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Graz premiere of «la terra sommersa … un campanile»

A cluster dissolving into a qualified harmony in «la terra sommersa … un campanile»

On January 21, Maria Frodl (vc) and Kaori Nishii (pno) will perform «la terra sommersa … un campanile» at the Palais Meran in Graz

Ten years after its premiere at the Musikverein in Vienna, my piece for violoncello and piano will have its first performance in Graz. The concert on January 21st will be hosted by the Styrian Composers’ Association (Steierischer TonkĂŒnstlerbund) and I’m particularly happy looking forward to hearing the interpretation of two excellent musicians who have already played my piece a few years ago in Vienna.

Originally written for Alexander Gebert (violoncello) and the pianist Anna Magdalena Kokits in 2012, this is undoubtable one of my oldest pieces that I’m still happy to see on a concert programme. Back then I was about finishing my bachelor’s studies in composition and this was indeed one of my first major artistic projects together with the string quartet. Although I have moved far away from it stylistically, there are some things in this piece that are still important to me compositionally today, such as contrasting cloudy vertical situations with clear harmonies. In «la terra sommersa … un campanile» I made use of clusters in the piano for instance, something I really disappreciate today—knowing today that there are far more interesting and subtler ways of creating harsh and noisy sound events for such situations—and these clusters fall apart and eventually turn into qualified sounds such as bell-like chords.

The premiere of the duo by Alexander Gebert and Anna Magdalena Kokits was quite successful and my piece â€čsurvivedâ€ș alongside works by Brahms, Penderecki, Schwertsik and Martinu on that day, as it was played marvellously by the two outstandingly good musicians. That experience motivated me to orchestrate it and thus a version for large ensemble was created which was first performed by the Ensemble Kontrapunkte in 2015, also at the Musikverein. A recording of the latter version was released in the ORF Edition Zeitton—you can listen to it here.

I hope to meet you on January 21st at the Palais Meran. The concert will start at 4 PM and will feature also works by Alyssa Aska, Morgana Petrik, Franz Zebinger and others, as well as some free drinks and small snacks.

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«Music With Moons» presented at the Bruckneruni in Linz

Introducing «Music With Moons» at the Sonic Lab concert hall | Photo: Andreas Weixler

On June 19 I was invited to present «Music With Moons» at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz

In the course of the Austrian Composers’s Week 2023 organized by the Austrian Composers’ Association my work was showcased at the Bruckneruni’s Sonic Lab, a great new concert hall opened in 2015 and dedicated particularly for performances of computer music. Prior to the event a call for scores was advertised and I feel very much obliged that Mr. Andreas Weixler, head of the Computer Music Studio (CMS) at the Bruckneruni who curated the programme, chose my work for a performance.

In the meantime I have uploaded the concert version of the piece — feel free to listen to the piece here. To start the piece, hover over the invisible play button below the title (which then will become visible) and click Play â–ș.

Here are some impressions of the presentation and the concert:

Photos: Andreas Weixler, Se-Lien Chuang.

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Premiere of «four stars and one dark nebula» in Oldenburg

Within the frame of the «23. Lange Nacht der Musik» my piano piece »four stars and one dark nebula« will be premiered by the German pianist Annette Kurz in Oldenburg on June 17. The work was awarded a second prize in the 21st Carl von Ossietzky Kompositionswettbewerb organised by the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg.

A primary goal of the composition competition was to find and present new works that are ideally suitet for discovering experimental playing techniques and expanding a student’s pianistic skills in that respect:

Die eingesendeten Werke sollen von geschulten Laien bzw. interessierten Klavierstudierenden gut zu lesen und auffĂŒhrbar sein, um die Literatur experimenteller Spielweisen am Tasteninstrument kennenzulernen und als Erweiterungen des Klangspektrums erfahrbar zu machen.

https://uol.de/kompositionswettbewerb

Admittingly most of my piano pieces are quite hard to learn and require solid pianistic abilities in many ways—however, everything I write remains perfectly playable and several of my compositions have been staged by students thus far. It is very important to me that on the one hand no compromises are made with regard to what it takes to create a certain soundscape: If it means to be techically difficult it will simply turn out to become an arduous piece to learn—so what. We take things seriously and practising takes a lot of time, but if we love what we’re doing professionally, we love practising something very hard whenever the outcome is good.

On the other hand, I keep striving towards being a â€čfriendly composerâ€ș in terms of notation. Perhaps, because of creating graphical works as an artist as well, I am definitely not interested in complexifying my scores graphically. That’s old school in my opinion, we have had that since the 60s of the very past century and I feel there isn’t any need to emulate this tradition any longer.

I’m really happy that my attempt of creating a piece that conveys my personal language uncompromisingly while being still attractive for young and less experienced piano students to learn was awarded a prize in composition. It means a lot to me, because if our music is not eligible for young musicians at all, they will just keep loving the old pieces forever, but not the new ones.

