Bernhard Lang

Bernhard Lang was born on 24 February 1957 in Linz, where he began his musical studies at the Bruckner Conservatory. From 1975 he studied in Graz: composition, piano, jazz theory and harmony at the University of Music and Performing Arts; philosophy and German philology at the Karl-Franzens-University. Early in his career he became involved with electronic music and computer technology. At Graz’s Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics, he developed the software CADMUS in C++ for computer-based composition. As one of the most renowned contemporary composers of his generation, Lang has written numerous scores in a lot of genres – ranging from varied large-scale chamber, ensemble, choral and orchestral works to digital, electronic and computer-generated compositions, remixes, sound installations, jazz, rock, punk, and techno as well as film music, radio plays, stage music, dance and music-theatre pieces.

Lang first achieved prominence through his examination of the phenomenon of repetition. His cycle “Differenz/Wiederholung”, now numbering 39 works, is based on the philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s magnum opus, which Lang illuminates musically with such DJ techniques as loops and scratching. He also examines socio-cultural and socio-critical issues (“Das Theater der Wiederholungen”, 2003) as well as problems inherent in music-making and musical culture (“I hate Mozart”, 2006). Another focus of his activities is the “recycling” of earlier works from music history, which in Lang’s cycle of “Monadologies” (49 individual titles) undergo filtering and mutation by means of computer-generated procedures. Along with “classical” European instruments, he employs their amplified and electrified versions (e.g. electric viola) as well as clashing microtonally tuned ensembles. Lang deploys analogue and digital synthesizer, keyboards and rock instruments (electric guitar, electric bass, drum set) as well as gramophones (as pioneering devices of the culture of sound reproduction), rap, vocals, spoken text and live electronics (primarily using his own programmed “loop generators”). Music theatre is a particular passion of Lang, whose oeuvre in those genres currently comprises 16 works, including the operas “MONDPARSIFAL BETA 9-23 (VON EINEM, DER AUSZOG DEN "WAGNERIANERN DES GRAUENS" DAS "GEILSTGRUSELN" ZU ERZLEHREN...)” based on Richard Wagner’s “Parsifal” and directed by Jonathan Meese in 2017 as well as “Re:igen” based on Arthur Schnitzler’s eponymous drama. The composer enjoys close collaborations with Ensemble Intercontemporain, ensemble recherche, Klangforum Wien, Musikfabrik Köln and ensemble mosaik, among others.

Lang’s awards and honours include the Music Prize of the City of Vienna in 2008, the Outstanding Artist Award in the category of music (composition) from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Art and Culture in 2014, and the Austrian Art Prize for Music in 2019. From 2003 to 2022, he was Professor of Composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, and in 2013/2014 Lang held a guest lectureship in composition at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. His engagements as composer-in-residence include the Theater Basel (2007/2008) and the Staatskapelle Dresden (“Capell-Compositeur”, 2008/2009).

In 2023 the Stadttheater Klagenfurt will realize the world premiere of Lang’s opera “Hiob”. The world premiere of his Cheap Opera #3 “May” was given at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2022.

As of January 2023

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