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York Höller: UK premieres at the Southbank Centre

(October 2012)

UK premieres of recent works by German composer York Höller are featured in the Music of Today series at the Southbank Centre in London.

The Philharmonia Orchestra's Music of Today series introduces UK audiences to recent works by York Höller, one of the leading German composers over the past half century. The free concert at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall at 6pm on Thursday 18 October features members of the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Collon. Series director Unsuk Chin introduces the concert, and York Höller will be in conversation with Nicholas Collon discussing the background to the three featured works.

Ex Tempore for a mixed ensemble of nine instrumentalists was premiered by Ensemble Recherche in 2002 and has since travelled widely in Germany and to Poland, the USA, Austria and France, and has been performed by the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Pierre Boulez in Höller's home city of Cologne and in Amsterdam. Also receiving its UK premiere in London is Feuerwerk for 16 instrumentalists, composed in 2004 and premiered by musikFabrik. The programme is completed by Höller's classic Improvisation sur le nom de Pierre Boulez, also for 16 instrumentalists, which has been performed by leading contemporary music ensembles since its premiere in 1985, including Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta and Musica Viva Dresden.

Born in 1944, York Höller studied composition with Bernd Alois Zimmermann at the Cologne Musikhochschule. He was invited by Karlheinz Stockhausen to work at the electronic studio of the WDR (West German Radio) in Cologne and was subsequently appointed Director of the studio as a successor to Stockhausen. His pioneering work in the late 1970s and 1980s explored the integration of live and electronically processed sound, including Arcus and Résonance which combined the technology of IRCAM with the live musicians of the Ensemble Intercontemporain. His oeuvre as a whole demonstrates an imaginative blending of contemporary music techniques with French aural sensibility and an exploration of archetypal identities, whether mythical, musical or philosophical.

His large-scale works include Piano Concerto No.1 written for Peter Donohoe and also championed by Daniel Barenboim, and the opera Der Meister und Margarita, setting Bulgakov's novel, staged at the Paris Opéra and Cologne Opera. His orchestral work Aura was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Barenboim in 1995 and toured to the Cologne Musik Triennale. Höller's recent scores include Sphären for orchestra, premiered under the baton of Semyon Bychkov, which was awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in 2010. A new cello concerto for Adrian Brendel will be premiered on 25 January 2013 in Hamburg by the NDR Symphony Orchestra. 2014 is York Höller's 70th birthday year.

> Listen to audio clips of music by York Höller

> Further information on Work: Ex tempore

Photo: HanneEngwald

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