Exiting News

My feature length music documentary GRIOT is now available online.


Volker Goetze is an award-winning composer, filmmaker and musician. His time in West Africa inspired him to direct a feature-documentary about the oral history of West Africa, extending the work into a live-performance-documentary recounting the creation of the African harp. His trumpet-kora duo transcends both geographic and musical boundaries resulting in a unique musical synthesis that fused the timeless tradition of the storyteller/griot with a modern perspective, set out on an spiritual sonic journey, one that ranges from the desert and coast of West Africa to the urban landscapes of New York, which addresses themes of our ancient spiritual roots, and our hurried, dehumanized modern strife. The recordings received highest honors as best World Music Release by Public Radio International and reached #1 on iTunes (World Music Album). This making him a specialist in working and supporting oral cultures creating new narratives transmitting the culture into the 21st century. Past performances include the Jazz Gallery New York, LA Festival of Sacred Music, Paris Jazz Festival, Jazz A Vienne, New Philharmonie Paris, Munich Opera Festival, and Panama World Music Festival. In 2017 Volker Goetze composed a VR work about New York City's mass grave on Hart Island titled 'Unique Places of Death NYC.’ In 2018 he implemented his vision of NYC's first sound sculpture walk called "Sonic Gates", uplifting local communities from sculptors, students, immigrants and residents, bringing new customers and tourists into the Bay Street Corridor driving small business and convincing the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs to double their funding for local artist on Staten Island. Currently he is working on a Community VR Dance, Poetry and Music Performance about indigenous homelessness and genocide celebrating culture overcoming historic trauma.

Grants and Awards

2018    “Wall Of Forgotten Natives” - McKnight Visiting Composer with the American Composers Forum 

VR-Dance Performance Composition about Indigenous Homelessness and Historic Trauma in Minneapolis

2017    “Sonic Gates” - A musical gateway of interactive sound sculptures 

Pilot project of Future Culture, a partnership between Staten Island Arts and the Design Trust for Public Space. Neighborhood 360 initiative of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, Empire Outlets, BFC Partners, URBY, NY Wheel, Lighthouse Point, Triangle Equities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

            EtM Con Edison Composers’ Residency, New York, Unique Places of Death NYC

            CMA Showcase with Trumpet-Kora duo, Chamber Music America

            NYSCA Individual artist commissioning grant Unique Places of Death NYC

NYSCA Community Art Partner Grant Displaced! An audiovisual installation giving the homeless of Staten Island a voice

Staten Island Arts Secret Island - An audiovisual release concert in collaboration with the Alice Austen House

2016    BANFF Center for Arts and Creativity, International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, TD 

Bank Fellow, Canada

2015    Classical:NEXT – Video showcase Presentation, Rotterdam

2013    Best World Music Release 2012 voted by Public Radio International

            #1 iTunes France

            #2 European World Music Charts

            #5 release of 2012 ECHOES program hosted by John Diliberto

2012    BNP Parisbas Foundation support for album release Amanké Dionti

            GRIOT feature documentary nominated for “History in Time” – prize

2011    free109point3 Transmission Art, Distribution Grant

2010    NYSCA post-production grant for feature documentary GRIOT

            NYSCA Individual Artist commissioning grant for Mandé Symphony

            NYFA Opportunity Grant / NYFA Immigrant Artist Fellow

2009    International Franz Josef Reinl Composition Prize, Munich

            9th Independent Music Awards Nomination for best traditional world music

2005    BMI Composition Competition, 2nd place at Charlie Parker/Many Alban, New York

2004    BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Fellowship (Broadcast Music Inc.), New York

2002    DAAD (German Academic Exchange Program) Full-scholarship to study at the Aaron Copland School of Music, New York

1999    Dr. Konrad Kraemer Cultural Prize, Bergisch-Gladbach


2003    Master of Arts (Jazz Performance), Aaron Copland School Of Music Queens College, trumpet with Prof. Michael Mossman

2001    Artist Diploma, Hochschule für Musik Köln

            Cologne, trumpet with Markus Stockhausen

Selected Advanced Study

2010    Composers Orchestra Institute at the Center for Jazz Studies at      Columbia University

2006    MAX/MSP with Zachary Seldess, Harvestworks, New York

2005    BMI Jazz Composers Workshop with Jim Mc Neely, Michael Abene and Mike Holober, New York 

List of Works (selected)

