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[ Freidrich Cerha - Monumentum 1/2]

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Composer Friedrich Cerha, born in Vienna in 1926, has long been considered one of the most important Austrian composers of our time. In 1958, he founded the Vienna-based ensemble die reihe. Cerha directed die reihe, an ensemble comprised of talented soloists, for decades. In 1960 and 1961, Cerha composed a work that became central to his compositional output - a cycle entitled Spiegel. In 1979, he completed Berg’s three-act opera Lulu, a work which garnered him international attention.

 

Friedrich Cerha has spent much of his career delving into various 20th century musical styles, such as twelve-tone technique, neoclassicism, and serial music. He has also maintained an interest in replicable emotional developments, which permeate both his orchestral and chamber works. 

 

Music-theatre has also played an important role in Cerha’s compositional output. For example, Cerha created a version of Spiegel that included movement groups, lights, and objects. Soon after this he wrote the music-theatre piece Netzwerk. In the late 1970s, Cerha became highly interested in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal and produced a work of the same name that grappled with the relationship between the individual and society. This work was followed by Der Rattenfänger (1984-1986) and Der Riese vom Steinfeld (1997). His most important orchestral works include Langegger Nachtmusik III and Impulse. Over the past several years he has produced multiple solo concertos, such as his Concerto for violin and orchestra (2004), Concerto for soprano, saxophone and orchestra (2003/2004), and Concerto for clarinet and orchestra (2009).

 

Today, Friedrich Cerha is as exceptionally productive as ever. His Concerto for percussion and orchestra premiered in the autumn of 2009 (Martin Grubinger, Mozarteumorchester Salzburg), followed by Instants(WDR Symphonieorchester), Like a Tragicomedy (BBC Philharmonic Orchestra), and Kammermusik for orchestra (ORF Radio Symphonieorchester), performed at the Wiener Festwochen 2010. In September, 2010, Ensemble Modern and Hans Holliger will come together to put on the world premiere of Cerha’s Quintet for oboe and string quartet. The Salzburg Biennale is making Cerha, whose 85th birthday is to be celebrated this coming February, a main focus of its festival in March.

 

In addition to his active compositional life, Friedrich Cerha taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna until 1988. His students have included Georg Friedrich Haas and Karlheinz Essl. Friedrich Cerha is a recipient of the Grand Austrian State Prize, a member of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. The Biennale di Venezia awarded Cerha with the Golden Lion for his life’s work in 2006.

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[ Freidrich Cerha - Monumentum 2/2]

Composer Friedrich Cerha, born in Vienna in 1926, has long been considered one of the most important Austrian composers of our time. In 1958, he founded the Vienna-based ensemble die reihe. Cerha directed die reihe, an ensemble comprised of talented soloists, for decades. In 1960 and 1961, Cerha composed a work that became central to his compositional output - a cycle entitled Spiegel. In 1979, he completed Berg’s three-act opera Lulu, a work which garnered him international attention.

 

Friedrich Cerha has spent much of his career delving into various 20th century musical styles, such as twelve-tone technique, neoclassicism, and serial music. He has also maintained an interest in replicable emotional developments, which permeate both his orchestral and chamber works. 

 

Music-theatre has also played an important role in Cerha’s compositional output. For example, Cerha created a version of Spiegel that included movement groups, lights, and objects. Soon after this he wrote the music-theatre piece Netzwerk. In the late 1970s, Cerha became highly interested in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal and produced a work of the same name that grappled with the relationship between the individual and society. This work was followed by Der Rattenfänger(1984-1986) and Der Riese vom Steinfeld (1997). His most important orchestral works includeLangegger Nachtmusik III and Impulse. Over the past several years he has produced multiple solo concertos, such as his Concerto for violin and orchestra (2004), Concerto for soprano, saxophone and orchestra (2003/2004), and Concerto for clarinet and orchestra (2009).

 

Today, Friedrich Cerha is as exceptionally productive as ever. His Concerto for percussion and orchestra premiered in the autumn of 2009 (Martin Grubinger, Mozarteumorchester Salzburg), followed by Instants(WDR Symphonieorchester), Like a Tragicomedy (BBC Philharmonic Orchestra), and Kammermusik for orchestra (ORF Radio Symphonieorchester), performed at the Wiener Festwochen 2010. In September, 2010, Ensemble Modern and Hans Holliger will come together to put on the world premiere of Cerha’s Quintet for oboe and string quartet. The Salzburg Biennale is making Cerha, whose 85th birthday is to be celebrated this coming February, a main focus of its festival in March.

 

In addition to his active compositional life, Friedrich Cerha taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna until 1988. His students have included Georg Friedrich Haas and Karlheinz Essl. Friedrich Cerha is a recipient of the Grand Austrian State Prize, a member of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. The Biennale di Venezia awarded Cerha with the Golden Lion for his life’s work in 2006.