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 in his music existential experiences for the listener, spaces 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 works.
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 the encounter with the music of Helmut Lachenmann, the score of whose piano concerto 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 moving 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 Program, 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 refers to a religious theme. Here Mark Andre explored the aspects of transition in the resurrection of Christ. 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….
One of Mark Andre’s most important works of the last few years is the clarinet concerto über written for Jörg Widmann and the SWR Symphony Orchestra, which won the Orchestral Prize at the Donaueschingen Festival. His collaboration with Jörg Widmann has led to two further works for solo clarinet: Atemwind 1 and the sound installation …selig sind…. The violin concerto an was premiered in 2016 at the ACHT Brücken festival in Cologne, followed by the orchestral work woher…wohin in 2017. 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. Mark Andre’s first opera wunderzaichen, which recounts the fictitious journey of the first German humanist Johannes Reuchlin whose present-day alter ego is sent on a trip to Israel, became one of the highlights of the 2013/14 season at the Stuttgart Opera under the baton of Sylvain Cambreling, and was performed again in Stuttgart in 2018 in a revised edition.
Last season, Mark Andre was the subject of a composer focus at the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik; in February 2019, his oeuvre will be presented as part of the Festival Présences in Paris. Additionally, a new work for the Scharoun Ensemble will be performed this season in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Berlin Philharmonie.
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 fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. He teaches composition at the Academy of Music in Dresden.
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