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Beat Furrer

Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts  

continues its 2016-17 Composer Portraits series with Austria's 

Beat Furrer


Richard Carrick
, conductor

Includes an onstage discussion with Beat Furrer and Richard Carrick

Thursday, February 2, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street)

Tickets: $20-$30 • Students with valid ID: $7-$15 

From Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey: 

“Ihave been a fan of Beat Furrer’s music for many years, and I’m thrilled to feature him on Miller’s Composer Portraits series. A highlight will be the U.S. premiere of intorno al bianco, his new chamber work for clarinet and string quartet. The ensemble Either/Or are longtime Miller collaborators, and ideal interpreters of these intimate works."


Composer Portraits
Thursday, February 2, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

Beat Furrer

Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street)

Swiss-Austrian composer Beat Furrer is a master of form and texture. His 40-year career spans forays into opera, chamber works, music theater, orchestral pieces, and everything in between. This program focuses on more intimate chamber works from the last two decades, including a U.S. premiere. Richard Carrick conducts Either/Or in Furrer’s nuanced explorations of percussion, bass flute, piano, strings, and more. Carrick will also lead an on-stage discussion with Furrer.

intorno al bianco (2016) for clarinet and string quintet — U.S. premiere
linea dell’orizzonte (2012) for ensemble
Ira – Arca (2012) for bass flute and double bass
spur (1998) for piano and string quartet

Beat Furrer, composer
Richard Carrick, conductor


Beat Furrer, composer

Beat Furrer was born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, in 1954 and received his first musical training on piano at the music school there. After moving to Vienna in 1975, he studied conducting with Otmar Suitner and composition with Roman Haubenstock Ramati at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst. In 1985, he founded the Klangforum Wien, which he directed until 1992, and with which he is still associated as conductor. His first opera, Die Blinden, was commissioned by the Vienna State Opera. His second opera, Narcissus, was premiered in 1994 as part of the Styrian Autumn Festival at the Graz Opera. In 1996, he was composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival. His music theatre work Begehren was premiered in Graz in 2001, the opera invocation in Zürich in 2003, and the sound theatre piece FAMA in Donaueschingen in 2005. In autumn 1991, Furrer became a full professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Graz. He has been guest professor in composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt 2006–2009. Together with violinist Ernst Kovacic he founded “impuls”, an International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music. In 2004, he was awarded the Music Prize of the City of Vienna, and in 2005 became a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. He was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2006 for his work FAMA. In 2010, his music theatre work Wüstenbuch was premiered in Basel. In 2014, he was awarded the Great Austrian State Prize. His latest opera, La Bianca Notte, based on texts by Dino Campana, was premiered in Hamburg in spring 2015. He is currently working on his new opera Violetter Schnee (Violet Snow) based on a libretto by Vladimir Sorokin. Since the 1980s Beat Furrer has composed a wide range of works, from solo and ensemble music to orchestral and choral works and opera. He is well known for his nuanced exploration of the human voice and its relationship to instrumental sound.


Either/Or has been at the forefront of New York’s contemporary music scene since 2004, presenting new and recent works for unconventional ensembles rarely heard elsewhere. Co-directors Richard Carrick and David Shively curate its programming, drawing on the Either/Or roster of 17 regular musicians alongside special guests. Performances throughout the Northeast include Philadelphia Museum of Art, ICA Boston, The Kitchen, and Miller Theatre, as well as a recent Swedish tour and frequent appearances at experimental music venues such as The Stone, Roulette, and Issue Project Room. 

The Either/Or programming explores equally the products of an American Experimental tradition (as traceable via artists such as Cage, Feldman, Lucier, Ashley) and of a European avant-garde, with a special emphasis on composers working outside the institutional mainstream. Either/Or has presented the first U.S. portrait concerts for composers such as Chaya Czernowin, Horatiu Radulescu, Karin Rehnqvist, Rebecca Saunders, Hans Thomalla, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir, bringing most of these composers to New York City for public lectures and teaching engagements. 

Either/Or has premiered more than 50 new works in past seasons, not including dozens of student compositions. Artists commissioned by Either/Or include Anthony Coleman, George Lewis, Keeril Makan, Miya Masaoka, Zeena Parkins, and Elliott Sharp. Either/Or has released CD recordings of composers Keeril Makan (Starkland, 2011), Richard Carrick (New World, 2011, 2015), Karin Rehnqvist (Sterling, 2013), and Anthony Coleman (New World, 2014) with further titles in preparation from Carrick, Makan, Elliott Sharp, and Morton Feldman.

Richard Carrickconductor

Richard Carrick is a composer, conductor, pianist, and co-founder/director of the New York new music ensemble Either/Or. As a conductor and pianist, Carrick has specialized in innovative contemporary music, with performances on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, at the Ijsbrekr-Amsterdam, Merkin Concert Hall, The Kitchen, Miller Theatre at Columbia University, and as soloist in Tokyo, Stockholm, Banff, Amsterdam, and throughout the US. The New York Times describes his performances as "hallucinatory" and "first-rate," and his own compositions as “charming, with exoticism and sheer infectiousness.” Recently he conducted premieres by George Lewis, Jonny Greenwood, Chaya Czernowin, Karin Rehnqvist, Rebecca Saunders, Elliott Sharp, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, among others. Carrick was named Chair of the Composition Department at Berklee College of Music in September 2016, after living a year in Kigali, Rwanda, composing and developing teaching programs through a Guggenheim Fellowship for musical composition.


Upcoming concerts in Miller Theatre’s Composer Portraits series
Single tickets: $20-$40

Misato Mochizuki
Thursday, March 2, 8:00 p.m.

Johannes Maria Staud
Saturday, April 8, 8:00 p.m.

Klas Torstensson
Thursday, April 27, 8:00 p.m.

Major support for Composer Portraits is provided by the 
National Endowment for the Arts and the
Frances Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts

With the friendly support of
Ernst von Siemens Foundation

Miller Theatre’s 2016-17 season is supported by an award from the New York State Council on the Arts
with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature

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