Powerful and meticulously crafted compositions, tailor-made for the performers and often including scenic elements and spatial sound concepts, are characteristic of Vito uraj’s work. Born in Maribor in 1979, his works have quickly gained recognition at major concert halls and festivals, interpreted among others by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern and the RIAS Kammerchor.
Vito uraj has been honoured with several prizes, including the city of Stuttgart’s composition award and the Prešeren Award, the highest decoration for artists in Slovenia. In 2014 he was invited to be a fellow at the Villa Massimo in Rome, the Berlin Academy of Arts and the ZKM Karlsruhe. Vito uraj was awarded the Claudio Abbado Composition Prize in spring 2016 by the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Orchestra Academy. The prize includes a commission for a work for soprano, piano and instrumental groups, that will be premiered in November 2017.
Vito uraj studied composition with Marko Mihevc in Ljubljana and continued his studies with Lothar Voigtländer in Dresden and Wolfgang Rihm in Karlsruhe. His experience with the technology and aesthetics of electronic sound generation – gained during a master's programme in music technology with Thomas A. Troge and at the ZKM Karlsruhe, and consolidated through co-operations with the Experimentalstudio des SWR and IRCAM – does not only serve him for his own compositional work: as a professor of composition at the Music Academy in Ljubljana since 2015, he initiated the setting up of an electronic music studio, parallel to his lectureship in Karlsruhe.
His participation in the International Ensemble Modern Academy in 2009/10 was the starting point for his close collaboration with the soloist ensemble. The Ensemble Modern has since premiered works such as Übürall (2013, with soprano Hélène Fauchère and conducted by Brad Lubman) and Runaround for four soloists and instrumental groups (2014). An avid tennis player himself, Vito uraj often draws musical inspiration from this sport. He uses his insight into certain game situations as a basis for a constantly growing series of works, which includes Changeover for instrumental groups and symphony orchestra, premiered by the Ensemble Modern and the hr-Sinfonieorchester under Johannes Kalitzke in 2011.
Numerous other ensembles and orchestras also regularly perform works by Vito uraj. The Klangforum Wien took his composition Fired-up, written in 2013, on tour to festivals and venues including the Festival MiTo in Milan, ORF Musikprotokoll, festival Manifeste at the IRCAM in Paris and the Wiener Konzerthaus. The Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik presented the premiere of Aftertouch with the oenm under the baton of Jonannes Kalitzke in 2015. His semi-staged composition Insideout was premiered by the Scharoun Ensemble directed by Matthias Pintscher with Mojca Erdmann and Dietrich Henschel at the Salzburg Festival in 2013 and was performed again by the New York Philharmonic in 2014. His opera Orlando. The Castle, produced in co-operation with the Deutsche Bank Foundation’s Academy Musiktheater heute, was premiered in Bielefeld in 2013.
Recordings of Vito uraj’s works have been published on the label Neos, among others. A portrait CD was recently released by Wergo as part of the contemporary music edition of the German Music Council. It includes recordings with the Ensemble Modern and the hr-Sinfonieorchester, as well as the horn concerto Hawk-eye, interpreted by Saar Berger and the Slovenian Philharmonic. Last summer, the horn player performed the work again with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin under Simone Young.
Highlights of last season included the performance of his works Insideout and Contour with the Ensemble intercontemporain at the Philharmonie de Paris as well as premieres at the Movimentos Festival in Wolfsburg and the Festival Archipel in Geneva. I-formation, a work for two orchestras commissioned by KölnMusik and written for the 30th anniversary of the Cologne Philharmonie, was premiered in September 2016 by the WDR Symphony Orchestra and the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln.
Following the premiere of Do-over in March 2017, commissioned by the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, the Ensemble Modern will give a portrait concert in the new Hamburg Elbphilharmonie in April. This season, Vito uraj is in residence at the Philharmonic Orchestra of Theater Erfurt, during which he will compose a new work for two percussionists and orchestra, which will be performed in early 2018 as part of the "Erfurts Neue Noten" project.
