GVSU violin professor nominated for Grammis Award

GVL / Courtesy - Sven Jachens  
Gregory Maytan

GVL / Courtesy – Sven Jachens Gregory Maytan

Kate Branum

The music department at Grand Valley State University is home to many influential and talented faculty members who have gained recognition in their areas of expertise, including Sweden-born associate professor of violin, Gregory Maytan.

Recently, Maytan has received a nomination for a Grammis Award in the “Classical CD of the Year” category for his CD “Amanda Maier Volume 1.”

In Sweden, the Grammis Awards are considered to be the equivalent of the annual United States Grammy Awards. Each February, the Grammis Awards facilitate a gala-style ceremony in Stockholm. Awards are presented to one of five records nominated for each genre of music, including classical, folk, hard rock, hip-hop, jazz and pop.

Maytan’s interest in violin began during his early childhood.

“I grew up in northern Sweden and my parents are both musicians,” Maytan said. “They wanted me to start an instrument early, so I started (violin) when I was four and then become serious when I was 10 or 11.”

Maytan began working on his CD during the fall of 2015 when he went on his sabbatical and released it in October 2016.

He drew inspiration from Amanda Maier, a Swedish female romantic-style composer in the 19th century who is well-known for becoming the first women to graduate with a degree in violin.

Maytan first learned about Maier at the age of 14 after one of his music teachers introduced him to one of Maier’s pieces. Maier’s music reflected pieces created by famous composers including Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Brahms–all composers that Maytan was also heavily interested in.

“She was really quite a remarkable talent, and she wrote some wonderful music that was forgotten for a long time,” Maytan said. “The CD producer and myself found a few works by her that had never been recorded before, including a violin concerto and several chamber music pieces.”

The music featured on Maytan’s CD echoes the style of classical composers like Schumann, Mendelssohn and Beethoven, which expresses his enjoyment of complex and emotional pieces. Maytan describes the musical form on his CD as clear and traditional, providing listeners with a genuine 19th-century-style experience.

The CD features three pieces of music including one of Maier’s violin concertos, produced in collaboration with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, a piano quartet and a set of chamber pieces created with the help of award-winning pianist Ann-Sofi Klingberg.

“I love playing (Amanda Maier’s) music; it’s very passionate and energetic and very expressive music–it’s very emotional and very from the heart,” Maytan said.

Prior to the Grammis Awards, Maytan’s CD had gained quite a bit of attention. Before his nomination, “Amanda Maier Volume 1” was named “Classical CD of the Year” by another major publication in Sweden.

Maytan is excited to travel back to Sweden to attend the Grammis Award gala on Tuesday, Feb 28 in the Stockholm Concert Hall.

In addition to the Grammis Awards, Maytan has been invited back to Sweden to play a solo piece in a concerto with the Amanda Maier Violin Orchestra in April and will play alongside the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra in Grand Rapids Tuesday, Feb. 28.