Rozalie Hirs

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Rozalie Hirs (1965) is born in Gouda. She studied piano and voice from age 12 and 17 respectively. She completed a Master’s degree in chemical engineering at the Organic Chemistry Group of David Reinhoudt at Twente University in 1990; this included graduate work in reaction mechanisms and catalysis with Luigi Mandolini at the Universitá La Sapienza in Rome in 1990.

Rozalie Hirs is a contemporary Dutch composer and a poet. She was born on April 7, 1965, in Gouda, The Netherlands.

Hirs holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree from Columbia University, where she studied as a Fulbright fellow with Tristan Murail (1999-2002), and a Master of Music degree from the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, where she studied with Diderik Wagenaar (1991-1994) and Louis Andriessen (1994-1998). During her time at the Royal Conservatoire, she also took composition lessons with Gilius van Bergeijk and Clarence Barlow. At Columbia University she taught harmony and counterpoint as a Teaching Assistant; her thesis consisted of the essay Tristan Murail’s Le Lac, and her composition ‘Platonic ID‘, a commission from Asko|Schönberg.

At the invitation of the Nieuw Ensemble, she developed and curated the course Contemporary Compositional Techniques and OpenMusic, which she taught at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam during the 2005-06 academic year, together with guest professors Tristan Murail, Mikhail Malt, and Benjamin Thigpen. In 2009 the book of essays on this subject, which she co-edtied with Bob Gilmore, was published as part of the Collection Musique/Sciences of IRCAM|Éditions Delatour in Paris. During the academic year 2010-2011, Rozalie Hirs was guest lecturer at the Composition Department at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. She was also chairman of the jury for the Gaudeamus Music Prize in 2011.

Her debut publication as a composer, the CD Sacro Monte appeared in 1999 and met with critical acclaim. In 2007, her CD Platonic ID featuring instrumental compositions was released by Attacca Productions, Amsterdam. In 2010, the CD Pulsars followed, with electroacoustic works on original texts.

Her music and poetry are lyrical as well as experimental. The principal concerns of her work are the adventure of listening, reading, and the imagination. Her music consists of vocal, orchestral, and electronic compositions. She developed a highly personal spectral style, inspired, on the one hand, by the acoustic and psychoacoustic properties of timbre and sound, and on the other hand, by the clear classicist structures of The Hague School. She often combines traditional instruments with electronic sounds. Her poetry includes both printed collections and digital poetry: interactive poems created in collaboration with visual artists, and graphic designers.

Performers of her music include the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Asko|Schönberg, the Bozzini Quartet, Klangforum Wien, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and Slagwerk Den Haag; she is herself a regular performer of her compositions for voice and electronic sounds, mostly for international festivals. Her music scores are published by Donemus Publishing, her CDs by Attacca Productions, and her poetry books by Singel Uitgeverijen|Querido.

Hirs’ compositions include commissions by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta (‘Lichtende Drift’, 2014), Arnold Marinissen (‘article 0‘, 2000), ASKO|Schönberg (‘Book of Mirrors‘, 2001; ‘Platonic ID‘, 2006; ‘Arbre Généalogique‘, 2011, ‘The honeycomb conjecture‘, 2015), Bozzini Quartet (‘Nadir‘, 2014), Formalist Quartet (‘Zenith‘, 2010), Holland Festival (‘Atlantis ampersand‘, 2015), the David Kweksilber Big Band (‘Ain Silabar Ain’, 2013), Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (‘Roseherte‘, 2008), November Music (‘Nadir‘, 2014), NOW! Prismen (‘The honeycomb conjecture‘, 2015), Slagwerk Den Haag (‘Venus‘, 2010), and the VPRO broadcasting organization (‘Pulsars‘, 2007). All of these works have received financial support from the Netherlands Performing Arts Fund, VPRO, or Eduard van Beinum Foundation.

Book of Mirrors‘ (2001) received the Boris and Edna Rapoport Prize 2002 of Columbia University. ‘Roseherte‘ (2008) and ‘Zenith‘ (2010) were selected for Toonzetters as “one of the ten most beautiful compositions” of the previous year. Her work, Pulsars received the distinction ‘Recommended Work’ at the Rostrum for Electronic Music, Lissabon, Portugal, and was subsequently broadcast in twenty countries. Hirs has received a two-year composition stipend from the Netherlands Performing Arts Fund in 2012-2013, several travel and development fellowships, as well as financial support for almost all commissions by ensembles, orchestras, and soloists since 2000.

As a poet she has received awards and stipends for all her poetry books from either the Flemish Literary Fund, or the Netherlands Foundation for Literature. For her dissertation and subsequent book on microtonal systems in contemporary music she received an ‘Art and Sciences’ fellowship from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds in 2003-05, and a fellowship from the Amsterdam University of the Arts in 2005-07. During her studies at Columbia University she was a Fulbright fellow and a fellow of Columbia University.

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