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Cerha, Friedrich

Deux éclats en réflexion • [1956]
for violin and piano
Vl. Klav.
World Premiere: 25.3.1957, Vienna
Duration: 7’
MOD 1129 // *Partitur

Fantasien nach Cardew’s Herbst 60 • [1962-63]
for seven instrumentalists
Kl. Bkl. Tsax. Klav. Vl. Vla. Vc.
World Premiere: 1963, Vienna
Duration: 10’
MOD 1432 // Partitur / Sti.
Formation et solution • [1956-57]
for violin and piano
Vl. Klav.
World Premiere: 12.9.1958, Darmstadt
Duration: 9’
MOD 1130 // *Partitur

Klavierstück 58 • [1958]
World Premiere: 1959, Vienna
Duration: 10’
MOD 1137 // Partitur
Phantasma 63 • [1963]
for chamber ensemble
2 (Picc). 0. 3. 0. / 4 Schlzg. Hammondorg (3 Sp). / 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.
World Premiere: 25.5.1963, Vienna
Duration: 11’
MOD 1161 // Partitur / Sti.

Relazioni fragili • [1956-57]
For cembalo and small orchestra, soprano and mezzo-soprano
S. Ms. Cem.
1. 0. 0. Bkl. 0. / 0. 1. 0. 0. / 9 Schlzg. Hf. Cel. / 1. 0. 1. 1. 0.
World Premiere: 16.5.1960, Vienna
Duration: 24’
MOD 0932 // Partitur / Sti.

Sechs kleine Klavierstücke • [1948/56]
World Premiere: 22.4.1959, Vienna
Duration: 7’
MOD 1139 // Partitur
Sieben Rubaijat des Omar Khajjam • [1957]
All unser Leben und Streben, was taugt’s
for high voice and piano
Text: Omar Khajjam
S (od. T). Klav.
World Premiere: 26.4.1957, Vienna
Duration: 8’
MOD 0996 // Partitur

Sinfonia in un movimento • [1947-50]
for large orchestra
4 (2 Picc). 3. Eh. 3. Bkl. 3. Kfg. / 4. 4. 3. 1. / 8 Schlzg. Klav. / Str.
World Premiere: 3.6.1959, Innsbruck
Duration: 17’
MOD 1004 // Partitur / Sti.

Zehn Rubaijat des Omar Khajjam • [1949/55]
All unser Leben und Streben, was taugt’s
for mixed choir
Text: Omar Khajjam
World Premiere: 7.12.1956, Vienna
Duration: 11’
MOD 0995 // Chor-P.

*17.02.1926 Vienna
Friedrich Cerha was born on February 17 in Vienna. At the age of seven he took violin lessons with Anton Pejhkovsky; this was followed by first attempts at composition. From 1936 he attended the Realgymnasium [Royal High School] in Vienna. In 1943, at the age of 17, he was called up for the National Socialist army, but soon opted for resistance, deserted twice, and survived to the war’s end in the Tyrol Mountains.

Back in Vienna, he studied violin, composition and music education at the Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst, and German studies, musicology and philosophy at the University of Vienna. In 1950 he gained a PhD with a thesis on Turandot materials in German literature.

Initially Cerha was active as a concert violinist and music teacher, but at the same time he established contact with the avant-garde scene of young painters and writers at the Art Club, as well as the Schönberg circle within the Austrian Section of the ISCM. From 1956-1958 he attended the Darmstadt Summer Courses. In 1958, along with Kurt Schwertsik, he formed the Viennese soloist ensemble ‘die reihe’, directing it for many decades, and offering a forum for contemporary music in Vienna. In 1978 at the Wiener Konzerthaus, along with Hans Landesmann, he founded the series “Wege in unsere Zeit” [‘Paths into Our Times’], likewise devoted to contemporary music, which he directed up to 1983. From 1994 he had close ties as an interpreter to Klangforum Wien; he was its president up to 1999.

As early as 1959, Friedrich Cerha combined his activities as a composer with teaching at the Hochschule für Musik; in 1976 he was appointed professor, and taught the class on the composition, notation and interpretation of contemporary music up to 1988.

From 1961 Cerha became increasingly prominent as a composer. He worked regularly with front-line ensembles and orchestras, and had noted successes with leading international institutions involved in cultivating contemporary music (Salzburg Festival, Berliner Festwochen, Wiener Festwochen, Venice Biennale, Warsaw Autumn, Festival d’Automne Paris, Jyväskylä-Festival, Musica Viva Munich, Nutida Musik in Stockholm, das Neue Werk in Hamburg, Musik der Zeit in Cologne etc.).

One cannot overlook Cerha’s production of a performable version of the 3rd Act of Alban Berg’s opera “Lulu” (premiered 1979 in Paris), through which he finally gave the musical world complete access to a seminal work of the 20th century.

In 1992 Friedrich Cerha was named member of the European Academy of the Sciences, and in 1995 Honorary Member of the International Society for Contemporary Music. He has received numerous prizes and honours, of which just a few are mentioned here: in 2005 he was awarded the Austrian Prize for Science and Art, and in 2006 he was awarded the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for his lifetime’s work. In 2007 he was named Honorary Member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, and in 2011 he was honoured with the Salzburg International Composition Prize.

On June 22 2012, in Munich, he will be awarded the 2012 Siemens-Musikpreis.