Composer, Conductor, Coach
“Flexibility and openness rather than specialisation are some of the requirements to be met by young musicians of our time – in addition to maximum musical and technical skills, they must also have a comprehensive understanding of aesthetic processes far beyond the music of current concert practice. A constant exploration, from ever changing perspectives, of the space that embraces everything that we call music, evolved as it has over the centuries.” (Beat Furrer)
Beat Furrer was born in Schaffhausen (Switzerland) in 1954 and received his first musical training on piano at the Music School there. After moving to Vienna in 1975, he studied conducting with Otmar Suitner and composition with Roman Haubenstock Ramati at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst.
In 1985 he founded the Klangforum Wien, which he directed until 1992, and with which he is still associated as conductor. Commissioned by the Vienna State Opera, he composed his first opera Die Blinden. His second opera Narcissus was premiered in 1994 as part of the Festival steirischer herbst at the Graz Opera. In 1996 he was composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival. His music theatre work Begehren was premiered in Graz in 2001, the opera invocation in Zürich in 2003 and the sound theatre piece FAMA in Donaueschingen in 2005. In autumn 1991 Furrer became a full professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Graz. He has been guest professor in composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt from 2006–2009. Together with violinist Ernst Kovacic he founded impuls as an international Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music. In 2004 he was awarded the Music Prize of the City of Vienna, and in 2005 became a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. He was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2006 for his work FAMA. In 2010 his music theatre Wüstenbuch was premiered in Basel. In 2014 he was awarded with the Great Austrian State Prize. 2018 he received the Ernst-von-Siemens music prize. His opera Violetter Schnee, based on a libretto by Vladimir Sorokin and Händl Klaus, was premiered at Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin in January 2019.
Since the 1980s Beat Furrer has composed a wide range of works, from solo and ensemble music to orchestral and choral works and opera. He is well know for his nuanced exploration of the human voice and its relationship to instrumental sound.
Beat Furrer will be present at impuls in between July 25th and August 2nd.