has performed as well as conducted workshops and other projects to great acclaim. Her live work has taken her throughout the UK and Europe to festivals, cultural centres and theatres. TV productions include the documentary How Music Works on UK TV’s Channel 4 and a music documentary for TRT (Turkish state television). She has also been a guest and performer on Radio programs for BBC, Resonance FM and others.

The last 8 years, Gundula has spent creating, producing and performing music projects which merge the power of old traditions with innovative ideas. Her work includes the 'Gypsy Extravaganza', 'Balkan Organ Carnival', the 'Wedding of the Sousaphone' and the Russian Gypsy Soul. She also produced the album ‘The Devil’s Lentil Soup’ with her group Tatcho Drom, featuring her arrangements and composition inspired by Eastern European and Balkan Gypsy Music.

in 2009, she formed the 5-piece group Tatcho Drom, performing her latest arrangements and compositions www.tatchodrom.com. Until July 2014, she has been the director, principal violinist and singer of the London Gypsy Orchestra, a 45-strong community group that she created in early 2005 www.londongypsyorchestra.co.uk. With the orchestra, she produced the album Ajde Gadje.

Her book Gypsy Music Collection, 63 tunes from Eastern Europe and the Balkans + audio CD, was published 2008 by Spartan Press in different version for various instruments. The book is still abestseller.

For 2 years, Gundula lived in Turkey, where she Balkan Music with her group Balkan International, and a mixture of Balkan and Turkish music with the Akdeniz Orchestrasi.

Other important groups Gundula formed and led throughout the years are ZiG, with the virtuosic Serbian accordionist Zivorad Nikolic and La Strada, a world music trio, with whom she recorded the Album Lucky Days.

One more important aspect of her work is teaching. She leads workshops for Gypsy, Balkan music in all its unique aspects. Gundula also wrote a tutorial book Violin Tuition with Fun and Feeling. It reflects her approach to teaching involving Alexander Technique and other holistic methods.

Originally from Bavaria, Gundula studied for 4 years at the Leopold Mozart Konservatorium where she graduated as a classical violinist; she also had voice training and studied conducting, composition and piano. She later obtained a postgraduate degree in jazz at the Richard Strauss Konservatorium. She worked with such teachers as Bernhard Tluck and Jörg Widmoser and undertook masterclasses with Isabella Petrosjan amongst others.

Throughout this time Gundula discovered her love for Gypsy and Eastern European music. She has spent the last decade exploring and researching the many and varied fiddle styles of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, working with various Gypsy violin virtuosos such as Angel Gheorghe ‘Caliu’ (Taraf De Haidouks, Romania), Tcha Limberger (Hungary), Winny Mathias (Germany) and other renowned Balkan musicians.

" … most of all I loved her playing and singing: unaffected and full of life… with her musicality and lifelines she is giving out something so precious and important in this muddled world!"

“Bavarian-born violinist Gundula could well have been raised in the Balkans, for her playing imparts the true soul of Gypsy music, full of colour and passion, an explosion of energy…”

“Her energy is contagious and that carried across the audience tonight"