Mark André

French composer, born Sunday May 10, 1964

Photo Elsa Seignol © Royaumont
In concert
L'Heure est au grave 2 - 04.02 4:30pm
Played works
Author website

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. His chamber works, delicate and concentrated, have been described by the Hamburger Abendblatt as “acoustic houses of cards that no wind can blow down”. In his orchestral works the practicing Protestant also shows himself to be a sensitive explorer of sound, guided by the spiritual dimension of the creative process.

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 at the Academy of Music 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). In 1998 he received his first invitation to teach at the Darmstadt Summer Courses. In 2002 he received the Advancement Award from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

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 and whose final section was premiered in Donaueschingen, received the prize from the SWR Symphony Orchestra

of Baden-Baden and Freiburg, and similarly refers to a religious theme. Here Mark Andre explored the aspects of transition present and latent in the resurrection of Christ. Andre, who now resides in Berlin, has a soft spot for German prepositions, the grammatical elements with the function of transition, as illustrated in numerous other work titles such as those of the four chamber music works written between 2001 and 2005: …durch…, …zu…, …in…, and …als….

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. The concerto for clarinet and orchestra über, written for Jörg Widmann and the SWR Symphony Orchestra, was highly praised by audiences at the Donaueschinger Musiktage and won the Orchestra Prize. His concerto for violin and orchestra an, which was written for Carolin Widmann, met with much admiration at the festival ACHT Brücken.

In spring 2017 the Ensemble intercontemporain will complete Mark Andre’s trilogy of works for ensemble with the world premiere of Riss I. The first part was premiered very successfully in 2014 by the Ensemble Modern at the Musikfest Frankfurt followed by the second part interpreted by the Ensemble Musikfabrik Cologne. In July a new orchestral piece and a new string quartet for the Arditti Quartet will also be premiered during Bavarian Radio’s musica viva series.

Mark Andre is a member of the Berlin Academy of the Arts and Saxon Academy of the Arts, and was honoured with the order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2011. He teaches composition at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg and at the Academy of Music in Dresden.