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Samir Odeh-Tamimi has developed a distinctive musical language, which draws upon his intense involvement with both western avant-garde music and Arabic musical performance practice. Born in Jaljulia near Tel-Aviv and inspired by both European classical music and the aesthetics of New Music, the composer came to Germany at the age of 22 to study musicology and composition. While engaging with compositional role models such as Giacinto Scelsi and Iannis Xenakis, he also found himself coming to terms with the musical culture of his home country.
Samir Odeh-Tamimi’s works are regularly performed at renowned festivals and concert halls throughout Europe, and he has received commissions from Deutschlandfunk, Saarländischer Rundfunk, Donaueschinger Musiktagen, the European Center for the Arts Hellerau, WDR and Bayerischer Rundfunk / musica viva. In 2010, his music theatre piece Leila und Madschnun had its world premiere at the Ruhrtriennale in Bochum. As part of the project into Istanbul, initiated by the Ensemble Modern and the Siemens Arts Program in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, he composed a piece for Ensemble Modern in 2008 inspired by his stay in the Turkish metropolis. In recent years, Samir Odeh-Tamimi has also worked in close collaboration with the Boulanger Trio and the Neue Vocalsolisten Sttugart. The singers have since travelled to the composer’s birthplace, his parents’ home near Tel Aviv, to discover his musical roots in preparation for a new work to be premiered at Stuttgart’s Eclat Festival.
His oratorio Hinter der Mauer (Behind the Wall) was commissioned by the RIAS Kammerchor to mark the 20th anniversary of German reunification. Following its world premiere in Berlin it was then performed in Jerusalem and Dresden. SWR’s anniversary concert on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation saw the world premiere of Gidim, a work for orchestra and electronics that deals with Sumerian death rituals. In October 2018, the Stuttgart Kammerorchester premiered the viola concerto Šamaš, which takes its name from the Babylonian mythological sun god. In 2016, the Klarafestival in Brussels commissioned a new work as part of Pierre Audi’s staged version of Bach's St. John Passion. The intermezzo L'Apocalypse Arabe I, performed in between the two parts of the passion, is based on texts by the Lebanese poet Etel Adnan and was also performed in 2017 at the Muziekgebouw Amsterdam and in 2018 at Opera Rouen. Samir Odeh-Tamimi is currently developing the piece into a full-length music theatre work, which will have its world premiere in 2021 at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.
Inspired by the tragedy of Sophocles as well as the writings of André Gide and Heiner Müller, the music theatre piece Philoktet is being developed for the Neue Vocalsolisten and the Zafraan Ensemble. Summer 2019 found Samir Odeh-Tamimi in residence at the Kulturaka demie Tarabya in Istanbul. He kicks of the 2019/20 season with the world premiere of TIMNA, a work commissioned by the SWR for choir, percussion, flute, viola, violoncello and double bass, to be debuted at the ECLAT Festival. This is followed by a collaborative music theatre project to be presented in May 2020 at the Munich Biennale. In April 2020, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra will reprise his 2008 work Rituale, which was also performed last season by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin at the Ultraschall Berlin Festival.
In cooperation with the RBB and Kairos, the Berlin-based Zafraan Ensemble recently released a highly praised portrait CD of chamber music works by the composer. Further recordings of his works have been produced by WERGO, among others. Samir Odeh-Tamimi has been a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin since 2016 and in that same year was awarded a German Music Author’s Prize by GEMA.
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