Composer and Conductor
Born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Gast Waltzing’s defining passion has always been music. At the age of 7 he began his studies at the Conservatoire de Luxembourg, continued his classical training at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles and completed his studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris. “I am always a musician” he states, “it’s not like I wake up and decide where to schedule music in. It is always present.”
He was named Professor of Trumpet at the Conservatoire de Luxembourg in 1982, and in 1986 founded the Jazz Department, which he has grown into a full university bachelor degree course with a wing for themselves and a teaching staff of 8.
He began composing at 15, with his first group, The Luxembourg Jazz Five, and has always composed original music for his many musical formations, expanding into the composition and production of music for Film and Television beginning in 1989, with the original score for “A WOP BOP A LOP BOP” for which he was nominated for Best European Film Composer. Since that time he has composed and produced over 200 original scores for Film and TV. Many of his Film music scores he wrote for Symphony Orchestra and he has conducted and recorded with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
He has arranged Symphonically for a number of artists and conducted the resulting concerts. This includes artists such as Angelique Kidjo (her "Sings" album), The Scorpions, and Amy McDonald (A live CD of this event has been released on Melodramatic Records titled “A Curious Thing-Special Orchestral Edition, with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie), and most recently for Gregory Porter, songs from his Grammy winning "Liquid Spirit” album).
He has also conducted several very special public productions with Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, such as a coronation celebration concert for Luxembourg’s Grand Duke in 2000 with Patricia Kaas, and the opening of the Tour de France in 2002 with the Scorpions. And he has composed works for many special events such as the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games of the Small States of Europe,
the first concert of his newly founded “Orchestre National de Jazz, Luxembourg” (ONJL for short) with guest star George Duke, for the opening of the newly built Salle Grand Duchesse Charlotte (also known and the Philharmonie). He also composed, conducted and produced the fireworks music for Luxembourg’s National Day celebration
It was quite natural for the Salle Grand Duchesse Charlotte to choose Waltzing to program and conduct the first “Pops At The Phil” in May 2006, a then newly founded series at the Philharmonie in which the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg performs a more popular program with popular soloists. This first concert was more than sold out and enjoyed a huge success with local soloists and the famous Belgian jazz singer Maurane. He is now head POP’s conductor for the Salle Grand Duchesse Charlotte, in Luxembourg and each year organizes a concept program for the POPs concert with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, and such artists as the New York Voices, James Morrison, Patti Austin, Kurt Elling, Dionne Warwick and Angelique Kidjo, and Gregory Porter. Waltzing also conducted the Deutsche Radio Orchester, both in Saarbrucken and at the Salle Grand Duchesse Charlotte in Luxembourg for this POP’s concert event with the award winning Contra-tenor Adreas Scholl and Orlando.
In addition Waltzing conducts the concert with the Orchestra Philharmonic of Luxembourg each year, for the National Day, produced by the Luxembourg Tourist Office, and held in the huge outdoor venue of the Place Guillaume in the city center. It is a concert offered by the City of Luxembourg to it’s people with big screens and huge stage and sound amplification. There is always a standing room only crowd of 10,000 people (or more). In 2014 the program theme was “Magic” and included such wonderful symphonic works as Paul Ducas’s “The Sorcerers Apprentice”, Film Scores from “Harry Potter”, and songs of Queen. Other programs he has conducted for this event include French jazz Violinist Didier Lockwood, extensive film music programs, and The Queen Symphony.
Gast composed symphonic arrangements for a number of songs by the Great African Singer Angélique Kidjo. This was a challenging project blending traditional African music and melodies with symphony orchestra. But it turned out to be a musical marriage made in
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heaven. It was performed to a sold out hall at the Philharmonic in Luxembourg with the
OPL, Kidjo and her band with Waltzing conducting. This project has since been recorded and released on 429 Records. The album is titled Angelique Kidjo "Sings".
Gast Waltzing conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra of Qatar with Angélique Kidjo at the Wise Summit of Education, and the Bayone Symphonic Orchestra for her at the Black & Basque Festival.
In 2014 Gast conducted the POP’s concert for the Orchestra Philharmonic du Luxembourg with Ute Lemper as soloist in April at the wonderful Philharmonic Hall in Luxembourg City, and in June, for the Fete da la Musique, conducted the OPL at the large outdoor venue of the Place Guillame with a film music program based around the theme of “Magic!”
2015 started very well with Gast conducting the Scottish Royal National Orchestra at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, on the 17th of January with Angelique Kidjo performing her African Songs repertoire, from the "Sinhs" album project they had worked on together.
The 2015 POP’s concert with the OPL with Gregory Porter, and Gast had the pleasure to not only conduct this concert but to also arrange many of the pieces from his Porter’s Grammy winning album “Liquid Spirit”. This concert will took place on the 30th of April and was standing room only with numerous encores.
In July of 2015 Gast conducted for the the Orchestre Regional Bayonne in Beritz with the first half of the program including one of his original symphonic works and the second half with Angelique Kidjo's traditional African songs with Gast's symphonic orchestral arrangements.
After the summer the schedule continued with a concert at the new Philharmonie in Paris, on the 3rd October with Gast conducting the Orchestre Lamoureux and for the first time including his original work "Flowing River" and the works of Philipp Glass, The Hours and the Glass work written for Angelique Kidjo titled "Ifé, Three Yoruba Songs".
The fall season of 2015 will be dominated by concept concerts with Gast Waltzing
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conducting the WDR Orchestra and Tom Gaebel as soloist, performing a program of Frank Sinatra's most famous songs, with some of the orchestra arrangement also done by Gast. This program will be performed in Cologne, Iserlohn, Essesn and at the Festival International Echternach from 19 - 27 October.
Waltzing regularly performs with his jazz group Largo, in Europe, China and Japan.
Gast Waltzing is also the musical director of the Jazz Festival in Echternach, (which takes places every year end September / beginning October) he organized the program and invited guests such as Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Gregory Porter.