After the release of his debut album, “Reflections on Debussy” in 2012, Laurens Patzlaff was dubbed “Master of the art of improvisation” by the Deutschlandfunk. His second solo album, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, was featured in Piano News 2015, describing: “Patzlaff renders himself a ‘magician’ and ‘master’, which, unlike an ‘apprentice,’ has mastered all tricks and knacks.”
From a young age, piano improvisation already began shaping the artistic creations of the pianist, who was born near Stuttgart/Germany in 1981. Alongside the classical piano repertoire, he still practised the almost forgotten art of stylistically bound improvisation as well as free, experimental improvisation and jazz. The piano – as an interdisciplinary instrument – is just as important to him as a broad, holistic view of music. Therefore, next to the educational musician, Robert Schumann, and the jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, his role model has always been Leonard Bernstein, who rejected a distinction between serious and light music, pointing out that only the quality of the music was what mattered.
The musical versatility which really makes Laurens Patzlaff stand out was reflected in the various courses he studied at music universities of Stuttgart and Madrid, which he passed with distinction. Even as a teenager, Laurens Patzlaff was active as a chamber musician, forming his own piano trio and playing piano, keyboard and the drums in several bands. Today, the multi-award winning pianist is a regular guest at international music festivals in the USA, China, Australia and South Africa.
He has performed as a soloist in the Wiener Musikverein (Viennese Music Association) and in the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He also regularly plays solo improvised piano recitals in many countries across Europe, Asia, and North & South America. He has worked with the South-west German Chamber Orchestra, the Stuttgart State Orchestra and the Neubrandenburg Philharmonic, to name just a few. This is topped off by masterclasses at over 30 music academies and universities worldwide. His speciality is piano improvisation. This has been the artistic and pedagogical focus of his work since 2008. He regularly taught this subject at the music universities of Stuttgart, Trossingen, Freiburg im Breisgau and Frankfurt/Main.
In 2013, he was appointed as Germany’s first professor for piano and improvisation playing at the Lübeck University of Music. The subject, ‘Piano and Improvisation’ attempts to revive the ideal of the universal pianist – which was still popular in the 19th century – by combining improvisation, playing compositions, as well as score-playing and accompaniment in one lesson.