Peter Ruzicka

About Peter Ruzicka

Peter Ruzicka is an important contemporary German composer whose early music divulged the influence of Stockhausen, Henze, and Hans Otte, the last two of whom were his composition teachers in the 1960s. But from 1970 Ruzicka forged a different path under the influence of Mahler and Webern (and poet Paul Celan, who inspired several works). Yet the expressive language of his music has remained challenging, with its eerie sonorities, long Webern-esque pauses, and bleak character. Ruzicka also incorporated the notion after 1970 that music must come from (previous) music, believing that the evolution of compositional techniques from the 1950s and 1960s had effectively stalled. Thus, he often derived material for his works from some composition out of the past, as in his Metamorphosen über ein Klangfeld von Joseph Haydn (1990). As a conductor Ruzicka has led many of Europe's finest ensembles, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Danish National, and many others. Ruzicka has recorded for Koch Schwann, CPO, Musicaphon, and Col Legno Records. Peter Ruzicka was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, on July 3, 1948. He studied music at the Hamburg Conservatory, focusing on piano, oboe, and composition. His first works began appearing from 1967. Still, Ruzicka sought out further studies, taking courses in musicology, theater, and law(!), eventually obtaining a doctorate in law in 1977. From 1979-1987 he served as artistic director of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Throughout this period and in the years that followed, Ruzicka freelanced as a conductor in Germany and parts of Europe, but his compositional output turned relatively meager in the 1980s. From 1988-1997 Ruzicka was artistic director of both the Hamburg Philharmonic and Hamburg State Opera. From 1990 Ruzicka has served as professor of music at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg. With the appearance of orchestral works like Tallis, premiered in 1993 by Giuseppe Sinopoli and the Philharmonia Orchestra in Kiel, and Inseln, Randlos, premiered by violinist Christian Tetzlaff, conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, and the Deutsches Symphonieorchester and RIAS-Kammerchor in 1997 (and recorded in 1999 on the Thorofon label), Ruzicka gained impressive international notice. In the new century, Ruzicka has produced several large works, like his opera Holderin (2006-2007). Among the recordings of his works is the 2008 Thorofon CD of ...Ins Offene..., Sturz and Tombeau, with the Arditti String Quartet, flutist Kornelia Brandkamp, and Ruzicka leading the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Düsseldorf, Germany
July 3, 1948

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