Wall of Forgotten Natives (In Development and Production – Fall 2020)

A feature-length documentary, an immersive online 360 video and a community VR Dance, Poetry and Music Performance

Composer, Filmmaker, Producer, Editor (Volker Goetze)

Supported by the American Composers Forum through the 2018 McKnight Visiting Composer Program


Displaced (In Production - Spring 2020)


A 3D audio and 360 visual installation giving the homeless of Staten Island a voice

Filmmaker, Producer, Editor (Volker Goetze)

Funded by 2017 NYSCA Community Art Partner Grant


Sonic Gates (Summer 2018 – Summer 2019)


New York City’s first Sound Sculpture Walk

Series of Sound Sculptures creating a musical pathway, Community Art Project

Initiator, Artistic Director, Producer (Volker Goetze)

Pilot project of “Future Culture” (Design Trust & Staten Island Arts)

Funded by 360° Neighborhood Project of Small Business Bureau of New York City

Featured Sculptors: 

Arthur Simms, DB Lampman, Scott Van Campen, Jeremy Munson, Lina Montoya, Alassane Drabo

Inaugural performances at sculptures for dancers, performers & musicians (July 2018)


Unique Places of Death NYC (2018)


An ambisonic 3D sound virtual reality improvisation

Composer, Producer, Filmmaker, Soloist (Volker Goetze)

Métisse Music (Publisher)

Commissioned by the New York State Council on the Arts

Fiscally sponsored by The Hart Island Project

EtM Con Edison Composers’ Residency, administered by Exploring the Metropolis



  • Excerpt Pre-Performance, May 23rd 2017, Turtle Bay Music School, New York, USA

Volker Goetze (Trumpets)

Oran Etkin (Clarinets)

Max ZT (Dulcimer)

Yacouba Cissoko (Kora)

Mario Layne Fabrizio (Drums)

  • Workshop Performance October 19, 2018, Jazz & the City Salzburg, Austria

Volker Goetze (Trumpets)

Almut Kühne (Vocals, Narration)

Pascal Schumacher (Vibraphone)

Lasse Grunewald (Tenor Saxophone)

  • Performance October 18, 2019, Jazz & the City Salzburg, Austria

Volker Goetze (Trumpets)

Almut Kühne (Vocals, Narration)

Jacquline Ultan (Cello)


Secret Island (2017)


Audiovisual Composition about secret stories of Staten Island – visual images by Sam Samore

Composer, Producer, Soloist (Volker Goetze)

Métisse Music (Publisher)

Scheduled Release 2020

1 Mary And Alice Playing Tennis                                6:57     

2 Alone with Kate Walker on Robbins Reef               4:26     

3 Silenced Wings                                                         3:23     

4 Beach Bounce                                                          2:01     

5 Meditation on All Things That Can Go Bad             6:44     

6 Giants on Staten Island (Mastodon)                        7:04     

7 Tahkox Xalahputisikaon (Turtle Web)                     7:04     

8 A Contract Forced Upon                                          8:09


Volker Goetze (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)

Oran Etkin (Bass-Clarinet and B-Flat Clarinet)

Nick Dunston (Upright Bass)

Richie Barshay (Drums)



  • August 20th 2017 Alice Austen Museum, 360 video of complete performance, 2017 (World Premier)
  • Jazz & the City, Salzburg, Austria, October 2017


Bridges (2017)


Volker Goetze Quintet Album

Composer, Arranger, Soloist, Producer, Videos

Membran, The Orchard (Distributor)

Métisse Music (Publisher)


Volker Goetze (Trumpet & Flugelhorn)

Patrick Breiner (Tenor Saxophone)

Kristjan Randalu (Piano)

Josh Myers (Bass)

Richie Barshay (drums)


Guest soloist and guest musicians:

Ablaye Cissoko (Kora), Ousmane Ba (Fulani Flute), Oran Etkin (Bass Clarinet), Roger Rosenberg (Bassoon), Christian Torkewitz (Woodwinds, Piano), Bodek Janke (Percussion), Alan Ferber (Trombone), Aidan Carroll (Bass), Andreas Molino (Bata, Timbales, Conga), Aziz Diop (Baragabu), Abdou Khadre Diop (Sabar, Tama), Peter Ehwald (Soprano Saxophone), Joe Beaty (Trombone), Uri Gurvic (Soprano Saxophone), Seth Paris (Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet)


1 African Child             5:33     Composition, 2002, African European Jazz Orchestra, GRIOT Soundtrack,

Motéma Music Inc.     

