BIOGRAPHY/PRESS

Biography

Michael Borek was born 1963 in Lyon and grew up in France and Austria. He took his first piano lessons at the age of 6 and studied during his highschool years with a professor at the Conservatoire of Lyon. At the age of 12 he discovered the music of Keith Jarrett, and this encounter motivated him to compose and improvise himself on the piano. After a following period of particular interest in contemporary music (especially the piano works of Olivier Messiaen), he eventually returned more and more exclusively to jazz. There he could develop his own musical language, combining the sensibility and expressiveness of classical music with the possibilities of jazz harmonies. Michael Borek studied medicine in France, and after his graduation as MD in 1991 he began to work as a physician in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1994 he moved to Austria, where he lives since then with his wife and their 2 children.
Since his first concert in 1999 he had regular solo performances, including at the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF in 2003 (this concert was broadcasted on ORF Radio Tirol in February 2003), at the jazz festival „Swingin‘ Kitzbühel“ (2006) and at the jazz clubs Treibhaus Innsbruck (2013 and 2014), Sunside Paris (2014) and Eremitage Schwaz (2014, 2015 and 2022).
His CD „Live At Treibhaus“ published in 2013 and his recently released album „It Happened In June“ were broadcasted on the national ORF Radio Ö1 (Jazz Night, respectively May 2013 and September 2022).
The CD „It Happened In June“ was also presented in a specially dedicated broadcast in Radio Ö1 Spielräume (19 October 2022).
In June 2006, he was portrayed on the local television Tirol TV in the series „Exceptional Tyrolians“.
In April 2004 his contemporary compositions „images de l’aube“ (1993) for solo clarinet and „sonate pour violoncelle“ (1997) for solo cello were created at the ORF Landesstudio Tirol and broadcasted on ORF Radio Tirol (Ton für Ton, April 2004) and ORF Radio Ö1 (Lange Nacht der Neuen Musik, May 2004).
Michael Borek is also member of the Austrian Composers‘ Society.

Biography

Michael Borek was born 1963 in Lyon and grew up in France and Austria. He took his first piano lessons at the age of 6 and studied during his highschool years with a professor at the Conservatoire of Lyon. At the age of 12 he discovered the music of Keith Jarrett, and this encounter motivated him to compose and improvise himself on the piano. After a following period of particular interest in contemporary music (especially the piano works of Olivier Messiaen), he eventually returned more and more exclusively to jazz. There he could develop his own musical language, combining the sensibility and expressiveness of classical music with the possibilities of jazz harmonies. Michael Borek studied medicine in France, and after his graduation as MD in 1991 he began to work as a physician in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1994 he moved to Austria, where he lives since then with his wife and their 2 children.
Since his first concert in 1999 he had regular solo performances, including at the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF in 2003 (this concert was broadcasted on ORF Radio Tirol in February 2003), at the jazz festival „Swingin‘ Kitzbühel“ (2006) and at the jazz clubs Treibhaus Innsbruck (2013 and 2014), Sunside Paris (2014) and Eremitage Schwaz (2014, 2015 and 2022).
His CD „Live At Treibhaus“ published in 2013 and his recently released album „It Happened In June“ were broadcasted on the national ORF Radio Ö1 (Jazz Night, respectively May 2013 and September 2022).
The CD „It Happened In June“ was also presented in a specially dedicated broadcast in Radio Ö1 Spielräume (19 October 2022).
In June 2006, he was portrayed on the local television Tirol TV in the series „Exceptional Tyrolians“.
In April 2004 his contemporary compositions „images de l’aube“ (1993) for solo clarinet and „sonate pour violoncelle“ (1997) for solo cello were created at the ORF Landesstudio Tirol and broadcasted on ORF Radio Tirol (Ton für Ton, April 2004) and ORF Radio Ö1 (Lange Nacht der Neuen Musik, May 2004).
Michael Borek is also member of the Austrian Composers‘ Society.

PRESS
CD "IT HAPPENED IN JUNE"

It Happened In June is a 17-track album of solo piano by the French and Austrian pianist Michael Borek. What characterises the album is the subtle blend of classical style and jazz harmony: Borek makes the piano sing with expressive and emotional melodies, yet all in the context of a freer harmonic language than one might expect. 
Borek’s stylistic blend perhaps comes from the wide variety of musical influences he had growing up: the classical masters such as Bartok, Satie and Chopin, as well as the jazz players Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck. Pianist Keith Jarrett also deserves a mention; his mixture of classical sensibility and harmonic freedom are integral to Borek’s musical personality. 
Reading the composition notes whilst listening adds to the experience. We come to understand the meanings behind each piece and improvisation, and instead of just hearing a skilled pianist, we hear a pianist trying to communicate something; whether that be a story, a person or a style, Borek communicates emotion, and delicately so. 
The album features improvisations on past compositions, such as The Seashore and Valley Of Silence, as well as new ones in improvisations in E, G, F# and C. We also have tributes in style to masters such as Bill Evans with My Story, as well as to Olivier Messiaen: Cloches Sur Le Lac, La Vallée Des Torrents and La Grotte De Cristal exclusively use Messiaen’s mode two [or, to seasoned jazz improvisers, the plain ol’ diminished scale – Ed].
Once Upon A Summertime-Whispering Your Name and Hatikva-Theme From Schindler’s List are more personal tracks, the latter being a dedication to his grandfather Lajzer Borek, who died in Sobibor extermination camp during Shoah. There are also arrangements of songs: Septembre (Quel Joli Temps) is the pianist’s first attempt to arrange a song from French chanson and he captures the waltz feel as well as the memorable main melody. 
It Happened in June is a diverse album full of rich melodies and rich harmony, and an example of a pianist using his instrument as an emotional outlet and a way to stylistic creativity. Jazz Journal (UK)

