Switzerland, 1954
Composer • Conductor

An Austrian composer of Swiss origin, Beat Furrer was born in 1954 in Schaffhausen. He began studying the piano at the conservatory in his home town and then settled in Vienna in 1975 to study composition with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati and orchestra conducting with Otmar Suitner. Today he lives in Kritzendorf, near Vienna. In 1985, he created the Klangforum Wien ensemble. He remained its artistic director until July 1992. Since 1992, Beat Furrer has been professor of composition at the University of Music and Dramatic Art at Graz. The plastic arts, literature and jazz comprised the backdrop for the birth of the first works. Certain techniques have something in common by analogy with plastic methods: superimposition of layers that gradually surround an object by revisiting the same structure as well as light and dark effects. This work of extreme differentiation between sounds, gestures and textures branches out in places into very dense fabrics where it is held, on the contrary, on the brink of breakdown. The musical form proceeds most often by superimposed processes, gradual recoveries or revelations, filtering or distortion of mechanisms or refined materials, sometimes torn by emphatic gestures appearing suddenly in all their strangeness. Finally the voice, from noised babbling to organized language, occupies a decisive place in his compositions. The instruments, like the voice often stay close to spoken enunciation. The flute of Invocation (2002-2003), like the singer or the actress, plays the main character. Among his musical theatre works can be cited his first opera Die Blinden, created in 1989 at the Wien Modern festival, Begehren (2001) and Fama (2005), described as Hörtheater (theatre for listening).

Translation: Oliver Haeffeley [iii-13]