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Hèctor Parra wins an Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation Composers’ Prize

Posted by Cristina Martí on February 14, 2011  |  1 Comment

El compositor Hèctor ParraThe Barcelona composer Hèctor Parra has won one of the coveted three prizes for the promotion of new music awarded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. He is the first Catalan to do so. The award is worth 40,000 euros and includes a commission for a work. The prize-giving act will take place on 24 May 2011 during a musical celebration at the Theatre Cuvilliés in Munich and his piece will be premiered by the Ensemble Recherche. The board of trustees of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, which includes the composers Wolfgang Rihm and Helmut Lachenmann among others, considers Parra to be one of the most promising young composers: “What transpires in the music of Hector Parra is exactly what generally tends to define art: it allows us to indulge ourselves in the voluptuousness of the passing of present time.”

In addition to Hector Parra, the British composer Steven Daverson and the German Hans Thomalla, based in the USA, received promotional prizes for young composers, while the Ernst von Siemens International Music Award, worth 200,000 euros, went to the great German composer Aribert Reimann in recognition of his complete works. The Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation distributes a total of 2.5 million euros. In 2011, it will support over one hundred contemporary music projects in twenty countries.

Hèctor Parra

Born in Barcelona in 1976, Hèctor Parra studied at the Barcelona Conservatory, where he was awarded Prizes with Distinction in Composition, Piano and Harmony. He studied piano with Mª Jesús Crespo, and composition with David Padrós, Brian Ferneyhough and Jonathan Harvey, as well as with Michael Jarrell at the Haute École de Musique in Geneva. He was an active participant in the composition workshops at Royaumont and the Centre Acanthes (France), Takefu (Japan), Impuls Graz (Austria), and he completed the International Course in Musical Composition and Computing at the IRCAM in 2002-2003. In 2004-2005 he was invited to take up a postgraduate residency at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique et Danse in Lyon. In 2005 he obtained a Masters in Art Aesthetics with first-class honours from the University of Paris VIII, under the tuition of Horacio Vaggione.

Despite his youth, he has a long record of composition and has received numerous awards and commissions. He currently holds the Chair of Electroacoustic Composition at the Aragon Conservatory of Music in Spain and in 2010 took up the post of lecturer in analysis and composition with the Manuel de Falla chair at the Cádiz Conservatory., He has also worked recently in close collaboration with the eminent Harvard theoretical physicist Lisa Randall in the opera “Hypermusic Prologue” and written the music for the film Equinoxe, directed by Laurent Carcélès, whose soundtrack has been recorded by the Ensemble intercontemporain.


His music is published by Editorial Tritó and, since 2010, by Universal Music Publishing (Durand, Paris) in addition. A CD with his trios and chamber music pieces performed by the Ensemble Recherche is available on the KAIROS label, as is Hypermusic Prologue, recorded by the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the IRCAM.

Hypermusic Prologue at the Gran Teatro del Liceu

Posted by Leticia Martin on November 23, 2009  |  1 Comment

Hypermusic Prologue is, for the moment, Hèctor Parra’s most ambitious project, one of the great achievements of European contemporary music in this century. The opera libretto was written by the prestigious theoretical physicist Lisa Randall and has been published by Tritó in a clear show of support for this work by Parra and the new contemporary music.

It is new style of opera, a unique project for intercommunication between science, music and art. In this work the traditional form of opera is explored to generate a form of dramatic expression suited to the 21st century, its ideas and creative processes, including recent research into physics and its parallelisms with music and art.

Hypermusic Prologue, for soprano, baritone, ten instruments and electronics, was composed in 2008 and 2009. It was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), the Centre Pompidou, and the Department of Culture of the Catalan Government (Generalitat). It was premiered in Paris on 14 June 2009 as part of the programming of the Festival Agora.

Further information and tickets.

Premiere of Hypermusic Prologue, by Hèctor Parra

Posted by Marcel Soleda on June 11, 2009  |  No Comments

Sunday 14 June saw the premiere of “Hypermusic Prologue, a projective opera in seven planes” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, a work by the composer Hèctor Parra with a libretto by the well-known professor of theoretical physics from Harvard University, Lisa Randall.

It is new style of opera, a unique project for intercommunication between science, music and art. In this work the traditional form of opera is explored to generate a form of dramatic expression suited to the 21st century, its ideas and creative processes, including recent research into physics and its parallelisms with music and art.

Hypermusic Prologue was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), the Centre Pompidou itself, and the Department of Culture of the Catalan Government.

The same production will be presented at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona on 27 and 28 de November.

Information about its premiere on the Catalan Television…

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Hèctor Parra in the newspaper El País

Posted by Marcel Soleda on June 10, 2009  |  No Comments

The journalist Javier Pérez Senz has interviewed Hèctor Parra in the Babelia section of El País (6 June). The composer discussed his projective opera “Hypermusic Prologue“, his complex creative process, and his relationship with the American theoretical physicist Lisa Randall. He also mentioned how proud he feels to have been able to work on such a project with the Ensemble Intercontemporain.

