Oscar Bianchi

Friday, February 21st, 2014 - 4:35 am

Photo Credit: Agathe Poupeney

Photo Credit: Agathe Poupeney

Born in Milan, holding dual Italian-Swiss citizenships, Oscar Bianchi completed degrees in composition, choir conducting and electronic music at the Giuseppe Verdi conservatory of Milan. He pursued studies in composition taking part in master programs such as at IRCAM – Centre Pompidou and with a doctoral degree at Columbia University in New York.

Vitality, pulsing rhythms, and virtuosity are the hallmarks of the music created by Bianchi, who reveals a sensible interest in new phrasings and new ornamentations, something to be expected from someone whose ears are finely attuned to the music from all corners of the globe. A vocal quality, even in his instrumental work, can strike us as a prominent feature of his music. Exuberant and intelligent, this vocal dimension plays with a refined art of accentuations in all its intermediate degrees. We know him now increasingly interested in cantata and opera: at its core, Bianchi’s music continues to be guided by the challenge of dramaturgical and formal issues. The unexpected contrasts between voluble virtuosity and contemplative stasis are the driving force of his flair for dramatic gesture. His music is joyfully violent in breath and in song but may suddenly come to rest in prayer, via a specific harmony, as though struck by the noonday light.

Commissioned by the Aix-en-Provence Festival and Théâtre & Musique, his first opera, Thanks to My Eyes, libretto and direction by Joël Pommerat, received critical acclaim by audiences and critics alike (A masterly portrait of Melancholy, Le Monde, July 7, 2011). His music has been performed by outstanding ensembles and orchestras such as Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Deutsche Symphonie Orchester, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, JACK quartet, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Ictus, Quatuor Diotima, Ensemble Remix, Nieuw Ensemble, Ensemble l’Itineraire, Ensemble Contrechamps, International Contemporary Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, David Grimal, Kammerensemble für neue Musik Berlin, Phoenix Ensemble, Collegium Novum Zürich, Drumming Grupo de Percussão from Porto, Ensemble Laboratorium, Osterreichiches Ensemble für neue Musik, Sound’arte.

Upcoming projects include new works for the Gewandhaus in Leipzig and Maestro Riccardo Chailly, The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Hebbel am Ufer and Neuevocalsolisten Stuttgart. A monographic CD will be released in 2013 while an extraordinary recording of his cantata MATRA has been just released under the label Cypres.

The works of Oscar Bianchi have been performed throughout Europe and the Americas in prestigious venues such as Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center); Merkin Hall, New York; Luzern Festival; Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam; Venice Biennale; Musica Festival in Strasbourg; Warsaw Autumn Festival; Ultrashall, Berlin; Eclat, Stuttgart; Gasteig, Munich; Ars Musica, Bozar, Brussels; Archipel, Geneva; Tages für Neue Musik, Zürich; IRCAM Centre-Pompidou, Paris; Abbaye du Royaumont; DRS; RSR; RSI; RAI; France Culture; RFI; TFI; France Inter; RTBF; ORT; SWR; Deutschland Kultur, RBB, the Tchaikowsky Conservatory, Moscow; the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; Kulturhuset, Stockholm; Sonora Festival, Cologne; OggiMusica, Lugano; Musica è Realtà, Milan; Nuove sincronie, Milan; Milan Conservatory; Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Nuova Consonanza, Rome; CEMAT, Rome.

Oscar Bianchi was a guest of the DAAD Kunstlerprogramm Berlin, Pro-Helvetia in Warsaw and Johannesburg and the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. He has been awarded numerous prizes, such as the Gaudeamus first Prize, the Dussurget Prize, the Asm-Stv Prize, the Aargauer Kuratorium fellowship and the Ictus fellowship.

-Jean-Luc Plouvier