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Professor for composition and theory of music at the Academy of Music Ljubljana, Slovenia
Lectureship for instrumentation and acoustics, orchestration for composers, notation in contemporary music and Gregorian chant at the Karlsruhe University of Music
Composition study at the International Ensemble Modern Academy in Frankfurt am Main
Master of Arts in Music Technology with Dr. Thomas A. Troge at the Karlsruhe University of Music
Postgraduate study of composition with Wolfgang Rihm at the Karlsruhe University of Music
Postgraduate study of composition with Lothar Voigtländer at the Dresden University of Music "Carl Maria von Weber"
ERASMUS Exchange - Composition study with Jörg Herchet at the Dresden University of Music "Carl Maria von Weber"
Degree program in Composition and Music theory with Marko Mihevc at the Ljubljana Academy of Music, Slovenia
Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, Germany
IRCAM Overview Training Program Paris, France
Voix Nouvelles Royaumont, France
5. International Composition Seminar of Ensemble Modern, Germany
Acanthes Metz, France
Matrix Freiburg (ExperimentalStudio des SWR), Germany
Bartók Seminar 2005 with Johannes Schöllhorn, Szombathely, Hungary
Workshop at the Music Academy Rheinsberg, Germany
Composition course Ticino Musica with Michael Jarrell, Lugano, Switzerland
Prizes and grants
Claudio Abbado Composition Prize by the Berlin Philharmonics
One-month-fellowship at the Casa Orfeo by the Wilhelm Kempff Kulturstiftung in Positano, Italy
One-year-fellowship at the German Academy Rome Villa Massimo, Italy
Fellowship at the Academy of Arts Berlin and ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany
1st Prize at the 57th City of Stuttgart Composition Competition
Recommended work at the International Rostrum of Composers 2012 Stockholm
Fellow at the Academy Opera Today by the Deutsche Bank Stiftung
EMAS-Fellowship by the GEMA
Fellowship at the Experimentalstudio des SWR Freiburg
Recognition prize by the Art Mentor Foundation Luzern, Switzerland
1st Prize VERS.1.5 "Electronic music in the church setting" by the Stiftskirche Stuttgart
Composition prize by the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken
Fellowship by the Hanne Darboven Stiftung Hamburg
1st Prize VERS.1.4 "Electronic music in the church setting" by the Stiftskirche Stuttgart
Fellowship by the ZKM Karlsruhe and IEMA Frankfurt
1st Prize VERS.1.3 "Electronic music in the church setting" by the Stiftskirche Stuttgart
3rd Prize at the Composition competition „Düsseldorfer Orgelbuch“
Wolfgang-Rihm-Fellowship by the Privatbrauerei Hoepfner
Fellowship by the Slovenian Ministry of culture
Karl-Steinbuch-Fellowship by the MFG Stiftung Stuttgart
Prize "Prešernova nagrada" by the Ljubljana Academy of Music, Slovenia
Prize "Prešernova nagrada" by the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
New York Philharmonic, RSO SWR Stuttgart, hr-Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Orchestre National de Loraine, Slovenian Philharmonic, Slovenian Radio Orchestra; Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Scharoun Ensemble, oenm, Ensemble Recherche, Sinfonietta Leipzig, Talea Ensemble; RIAS Kammerchor; IRCAM Paris, Experimentalstudio des SWR Freiburg, ZKM Karlsruhe, Academy of Arts Berlin; conductors Matthias Pintscher, Johannes Kalitzke, Emilio Pomàrico, Brad Lubman, James Wood, Kasper de Roo
Presence at festivals and venues
Salzburger Festspiele, New York Phil Biennial, Manifeste Paris, Acanthes Metz, Voix Nouvelles Royaumont, Gaudeamus Muziekweek Utrecht, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Ultraschall Berlin, Tenso Days Berlin, Eclat Stuttgart, SWR Attacca Stuttgart, Frankfurter Positionen, cresc...Biennial Frankfurt, Heidelberger Frühling, MiTo Milano, Milano Musica, Time of Music Viitasaari, Takefu Japan, Davos Festival; Konzerthaus Berlin, Berliner Philharmonie, Kölner Philharmonie, Philharmonie Essen, Semperoper Dresden, Opera Frankfurt, Theater Bielefeld, Cankarjev dom Ljubljana
Radio and television broadcasts
BBC3, SWR2, SWR3, DeutschlandRadio Kultur, Deutschlandfunk, Hessischer Rundfunk, Saarländischer Rundfunk, ORF2, Slovenian RTV
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