Michel Runtz, French-Swiss pianist and composer born in Paris, lives and works in Fribourg (Switzerland).
Michel Runtz studied classical piano at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. He soon showed a lively interest for musical composition by setting poems to music. Between 1976 and 1980 along with composing songs, Runtz had already begun teaching and recording his first instrumental scores. The fruit of an early meeting with Pierre Gabaye, Grand Prix de Rome, was a hearty encouragement to pursue his own style.
In 1982 Runtz settled in Fribourg, Switzerland, where he was to meet the composer and choir director Pierre Kaelin, who provided him with extensive possibilities to work with a variety of vocal groups and even to record his composition for choir and piano, Le bel âge.
Between 1984 and 1992 Michel Runtz received commissions to compose incidental music and sound tracks for clips, videos and television documentaries while all the time furthering his career as piano recitalist. Working with Claude Helffer and Pierre-Laurent Aimard put him in contact with such musical personalities as Xenakis, Takemitsu, Murail and Arphegis.
Influenced by the pictorial work of Paul Delvaux, Runtz titled a score after this artist, Paul Delvaux.
From 1992 onwards, Runtz gradually took to performing programs made up almost exclusively of his own compositions. The successful reception of his work brought him commissions for composing for brass band, clarinet quartet, cello and four-hand piano as well as other instrumental and vocal scores.
In 2001, he founded the Association "Jeune Musique" which organizes every two years the International Piano Competition of Fribourg. This competition proposes a program exclusively dedicated to the 20th and 21th century´s music and is open to young pianist up to the age of 18.
In 2006 Runtz creates Notes and Light, a musical concept which proposes a new type of concert, transforming the traditional piano recital (with conventional and static lighting) into a new visual concert, an exciting and unexpected dialogue between the musical sounds and their transposition into light. This spectacle was performed in Switzerland and China.
Runtz’s eclectic talents have allowed him to compose suitably for events ranging from fashion shows to musical theater with a humoristic score for four-hand piano.
His music now figures on programs for international competitions and has been interpreted by artists like Jay Gottlieb.