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Brass, Nikolaus

*25 Oct 1949 Lindau / Bodensee

First published compositions while still at school in Lindau (Kahnt-Verlag). After matriculation in 1968, studied medicine in Munich; simultaneously, private composition studies with Peter Kiesewetter at the Musikhochschule in Munich. After a scholarship in Scotland, continued medical studies and civil-service examination at the Free University, Berlin. Here again, accompanying composition studies with Frank Michael Beyer at the Hochschule für Musik, and later private studies with Helmut Lachenmann in Hannover. Several years of clinical activity as a doctor. Since 1982, edits a medical journal.

Between 1980 and 1986 repeatedly a student at the Darmstadt Summer Courses, including decisive meetings with Morton Feldman. 1981 invited to the Gaudeamus Festival in Holland for the vocal composition “Traumrede”; in the same year, composition prize of the Jürgen Ponto Foundation for the string trio “Morgenlob”, and performance of the composition “Passatempi” for 2 pianos at WDR Cologne’s “Musik der Zeit”. 1982 invited to the Composers’ Seminar in Boswil, for the ensemble composition “Nachtmusik”. Subsequently performances at Cantiere d’arte in Montepulciano (1986), the Donaueschingen festival (1988) with the orchestral composition “Landschaft der Vergangenheit”, Musikprotokoll Graz (1991), musica viva Munich (1997), Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (2000), and eclat – Festival für neue Musik Stuttgart (2001) with the orchestral composition “similar sounds”.

In 2003 the composition “structures of echo – lindauer beweinung” for 32 voices and orchestra was premiered by the SWR Symphony Orchestra and the SWR Vokalensemble of Stuttgart, conducted by Rupert Huber. In 2006 his “VOID II” for three soloists and orchestra was premiered during Ultraschall festival in Berlin.

In 2007 Alexander Liebreich conducted the world premiere of “Von wachsender Gegenwart” [“Of Growing Presence”] for string orchestra in Munich, a work commissioned by Münchener Kammerorchester. In december 2007 Brass’ new orchestral work “l’inferno”, a “landscape” for orchestra will be premiered by Hans Zender, conducting the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.

For several years Brass has been working on his music theater project “Die Abdankung” [“The abdication”]. Several features on Brass’ music and by Brass himself have been broadcast by German radio stations. Recently three portrait CDs with chamber and orchestral music have been released on the labels col legno and NEOS.

In 2009 Brass was awarded the Music Prize of the Regional Capital Munich for his compositional output.