Johannes Maria Staud was born in Innsbruck, Tyrol, on 17 August 1974. However, nothing would be further from the truth than to call him a ‘Tyrolian composer’. In no way is he a provincial figure – in fact, ever since he joined Universal Edition in 2000, at the age of 26, he has become one of the most successful composers of his generation, with prestigious commissions from some of the greatest orchestras and festivals in the world.
Staud and his publisher have every reason to be proud that Sir Simon Rattle has asked him for a composition for the Berlin Philharmonic (Aperion, 2004/2005), that the Salzburg Festival commissioned a cello concerto from him to be premiered as part of celebrating the 250th anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birth in 2006 (Segue, 2006). Heinrich Schiff was the soloist, Daniel Barenboim conducted the Vienna Philharmonic. The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst gave the first performance of On Comparative Meteorology (2009) and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra have received the score they have commissioned for string quartet and orchestra (On Deceptive City Maps and the Temptations of Winter Nights. Dichotomie II). Riccardo Chailly premièred it with the Gewandhaus String Quartet.
Staud has shaken off early enough the supposed expectations of the music world for a young composer to write in an ‘avant-garde’ style. Neither does he look back at his predecessors to produce pieces easy on the ear, to please conservative audiences. He has found an idiom all his own marked by meticulous work on the large form as well as on the tiniest details (his beautifully written scores are a faithful mirror of this); he takes a long time over each new composition and is its most critical listener at the premiere. His acute self-criticism has led to some revised versions, such as Segue or One Movement and Five Miniatures for harpsichord, ensemble and electronics.