Soloist retires ‘exhausted’ at 40

Soloist retires ‘exhausted’ at 40


norman lebrecht

January 16, 2022

The Austrian Martin Grubinger will give his last bang next year.

He has been hitting things for 25 years and thinks he has done enough. ‘I’ve exhausted my talent,’ he says.

Grubinger’s proudest moment was coming on as the interval act in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Interview here.




  • Couperin says:

    Oh good. Guy was annoying.

  • Berndt says:

    Can’t read that article because payment system. But what a loss – so sad! It’s always glad to see solo percussion playing besides of orchestral percussion playing. But if there’s no passion and interest – the most important ingredients of making music – what I can do! I think he know what he’s doing. But what he’s going to do know? Teaching? Composing?

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    If that pic is a recent one then he is a very young looking 40 year old. Can appearing during the interval of the Eurovision Song Mayhem Contest really be a highlight of someone’s career?

  • MacroV says:

    He’s extraordinary. I so fondly remember him playing Peter Eotvos’s “Talking Drums” with the Czech Philharmonic about five years ago. While their home repertoire is actually far more adventurous than what you’d expect from their touring, this was still a bit of a novelty to the Prague crowd. But the ovation that built over about five curtain calls was something I’d never witnessed before.

    I get the exhaustion; traveling with all that equipment (or even with a technical rider and dealing with the setup at every venue) must be a bear. So what’s next? Teaching gig? Football commentary? Hedge fund manager?

  • Marc-Antoine Hamet says:

    Martin Grubinger and Yuja Wang were very impressive too!
    Carnegie Hall video:

  • RW2013 says:

    not with a bang but a whimper

  • Una says:

    Not a surprise. The profession I joined in 1978 as a singer with plenty of well paid work around in England and Scotland – yet not a star – doesn’t exist anymore!

  • Andreas B. says:

    he’ll still be teaching I guess

  • Gustavo says:

    Classic mid-life crisis.

    He’ll get over it and reappear as film-music conductor or member of the Berlin or Vienna Philharmonic percussion section (e.g. for Bruckner 7).

  • leo grinhauz says:

    perfect. Let’s celebrate his experience by tying him up in a small apartment and surrounding him with percussionists practicing 25/8 in neighboring apartments.

  • Gustavo says:

    It’s all due to the pandemic.

    There’s more money to be made in running a test centre or by selling nasal swabs and multi-coloured FFP2 masks.