Lukas Ligeti’s compositions draw on diverse traditions including New York experimentalism, electronic music, jazz, African music and the European avant-garde. His music shows an interest in musical processes, complex polymetric structures and intercultural collaboration, with many of his works arising out of his deep, long-term engagement with the music of Africa. An established percussionist, especially in the fields of jazz and free improvisation, Lukas Ligeti has long worked with live electronics and has initiated numerous intercultural musical projects, such as his African electronica group Burkina Electric.
As a composer, Lukas Ligeti’s output ranges from percussion works, including Pattern Transformation for four marimba players, and ensemble works such as Surroundedness, written for the Viennese ensemble “die reihe”, to his large-scale Suite for Burkina Electric and Orchestra, which the composer premiered with the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig. He has received commissions from the Vienna Festwochen, Austrian Radio, Tonhalle Düsseldorf and from orchestras and ensembles including the Tonkünstler Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Eighth Blackbird and the Kronos Quartet; his works have been premiered by soloists including Håkan Hardenberger and Colin Currie. He has been featured at festivals including the Festival d’Automne à Paris and the London Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival. In 2015 he was artist-in-residence at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland.
This season features the premiere of a new clarinet quartet, Birimintingo, the title of which refers to the improvised solo runs that characterise the music of the kora, a West African stringed instrument. The work will be premiered in February 2019 by concert:nova in Cincinnati before further performances in Chicago and San Antonio, Texas, by the Civitas and Soli ensembles respectively. He is also developing a special work for the students and faculty members of the music department of the University of California, Irvine, where he is a professor. In 2019 he will spend a two-month residency in Porto with the Sonoscopia Ensemble developing a work for robot orchestra and ensemble.
Lukas Ligeti studied composition and percussion at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where his tutors included Kurt Schwertsik. He also studied with George Crumb, Jonathan Harvey and John Zorn, among others. Having immigrated to the United States in 1998, Lukas Ligeti is now based in Johannesburg and California, where he holds a professorship in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology at the University of California, Irvine. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including the CalArts Alpert Award in Music (2010), New York Foundation for the Arts Composition Fellowship (2002 & 2008), Austrian State Grant for Composition (1991 & 1996) and the Förderpreis of the City of Vienna (1990).