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«Music With Moons» wins Call for Scores

«Music With Moons» will be staged on June 19 in Linz in the course of the Austrian Composers Week 2023.

Generative AV «Music With Moons» will be staged at the Austrian Composers Week 2023 at the Anton Bruckner University’s Sonic Lab on June 19

Winning a call for scores by the Austrian Composers’ Association «Music With Moons» will be played at the Austrian Composers Week 2023 in a concerts that takes place at the new campus of the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz. The Sonic Lab which only opened in 2015 was designed as a computer music concert hall at the ABPU in Linz.

In the concert on June 19 works between the poles of notated compositions, fixed media, improvisation and real-time processed structures will be presented. The programme includes works by Sam Erpelding, Ángel HernĂĄndez Lovera, Christoph Renhart, Belma BeĆĄlić-GĂĄl, Se-Lien Chuang, Dieter Kaufmann, Peter Trabitzsch, Tom Aitken, Andreas Weixler, Gabriel Bramöck and Markus Bless.

I’m particularly looking forward to this very first public concert in which a large work of mine from the field of computer music will be staged.

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CD Release

Get a copy of the new CD from col legno’s online shop: col-legno.com

Recording of «XXI Orakel der Nacht – Zweites Heft» available on CD

On May 12 a new CD dedicated to Gerd KĂŒhr, professor emeritus in composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz will be released by the Austrian label col legno. Alongside piano pieces by Gerd KĂŒhr we have recorded several other works for the piano by composers who have lived or worked in Graz. The album outlines a synopsis of the manifold compositional works by composers who are for the most part fellows of the University of Music in Graz, too.

On the new disc, my own recording of «XXI Orakel der Nacht – Zweites Heft» will be released as well. The other pieces were played by Chiemi Tanaka, Krzysztof Dziurbiel, Anton Bashynskyi, Milica Zakic and Stipe Bilic. The recording was made in OberschĂŒtzen last October and funded by the City of Graz, the Gesellschaft der Freunde der KunstuniversitĂ€t Graz and SKE.

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Radio broadcast

Listen to the recording of the Ensemble Kontrapunkte’s concert on May 16 in Ö1 Zeit-Ton | oe1.orf.at

Recording of «Drei nautische Stillleben» to be presented in Ö1 Zeit-Ton on May 16

The Austrian public radio station Ö1 will present the recording of the Ensemble Kontrapunkte’s concert from April 17, 2023 at the Musikverein, Vienna. Under the direction of Gottfried Rabl, two new works for large ensemble were premiered, Martin Bjelik’s «Schattenbilder II» and my composition «Drei nautische Stillleben» for mezzosoprano and ensemble. The soloist part in my work was sung by Elsa Janulidu.

Moreover two works by the American Pulitzer Prize winning composer Joseph Schwantner were staged in Austria for the first time by the Ensemble Kontrapunkte on April 17. Ö1 will broadcast the recording on May 16 at 11:03 PM in their radio programme «Zeit-Ton». The programme will be available online at oe1.orf.at for one week.

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Échos Ă©loquents to be performed in Seoul

ensemble blank’s concert programme on April 29, 2023 | Seoul Arts Center

The South Korean ensemble blank conducted by Jaehyuck Choi stages «Échos Ă©loquents» on April 29 at Seoul Arts Center

Winning the ensemble blank’s international Call for Scores 2022, my work for seven players will be performed in a concert in the South Korean capital Seoul on April 29, 2023. The concert will take place at the Seoul Arts Center (IBK Chamber Hall) and will feature works by Rebecca Saunders, Anton Webern, Tristan Murail, Ungjin Lee, Christophe Bertrand and J. S. Bach alongside my composition.

About the work

Échos Ă©loquents was written in 2016 and premiered in the same year by the Schallfeld Ensemble in Graz. In 2019 I wrote a second version for the Belgian Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles in the course of the ‘tactus Young Composers’ Forum. The piece lasts approximately 11 minutes and has two large parts that are linked together by a cadenza. The first part is much shorter than the second part—a basic concept of the piece was to find an interesting solution that could address this problem in the form (a cadenza and a climax coming early in a composition).

Article about the work on chrenhart.eu.
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World premiere at Musikverein

Ensemble Kontrapunkte presents workds by Bjelik, Renhart, Schwantner and Messiaen | musikverein.at

Ensemble Kontrapunkte plays «Drei nautische Stillleben» in April with soloist Elsa Janulidu

On April 17 the Viennese Ensemble Kontrapunkte will stage my new work «Drei nautische Stillleben» for mezzo soprano and ensemble under the baton of Gottfried Rabl. The soloist part will be sung by the Greek mezzo soprano Elsa Janulidu. The event will take place at the Musikverein’s GlĂ€serner Saal.