                                                Music Video 2017, 360 Travel Video 2017, Live Performance 360 Video

2 Ding Ding Borlaba    4:12    Composition, 2001, African European Jazz Orchestra, Music Video 2017

                                                Lyrics added in 2008: Ablaye Cissoko

3 Mask                         1:52     Composition, 2014, Dance Performance, World Premiere at Face to Place,

New York Foundation for the Arts, Music Video, Borderless in Perspective, Lite-Hause, Berlin

4 Funky One                7:04     Composition, 1999

5 Snow Crystal            5:22     Composition, 2007

6 Fulani Dance            5:39     Composition, 2014

7 Bridges                     4:17     Composition, 2000

8 Devika                      4:23     Composition, 2013, Music Video 2014


Recorded at Center for Improvised Music (CIM), 2007, Brooklyn, USA

Field recordings in Dakar & Saint-Louis, Senegal, 2007, 2008

Additional recording at Harlem, New York, 2014

Mixed at Avatar Studios by Jim Anderson, 2014

Mastering by Alan Silverman, 2015



  • Festival du Jazz a Saint-Louis, Senegal, 2001 & 2002
  • New York City various venues, 2002 to 2019
  • Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., 2017
  • Sunside, Paris, 2017
  • Stadtgarten, Cologne, 2017
  • B-Flat, Berlin, 2017
  • Weberei, Gütersloh, 2017
    • Jazz & the City, Salzburg, Austria, 2017


Nte Dionola (2015)


World Music Single Release

Composer, Producer, Filmmaker (Volker Goetze)

Lyrics (Ablaye Cissoko)

Métisse Music (Publisher)

Independent Single Release February 3rd 2018

Length: 3:44    


Volker Goetze (Trumpets)

Ablaye Cissoko (Kora)

Richie Barshay (Drums)

Djibril Diabaté (Balafon)

Abdourakhame Fall (Bass)


Recorded in Zaragotha, (Spain), Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris (France) and Avatar Studios, New York (USA)

Music Video shot in the old town of Panama City (Panama)



  • Worldwide at Music Festivals and Art Venues since 2014


Djalia (2014)


World Music Album

Composer, Soloist (Volker Goetze)

Métisse Music (Publisher)

Ma-Case (Label)


Dance of the Chameleon        2:57     Composition 2014      

Gal Bi                                       4:14     Composition 2014      

Nte Dionola                             3:15     Composition 2014 (Lyrics: Ablaye Cissoko)


Volker Goetze (Trumpets)

Ablaye Cissoko (Kora)



  • Worldwide at Music Festivals and Art Venues since 2014
  • CMA Showcase with Trumpet-Kora duo, Chamber Music America, 2017


Mask (2014)


Video and Dance Performance

Composition, Volker Goetze, 2014

Choreography and Dance, Marita Arbil, 2014


World Premiere at Face to Place, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, 2014

Borderless in Perspective, Exhibition Video, Lite-Hause, Berlin, 2014

Staten Island Arts, Exhibition Video, 2017


Silent Thunder (2013)


Piano & Trumpet Duo Album

Composer, Producer, Soloist (Volker Goetze)

Official Release November 2019


Métisse Music (Publisher)


1 Silent Thunder                                  Composition, 2001

2 Attribute Of The Strong                   Composition, 2000

3 Funky One                                        Composition, 1999

4 Passing                                             Composition, 1999

5 Volk's Song                                       Composition, 1999

6 Wunderkind                                     Composition, 2001

7 The Other Side Of The Odds            Composition Duo, 2001

Big Band Version, 2003


Volker Goetze (Trumpets)

Christian Torkewitz (Piano)


Recorded at Avatar Studios, New York, 2013

Released scheduled for 2019



  • New York City Venues, since 2002
  • Cologne, 1999, 2002, 2006


GRIOT (2012)


Feature-length Music Documentary (82 Minutes)

Director, Producer, Field Recordings, Editor, Composer, Performer (Volker Goetze)