“What I aim for as a creator is to move the listeners, stir their spirits and open up their imaginations to new sound energies in the awareness that, in a nutshell, composing is searching for oneself”.

A face-to-face encounter with the composer that preluded the première, which took place on 14 June at the Centre Pompidou in the French capital.

Link to the interview.

Opera 2.0 (3rd part)

Posted by Marcel Soleda on June 8, 2009  |  No Comments

In the last video of the series, the theoretical physicist and Harvard professor Lisa Randall, author of the libretto, talks about Hypermusic Prologue. The idea for the libretto came from one of her best-known books, “Warped passages” which was a best seller in the United States.

In Hypermusic Prologue, science, music and plastic arts find a meeting point in this innovative score, whose central character is a composer-scientist (soprano) torn between the love she feels for her partner (baritone) and her passion for research, her conviction that there is a much bigger world than we know waiting to be explored.

Opera 2.0 (2nd part)

Posted by Marcel Soleda on June 2, 2009  |  No Comments

The second part of the preparations for the premiere of Hypermusic Prologue, a new type of opera. This video focuses on the set design and the scenery, by the set designer Paul Desveaux and the artist Matthew Ritchie.

Opera 2.0 (1st part)

Posted by Leticia Martin on May 28, 2009  |  No Comments

Hypermusic Prologue, the opera by Hèctor Parra with a libretto by Lisa Randall, will be premiered in Paris on 14 June at the Centre Pompidou. During the two weeks leading up to this premiere we have been able to take a closer look at the Ensemble Intercontemporain’s work on its development and production, through the rehearsals and other videos with previous information.

Thanks to Youtube we can personally experience the birth of an opera in the 21st century.

Hypermusic Prologue and Hèctor Parra in Accents

Posted by Leticia Martin on May 6, 2009  |  No Comments

Issue no. 38 of the review Accents published by the Ensemble Intercontemporain is dedicated to Hèctor Parra’s Hypermusic Prologue.

Hypermusic Prologue is a unique project for intercommunication between science, music and art. It explores the traditional opera form in order to generate a type of dramatic expression for the 21st century, its ideas and creative processes, including recent research into physics and its parallelisms in music and art.

The main character, a composer and scientist, experiences deep tension between his “earthly love” and his “passion for knowledge”. This tension is built up dramatically through the contradictions between his life with his lover, limited in space and time, and his conviction that there is a much bigger world waiting to be explored.

This opera represents an opportunity to foster the search for more expressive forms for the drama and the musical possibilities. Its object is to find aesthetic structural connections through sound between that most abstract of the arts – music – and the highest concepts of theoretical physics, as researched by Lisa Randall and others. We hope the result will be a novel and fascinating creative experience.

The review is free and can be downloaded here.

Hèctor Parra, winner of the Premio Tendències award for up-and-coming creators

Posted by Leticia Martin on February 5, 2009  |  No Comments

The composer Hèctor Parra (Barcelona, 1976) has had a good start to 2009, a year that is going to confirm him as one of the most important Spanish composers on the international scene. On 19 January he received the Premio Tendencies for the outstanding, up-and-coming creator of the year in Catalonia, awarded by the Catalan edition of the newspaper El Mundo.

The composer was thrilled to win this prize, in particular because it represents recognition of his work in his home city, something that up till now has been more evident abroad. A good example of the interest this composer is arousing is the programming of his opera Hypermusic Prologue by the Teatre Liceo in Barcelona, undoubtedly his most ambitious work to date. This opera, with a libretto by the American physicist Lisa Randall, was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris, and will be premiered in that city before coming to the Barcelona theatre.

Madrid has also just recently been the venue for a concert with works by Hèctor Parra. As part of the programming of Musicadhoy the Ensemble Recherche played his works Abîme- Antigona IV, String Trio and Piano Trio nº1: Wortschatten. These works have been recorded by the same ensemble on a monographic CD produced by the Austrian label Kairos in conjunction with Caja Madrid.

A talk with Lisa Randall

Posted by Marcel Soleda on December 15, 2008  |  No Comments

Yesterday published in The Boston Globe, an interview with Lisa Randall about her present project: the opera Hypermusic Prologue, by Hèctor Parra.

Read the whole interview…

Hèctor Parra and Lisa Randall: Hypermusic Prologue

Posted by Leticia Martin on December 9, 2008  |  2 Comments

At beginnings of 2008 the DLD (Digital, Live, Design) Conference in Munich provided a platform for the music of composer Hèctor Parra. DLD is one of the world’s leading showcases for digital design and interactions between art, science and technology, with the presence of many of the top names in this new network of creativity.

Hèctor Parra, the only Spaniard present at the conference, appeared with the artist Matthew Ritchie, the art patron and impresario Francesca von Habsburg and the theoretical physicist Lisa Randall, who is collaborating with Mr Parra on a chamber opera project entitled Hypermusic Prologue.

Check the video highlights after the jump…

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