Prof. Staar René

rstaar 106VIOLIN

Member of the VIENNA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, René Staar is composer, violinist, pianist, and conductor, born in Graz (Austria) in 1951. His parents soon recognized and encouraged his talent, and he received musical training in the Östermalms Musikskola (Stockholm), at the Music Academy in Vienna, and at the Sibelius-Akatemia (Helsinki). While attending master classes with Nathan Milstein in Zurich and going through a postgraduate composition study with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati he was already successfully working as interpreter, composer, and teacher. Staar’s works are played all over the world, whereby he is often involved as interpreter. René Staar was in 1987 one of the founders of the Ensemble Wiener Collage, with which he has, as violinist and composer, not only built up a repertory of the “modern classics” but also premiered over 250 compositions by more than 80 composers. The Vienna Breughel Ensemble, the European Youth Chamber Orchestra, and the Fritz Kreisler Ensemble also go back to his initiatives. Solo and chamber music activities complement his activity as violinist. Staar often refers to himself as “modern nomad”, in that he always writes his music whenever the opportunity itself, preferably while traveling. He is violinist in the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra (since 1988), conductor (devoted particularly to works of Arnold Schoenberg and to the Viennese School), and teacher (Vienna Music Academy 1974-81, University of California at Santa Barbara 1987/88, Graz Music Academy 1995-2006, as well as various courses between Vienna and China). The transformations and changes in life influence the ideas and forms of his works, whereby works and work cycles sometimes remain uncompleted for years or even decades, as it were in suspension. The development of an individual tonal language is strived for through many techniques: through analytical dissection of musical phenomena and contours, through creatively working out processes of harmonic evolution, and through the application of rhythmic elements such as displacements of accent, polyrhythmic fractures, and structured tempo relations. Tendencies to spatial conception and to unusual sound formations are here inherent. Techniques of quotation, parody, and of alienated distancing are also utilized, predominantly in earlier works. The great legacy of a musical tradition stretching from the Ars Nova to Stravinsky and Webern is just as much a source of inspiration as popular and folk music, folklore, jazz, or dance and marching music. Extramusical material from literature, history or science can also stimulate new ideas and compositions. In 1986, Staar was the first composer to receive the newly initiated Ernst Krenek Prize of the city of Vienna, awarded for his composition Just an Accident? A Requiem for Anton Webern and for other Victims of the Absurd (Text: Alan Levy), a work that was most recently performed in 2008, by the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Daniel Harding, in Vienna. A recording of this performance is included on an ORF CD released in August 2012, which also contains other works from 1983-2011, such as La Fontaine du Sang for violin and orchestra, performed by the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin (DSO) with Tibor Kovaҫ as soloist (violin) unter the baton of Peter Hirsch. His Bagatelles on the Name of György Ligeti (1989-1996) are the chronicle of the approach to and subsequent distancing from an idol. His string quartet Vanished Dreams (premiered 1993 by the Küchl Quartett at the Wiener Musikverein) shows the close proximity of his compositional style to that of the avant-garde. Both these pieces demonstrate in an exemplary manner the road taken by the composer. Metamorphoses of a Labyrinth (written in three different versions 1990-2003) was premiered 1991 at the Festival de Paris Spring, and its Austrian premiere took place at a festival for the Vienna Philharmonic’s 150th anniversary in the Wiener Musikverein. The second version was performed in 1992 six times in Japan, and the final version was written for “Stars of the White Night” in St. Petersburg for the city’s 300th anniversary in 2003. In 2002 Staar received from the Bavarian Radio the commission for an oratorio, which was premiered in Munich by the Bavarian Radio Choir and Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Marcello Viotti. In the course of the years 2004-08 he recast it as an evening-length work, now bearing the title Hammabbul, dealing with the theme of the biblical deluge. Pierre Boulez conducted the world premiere of P.B. forever, in Vienna, on June 16, 2009, performed by the Ensemble Wiener Collage. Time Recycling for large orchestra was written 2012-13 for the Vienna Philharmonic and has been premiered on 17 May 2014 with subsequent performances on May 18 and 19, in the »Golden Hall« of the Vienna Musikverein, conducted by Semyon Bychkov. Further performances, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, took place on August 23 and 24, 2014 at the Salzburg Festival and September 7 at Grafenegg Festival, and then—as Asian premiere—on September 24 at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Prologue of an Anonymous, a composition for music theatre on his own libretto in German and Russian, was written at the same time. Its premiere is scheduled for June 18, 2015 at the Vienna Konzerthaus. A comprehensive view of his entire oeuvre can be found on his homepage 



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