Screenings & Festivals:

  • Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada, September 2012
  • Warsaw Film Festival, Poland, October 2012Valladolid - Nominated for "History in Time", Spain, October 2012
  • International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam IDFA - Docs for Sale, Amsterdam, November 2012 
  • Edinburgh - University Screening at Africa in Motion, November 2012 
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, March 2013
  • “musicamorfosi”, Milano, 2013
  • Canadian Film and Concert Tour, October 2014
  • “Immagini & Suoni del Mondo”, Odeon Cinema, Florence, November 2014
  • “Brave” Festival, July 2015
  • Leopold Sedar Senghor French Institute, Dakar, Senegal 2017
  • Jazz & The City, Mozartkino, Austria 2018


Amanke Dionti (2012)


World Music Album

Composer, Arranger, Soloist, Producer, Filmmaker

Métisse Music (Publisher)

Motéma Music Inc., New York (Label)


Haïti                            7:01     Live at the Jazz Gallery New York, Music Videos, 2012

Miliamba                    4:59     Traditional, Arrangement, 2011


Volker Goetze (Trumpets)

Ablaye Cissoko (Kora)


Performances:            Worldwide at Music Festivals and Art Venues since 2014


  • Best world Music Release 2012 voted by Public Radio International’s The World
  • #1 iTunes France
  • #2 European World Music Charts
  • #5 release of 2012 ECHOES program hosted by John Diliberto
  • Partially funded with the support of the BNP Parisbas Foundation


NY 10027 (2011)


Volker Goetze Orchestra Album      

Composer, Arranger, Soloist, Producer

Métisse Music (Publisher)

Independent Release (2011)


Snow Crystal                           Composition, 2007

Solace                                     Composition, Featuring Lenny Pickett (E-Flat Clarinet), 2006

Inside the Outside World        Composition, Featuring Darius Jones &Joe Beaty, Incorporating Sounds of 

New York City, 2006   

Cissoko's Kora                         Composition, 2005

Tree                                         Composition, 2005

Wunderkind                            Composition, 2004

La Prier Du Soir A Saint-Louis Composition, 2001


Special Guests Soloists:          Lenny Picket, John Beaty, Ablaye Cissoko

Saxophones & Woodwinds:    Erica von Kleist, Chris Shade, Patrick Breiner, Peter Ehwald, Geoff Countryman, Nic Cowles

Trumpets & Flugelhorn:         Prof. Michael Mossman, Vitaly Golovnev, Sam Hoyt, Kenny Warren

Trombones:                             Alan Ferber, Joe Beaty, Johannes Lauer, Max Siegel

Rhythm Section:                     Sebastian Noelle, Aidan Carroll, Kristjan Randalu, Bodek Janke

Percussion:                              Andreas Molino, Rohin Khemani


Recorded at Clive Davis Studios by Michael McCoy   



  • Merkin Concert Hall, New York City, USA
  • Various Jazz Venues New York City, USA
  • Loft, Cologne, Germany
  • Bogen 2, Cologne, Germany


Songs of the Griot (2010)


Short Film

Producer, Filmmaker, Soloist, Composer, Editor (Volker Goetze)



  • DUMBO Arts Festival, 2010
  • NYFA IAP Exhibition, 2010
  • Seattle International Film Festival, 2010


Mandé Symphony (2010) 


Multimedia Performance Documentary

Composer, Filmmaker, Soloist, Producer

Métisse Music (Publisher)



  • Classical:NEXT (Video Presentation), Rotterdam, May 21 2015
  • Excerpt Video (Kimintan), DUMBO Arts Festival, NYFA IAP Exhibition, 2014
  • European Premier, West German Radio Station (WDR), Live Broadcast & Performance, Cologne, Germany, March 2012
  • Apollo Theatre, (Video Excerpt) Part of “Behind the Scenes: The Future of Music”, November 19 2012
  • Excerpt Performance (Kimintang), Jazzhouse Copenhagen, Denmark, Spring 2011
  • World Premier: CultureHub, New York, USA, Fall 2011


Faro (2009)


Short Film and Projection Video

Yosemite Film Festival - John Muir Gold Award, 2009


Sira (2008)


World Music Album

9th Independent Music Awards Nomination for best traditional world music

Composer, Arranger, Soloist, Producer, Filmmaker

Métisse Music (Publisher)