Ö1 Spielräume –  broadcasted on 19 October 2022  Michael Borek: It happened in June | MI | 19 10 2022 | 17:30 – oe1.ORF.at
Comprising a mix of compositions, a few arrangements, many improvisations… and yet the album „It Happened in June“ flows like an epic novel with various chapters. It’s no secret that jazz pianist Keith Jarrett played a crucial role for him. Borek discovered Jarrett at the age of twelve, when he had already had six years of piano lessons at the Lyon Conservatory. 
The symbiosis of classical elements and jazz; the improvisational approach to composing and interpreting; Borek’s attitude of exploring and investigating, his nuanced touch, the solid substance of his music despite its ephemerality – all of this is amazing for someone who made a late decision to appear in public as a musician. 
Michael Borek is actually a doctor and as such has been working successfully for the pharmaceutical industry for a long time. His successful album does not require a prescription. I would, however, have no hesitation in prescribing it immediately. Music – we know – can comfort and encourage, and in that regard „It happened in June“ has proven to be effective. Mirjam Jessa, Ö1 Radio (A)

(…) After “Beyond The Ocean” and “Meditations”, “It Happened In June” is Borek’s latest solo album. One can well recognize there that as a pianist he is mainly influenced by classical composers like Satie, Chopin and Bartók. Borek is a romantic through and through; besides elegiac personal compositions he also has in his repertoire Mercer’s „Once Upon A Summertime“, John Williams’ „Hatikva-Theme From Schindler’s List“ and Bill Evans’ „Peace Piece“, which are indeed a little closer to jazz, but without truly living the latter. In comparison: Keith Jarrett in his improvisations (with a few exceptions) challenges his listeners, but he also repeatedly creates in the great sea of free jazz short islands of well-being, to set out after that again in rougher seas. Borek’s music is an island, and as beautiful as it is, one would also wish excursions to this open sea of jazz. Concerto (A)

CD "Live At Treibhaus" (2013)

“The pianist Michael Borek has been fascinated by Keith Jarrett since the age of 12. Jarrett has also remained his great example up to now, as can obviously be heard from the touch of every single note (…)
Borek plays seven own compositions, in which he proves to be an accomplished pianist, who abandons himself completely to the spirit of beautiful music (…)
Harmony and melodiousness from the first to the last note.“ Concerto (A)

„Physician by education, [Michael Borek] has also a musical streak. The influence of Jarrett & Co is unmistakable: a reference that sometimes gives wings to these tastefully interpreted solo jewels.“ Tonart (D)

„A discovery! The piano solo album [of Michael Borek] transports us into a world of romantic melodiousness. [He] can be considered without limitation as a master of the solo piano. His play is influenced by Debussy, Ravel, Bartók and Chopin, and of course reminds of the great Keith Jarrett. With his clear and warm touch, Borek makes the piano sing and reaches the auditor with his emotionality. And so he celebrates the calmness in “Remembrance”, whereas “Homelands” bases on a grooving rhythm. The two standards “Summertime” and “Over The Rainbow” are sophistically arranged, and integrate perfectly in the overall concept. Borek plays his flowing sections in such a clean and impeccable manner, as if there wouldn’t be anything more natural. The songs are clearly structured and do not lose themselves in endless and erratic ostinatos, but are nourished by Borek’s fresh ideas and his discrete virtuosity. Somewhere between jazz and classic, this pianist, unknown in our country, gives us great moments of musical beauty and harmony. To listen to unconditionally!“ Jazz’N’More (CH)

CD "Meditations" (2009)

„In this new piano solo of Michael Borek one finds again the same qualities as in „Beyond The Ocean“, the touch of a romantic pianist, clear and soft accents, a phrasing that flows like a pure source, lyricism, reserve, everything one needs to let these “Meditations” reach the heart… Is it jazz? Why not? We are between Chopin and Keith Jarrett, and it is anyway great piano and beautiful music. A moment of beauty and serenity.“ Serge Baudot, Jazz Hot (F)

CD "Beyond The Ocean" (2000)

„In ten partly improvised pieces and three standards Borek lets revive the blessed time of the “Köln Concert“…“Concerto (A)

„A piano solo record that can be indeed recommended to every music lover who likes this genre… Own compositions that do not lose themselves in an improvisatory Nirvana, but which reach in their construction and development, as well as melodic richness, a remarkable level.“ Jazz Zeit (A)

„The compositions and improvisations of Michael Borek … put on jazz harmonies, an expressiveness and a lyrical elegance that could not be more classical. In other words the present CD gives us to listen to a pianist who has a splendid, precise and limpid touch, and a virtuosity that knows how to stay discrete and put itself fully to the service of his interpretations.“ Jazz Hot (F)