Mark Andre reaches with such intensity for a stillness that almost bursts your eardrums. Berliner Zeitung, 23/1/2018
Mark Andre, born in Paris in 1964, creates musical-existential experiences for the listener characterised by subtle, minutely worked-out processes of transformation. Central to his work is the question of disappearance, which shapes his approach to sound, form, and subject. The practicing Protestant is a sensitive explorer of sound, both in his delicate and concentrated chamber works as well as in his orchestral and music theatre pieces.
After his studies in France, including those at the Paris Conservatory with Claude Ballif and Gérard Grisey, Mark Andre found a new musical home in Germany. He describes his encounter with the music of Helmut Lachenmann, whose piano concerto score Ausklang he happened to stumble across, as having been a revelation. He subsequently went through extensive composition studies with Lachenmann in Stuttgart and studied musical electronics with André Richard at the experimental studio of Southwest German Radio, in the meantime shifting the focus of his life from France to Germany. Here, he soon received grants and prizes, such as the Kranichsteiner Music Prize at the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music (1996), first prize at the Stuttgart International Composers Competition (1997), and the composition prize from Frankfurt Opera (2001). Since 1998 he has taught regularly at the Darmstadt Summer Courses. In 2002 he received the Advancement Award from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, and in 2005 he travelled to Berlin as a participant of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme, where he has lived ever since.
Particular interest was aroused by the 2004 premiere of Mark Andre’s tripartite music theatre work …22, 13… at the Munich Biennale. This work’s title refers to a passage in the Apocalypse of St John. His orchestral triptych …auf…, which he completed in 2007, similarly references religious themes. Here, Mark Andre explored aspects of transition as relates to Christ’s Resurrection. Andre has a soft spot for German prepositions, grammatical elements with the function of transition, as illustrated in numerous other work titles such as those of the chamber music works written between 2001 and 2005: …durch…, …zu…, …in…, and …als…. Mark Andre's first opera, wunderzaichen, under Sylvain Cambreling’s baton, became a highlight of the 2013/14 Stuttgart Opera season and was reprised there in 2018 in a revised version.
One of Mark Andre’s most important works of the last decade is the clarinet concerto über written for Jörg Widmann and the SWR Symphony Orchestra, which won the Orchestral Prize at the Donaueschingen Festival. The violin concerto an was premiered in 2016 at the Acht Brücken festival in Cologne, followed by the work …hin…for harp and chamber orchestra in 2018. Another significant work of recent years is the Riss trilogy for ensemble, with individual parts written for the Ensemble Modern, the Ensemble Musikfabrik and the Ensemble intercontemporain. Sein Orgelwerk iv15 himmelfahrt begeisterte bei der Uraufführung im Oktober 2018 in München in der Werkfassung für elektronische Registertraktur in the version for electronic stop action, ehe es 2019 mit mechanischer Registertraktur with mechanical stop action in Bad Frankenhausen aufgeführt wurde. In 2018/19 he was also commissioned by the Berlin Scharoun Ensemble to write Drei Stücke für Ensemble, which were performed at the Berlin Philharmonie and the Elbphilharmonie. Also in 2019, iv 17 for soprano and piano was premiered at the Lucerne Festival.
The current season began at the Musikfest Berlin with the 40-minute double bass solo piece iv 18 "Sie fürchteten sich nämlich". The world premiere, mastered by Frank Reinecke, was embedded in a two-part concert evening with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, in which the pianist performed five piano works by Mark Andre. In May 2022, the rwh cycle, originally planned for 2021, will be performed by five Hannover choirs and the Ensemble Modern at the KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen and subsequently at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. This will be followed in June by the world premiere of rwh2 with the Gaechinger Cantorey and ensemble ascolta at the Musikfest Stuttgart.
Mark Andre is a member of the Berlin Academy of the Arts, Saxon Academy of the Arts, and the Bavarian Academy of the Arts, and was honoured with the order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2011. In 2012 he was a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. He teaches composition at the Academy of Music in Dresden.
This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions, or additions, unless expressly authorised by the artist management.