Being my third collaboration with the Ensemble Kontrapunkte, I’m particularly looking forward to rehearsing the piece with an ensemble that I consider ideal for the aesthetics I seek in music. I have chosen a wide range of instruments for the orchestral version of this song cycle that is based on my own texts: Five woodwind instruments (including two clarinets), three brass instruments that play with different mutes for long periods, a large percussion part for three percussionists (which also features three percussion frogs that do sound like real rogs), a piano part that also features a virtuous celesta passage and string quintet section. The entire piece is estimated to last approximately 20 minutes.

About the work

«Three Nautical Still Lifes» for mezzo soprano and ensemble is based upon four poems, that I wrote as a starting point for a new song cycle for mezzo soprano and piano. The chamber music version was composed in 2021 — it is the basis of the present version for mezzo soprano and ensemble.

The surreal texts are framed by instrumental sections. An instrumental prologue is put in front of the first poem, which anticipates the wet atmosphere of the texts. A monologue recited by the ensemble forms the middle movement. At the climax of the cyclic work, the cachalot stands as a metaphor for an erupting volcano, which collapses spectacularly. In the epilogue, the voice and the ensemble find together finally in a rather melancholic certitude: «Auspicious in the asters’ morass, the loam quenchs the sore furrows».

Full article about the ensemble version (in German) on this website.
Full article about the original piano version (in German) on this website.
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Winner of ensemble blank’s Call for Scores 2022

«Échos Ă©loquents» to be staged in South Corea in 2023

I’m delighted to announce that my work Échos Ă©loquents, composed for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola and violoncello has won an international call for scores launched by the renowned South Corean ensemble blank. The jury—consisting of the members of the ensemble—selected from nearly 150 submissions Eungjin Lee’s composition Geste I alongside my work. Both winning works will be played by the ensemble blank in the next season and will be recorded respectively. Moreover, the winners are awarded a cash prize, too.

Corea’s leading ensemble for contemporary music

ensemble blank was founded in 2015 by the composer and conductor Jaehyuck Choi, the pianist Da-hyun Chung, flutist Ji Weon Ryu and the percussionist Won Lee. In its concerts, the ensemble often combines classical masterworks and modern pieces. Vivaldi & Ligeti, Brahms & Furrer, or a wonderful programme entitled Definition of the Beauty where the audience was offered a subtle mixture of music by Messiaen, Pintscher, Furrer, Choi and Dalbavie contour quite an extraordinary curating—have a look at the ensemble’s concert history here, it’s absolutely remarkable.

In 2020 the young ensemble announced its first call for scores, this year being the third time such an opportunity was offered to composers under 35 years from all over the world.

About Échos Ă©loquents

My successfully submitted piece was written in 2016 and premiered in the same year by the Schallfeld Ensemble in Graz. Back then I tried to compose a piece which has its climax far before its second half (one might typically try to avoid this as a composer). After having written a rather tradtional piano concerto before, I attempted to write a sort of concerto for a small ensemble with a cadenza somewhere in the middle and a rather long second half that functions a bit like a shadow of the first half (and thus being much longer). Of course the outcome deviates more or less from the original idea, however we can easily detect the two parts and the cadenza in (before) the middle when listening to this piece for the first time, I believe.

Being a concerto somehow, the music features many virtuous passages (not only with regard to the playing techniques but also harmonically). Besides it invokes many bell-like sounds (in many possible ways—I really love the sound of bells, plates, gongs and so forth) and also some melodic fragments that might be faintly reminiscent of a Chinese song.

To understand why I inwove such a pseudo-quotation we must have a look at the (already too) many versions of the piece. The version for 7 instruments was composed alongside a version where two Chinese instruments (pipa and erhu) were involved which was commissioned for a concert with the Klangforum in 2016 at the Konzerthaus in Vienna. Both versions are like Siamese twins (there are several differences nonetheless, thus the version with the Chinese instruments has got a different name, miroirs noirs, too). A few years later, in 2019, I have made a third version from the Échos for the Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles in the course of the ‘tactus Young Composers’ Forum. They have made a great video of this version in which I have added a trombone and a guitar to the seven original instruments in Mons. I’d really like to recommend this recording (see YouTube player below).

Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles is playing «Échos Ă©loquents» (Mons version for nine players).
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«four stars and one dark nebula» awarded in Oldenburg

A short piano piece of mine with the title four stars and one dark nebula was awarded the second prize at the 21st Ossietzky-Kompositionswettbewerb in Oldenburg, Germany. The successfully submitted works of this year’s composition will be premiered in the summer term next year at the University of Oldenburg that carried out the international composition competition.

This year’s prize in composition was awarded to works for experimentally played piano (with or without live electronics). The selected works should be of medium difficulty in order to be playable by talented music students.

I’m very happy that my submitted work could persuade the jury. In the recent years, several works of mine have been played by music students and I really believe that it is important for composers to be able to write high-class music that can be played also by musicians not yet specialised in contemporary music. It requires our scores to be notated in a very clear and appealing way at the first place, too. I do feel honoured that one of my works has now been quasi officially lauded for being especially eligible as an educational work.