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Isabel Mundry's work is characterized by a unique sonic language that investigates the relationships between time, space, and perception in rich, multi-faceted ways. In doing so, she creates new pathways and different realities in her compositions, which are explored through the timbre, harmony and rhythms of her nuanced music.
Born in Hesse in 1963 and raised in Berlin, Isabel Mundry honed her composition skills under Frank Michael Beyer, Gösta Neuwirth and Hans Zender, among others. This training was complemented by studies in musicology, art history and philosophy, as well as a course in computer science and composition at the Paris IRCAM. After gaining attention in the 90s for her chamber music compositions and ensemble and orchestral works, her first music theater work was a resounding success: in 2005, the premiere of Ein Atemzug - die Odyssee at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Reinhild Hoffmann, staging; musical direction, Peter Rundel), was named best premiered work of the year by the magazine Opernwelt. In the work, the composer deals with layers of remembering and forgetting. Isabel Mundry’s interest in fusing musical structure to spatial presentation continued with Nicht Ich – über das Marionettentheater, a concert staged and conceived with the dancer and choreographer Jörg Weinöhl; it premiered in 2011 at the Kleistfestival in Thun in a performance by the Ensemble Recherche and the Vokalensemble Zürich and was subsequently shown in Zurich, Basel, Lyon, Dusseldorf and Salzburg.
Isabel Mundry's numerous works for solo instruments and orchestras include Nocturno, first performed in 2006 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim and later interpreted by the Staatskapelle Berlin and Dresden, the RSO Vienna and the Hamburg Philharmonic. Her piano concerto Ich und Du, which premiered at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2008 with the SWR Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Boulez, later expanded into Non-Places, a piano concerto. For the 2013 Happy New Ears Prize award ceremony the work was premiered by Isabel Mundry with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Emilio Pomarico and subsequently awarded the German Music Authors' Prize by GEMA.
Among the world premieres of recent years are works of various genres with diverse sources of inspiration: in Vogelperspektiven for ensemble (world premiere 2016, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks), inspired by poems by Thomas Kling, Isabel Mundry gives life to the changing perspectives of the human and animal worlds. Zu Fall, premiered by Tonhalle Orchester Zürich 2016, investigates the relationship between activity and passivity and features onstage as a shadow play a chaotically oscillating pendulum, which conducts the conductor as it pendulates.
In Sounds, Archeologies, premiered in 2018 by Trio Catch as part of the Berlin Ultrasound Festival, she questions the proximity and distance of historical objects and cultural identities. And in the a-cappella choral piece Mouhanad, based on an interview with a Syrian refugee and premiered in Donaueschingen by the SWR Vocal Ensemble in 2018, cultural resonances and new acoustic neighborhoods are examined.
Summer 2019 finds Isabel Mundry in residence as a fellow of the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria. Several major world premieres are currently in the works: a composition for percussion and ensemble will be featured in February 2020 both at the closing concert of the Présences Festival with the Ensemble intercontemporain and in Cologne with the Ensemble Musikfabrik. For the closing concert of the 2019/20 season, the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin commissioned Isabel Mundry to compose a work for the Boulez Ensemble. And a new Viola Concerto for Nils Mönkemeyer will be premiered in summer 2020 with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Wendeberg at the Suntory Festival.
Isabel Mundry's numerous awards and honors include the Kranichstein Music Prize in 1996, a 2001 Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation Award and the 2011 Heidelberg Artists' Prize. In 2007/08 she was the Staatskapelle Dresden’s first composer-in-residence. Isabel Mundry is a member of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin and Munich as well as the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. Since 1998 she has often been a lecturer at the Darmstadt Summer Courses. After holding a professorship at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts from 1996, she has been a professor of composition at the Zurich University of the Arts since 2004 and, since 2011, a professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich.
This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorised by the artist management.
A list of all works by Isabel Mundry can be found on the Breitkopf & Härtel website.
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