Sira                              7:42     Music Video, Live at Jazz Gallery New York, 2010

Faro                             6:04     Composition, 2007                 

DUMBO Arts Festival 2010

Music Video, Live at Jazz Gallery New York, 2010

Bamaya                       2:36     Composition, 2008

Gorgorlou                    4:42     Traditional, Arrangement, 2008

Sakhadougou              5:04     Traditional, Arrangement, 2008

Manssani Cisse           6:20     Traditional, Arrangement, 2008

                                                Projection Video, 2010


Volker Goetze (Trumpets)

Ablaye Cissoko (Kora)


Labels:                                     Obliqsound (2009), Motéma Music Inc. (since 2011)

Performances:                        Worldwide at Music Festivals and Art Venues since 2008


In Supplication (2007)


World Music Composition for African Harp and trumpet




Volker Goetze (Trumpets)

Ablaye Cissoko (Kora)

Richie Barshay (Percussion)


Truth or Fable (2007)


Chamber Music for Solo-Trumpet and Trombone, Strings, Vibraphone, Harp and Jazz Quintet


Métisse Music (Publisher)


Volker Goetze (Trumpet), Andrea Esperti (Trombone), Lausanne Chamber Orchestra + Jazz Quintet


International Franz Josef Reinl Composition Prize, Munich 2007

Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Independent Release, 2014

World-Premier: Gasteig, Munich Concert Hall, 2007


Triolog (2003)


Soloist, Arranger

Volker Goetze, Nana Vasconcelos, Pablo Arrieta

Recorded at Recife, Brazil, 2003


Press Quotes (selected)

  • “Powerful writing combining jazz, classical and African elements. And if you think you know Lenny Picket from Tower of Power and Saturday Night Live, check him out on ‘Solace’.”  - Jim McNeely
  • #1 iTunes France - World Music Album
  • #1 Global Hit of 2012 - Public Radio International
  • A quiet gem!” - Siddhartha Mitter, Boston Globe (USA)
  • “Nominated for best traditional song“ - 9th Annual Independent Music Awards (USA)
  • “#2 Album“ - College Music Journal (CMJ), World Music Chart (USA)
  • “A breath of fresh air, Ablaye Cissoko and Volker Goetze's Sira provides an oasis of calm in which to pause and rest, to reflect and be moved...to tears.“ - All About Jazz (USA)
  • 4 stars! “A real late-night beauty...More than a sum of its parts, a conjoining of talents that brings real magic.” - All Music Guide
  • “The music on this album is a revelation.” - Songlines (UK)
  • “A musical dialogue full of mutual listening and shared trust.” - Radio France International (France)
  • 5 stars! “Their effortless conversation, between echoes of tradition and invented vocabulary, both soothes and thrills.” - Mondomix (France)
  • 4 Stars! “Recorded in Senegal as a duet, Sira marks a true meeting of the minds. 10 delicate titles, a hymn to simplicity and to the universality of music. Beautiful.” - Jazzman (France)
  • “What’s unusual is not so much the combination of instruments, but the way in which these two musicians of clearly different backgrounds have created quite a distinct sound. The album is a wonderful collaboration of cultures and language.” - BBC World on 3 (UK)
  • “A captivating intercontinental exchange.” - Vibrations (UK)

Panel Discussions

2012    “Future of Music” - Apollo Theatre, Harlem, New York - Guest Panelist and Presenter       

2012    “Cross Disciplinary Filmmaking” - New York Foundation for the Arts - Guest Panelist and Presenter

University / College and Seminars

2015    Master class, Panama School of Music, Panama

2009    Workshop, Penn State University

2007    Jazz Composers Symposium, Presented Big Band Composition “Solace”, Florida

2006    NYU, Jazz Combo, substitute teacher, Arranging


2013 – 2019    Mentor for Immigrant Artists at NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts)

Music Instructor

2002 - 2011     Amadeus Conservatory Of Music, Chappaqua, New York

2006 - 2007     Douglaston School of The Arts, Long Island, New York

2002 - 2003     Long Island School of Music & Art, Albertson, New York

1999 - 2002     Yamaha Music School, Bonn, Germany


English (fluent)

French (fluent)

German (fluent)

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