Grand River

"First I was a person, and then I became a river"


Aimée Portioli is a Berlin-based Dutch-Italian composer and sound designer who records and performs as Grand River.

Portioli makes experimental electronic music with rich emotional colours. Her work, influenced by minimalism and ambient music, is atmospheric yet rhythmically complex, incorporating a wide range of contemporary compositional and production techniques.

The name Grand River evokes nature, scale, and movement, all key forces in Portioli’s work. Her first release as Grand River was 2017’s Crescente EP, which was named by XLR8R as one of the best releases of the year. She followed this with her debut album Pineapple (Spazio Disponibile, 2018), which garnered praise from The Quietus among others, while its follow-up Blink A Few Times To Clear Your Eyes (Editions Mego, 2020) was positively received by Resident Advisor and The Verge, and was elected among best albums of 2020 by Inverted Audio. 

Her work has separately appeared on compilations by Ghostly International, Tresor, and Longform Editions. 

Her third album All Above is released in 2023 once again on Editions Mego among one of the last releases of the label.

In addition to her studio albums, Portioli also creates original sound art installations and worked with 4D spatial sound on several occasions.

Portioli has performed as Grand River at major international venues and festivals, including Barbican Hall, CTM Festival, L.E.V. Festival, Berghain, MUTEK, Kraftwerk, Funkhaus,  WOS Festival, and many more.  She collaborates with visual artist Marco Ciceri on special A/V performances and for the light design of her new All Above live tour.

Since 2016 she runs the label One Instrument that invites artists to respond to a unique creative brief – to create a piece of music using just one instrument.

Aimée Portioli holds a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Linguistics and Communication of Milan. Her thesis explored the psychology of the communicative function of music in media. 

Her work today is motivated by similar questions of sound and music as a form of communication that goes beyond language.

Programme Text

“First, I was a person, and then I became a river,” says Aimée Portioli about her bio–graphy and her artistic development – only fittingly, the Berlin-based producer makes music under the name Grand River. Her compositions are characterised by subtle repetitions and transformations and have an unparalleled, poignant intimacy. Her primary instrument is the piano, whose gentle figurations are entwined with acoustic and electronic instruments: organ, guitar, cello, and sampled voices. At donaufestival, she presents her current album All Above in collaboration with video artist Marco Ciceri.

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