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born march 13th 1938 in emden/ostfriesland. lives as free lance composer and auto-editor in ganderkesee,germany.
since 1967 numerous commissions in germany and abroad, numerous prizes and awards for composition
(Stichting Gaudeamus Bilthoven, Fondation Royaumont Paris, Villa Massimo Rome, ..).
masterclasses in israel (rubin academy yerushalayim), usa (indiana university, school of music, bloomington), brazil, japan, canada.lecturer at the ‚internationale ferienkurse für neue musik darmstadt‘, courses at the Instituto des Etudos Avancados at University of Sao Paulo, visiting professor at the academy of arts and music in bremen, masterclass at the hochschule für musik und theater rostock.
member of the free academy of arts hamburg.composer in residence of the staatsoperhannover X.
hespos-achive at the akademie der künste berlin.
performances and portrait concerts: ... biennale di venezia, musikverein wien, muzicki biennale zagreb, warschauer herbst, donaueschinger musiktage, queen elizabeth hall london, berliner festwochen, internationale ferienkurse für neue musik darmstadt, royan festival, pan music festival tokyo, testimonium jerushalayim, oper frankfurt, metz festival, steirischer herbst graz, nutida musik stockholm, festival d´automne paris, holland festival amsterdam, fundacio joan miró barcelona, nuova consonanza roma, bayerische staatsoper münchen, gaudeamus foundation amsterdam, centre pompidou paris, new music concerts toronto, music weeks sofia, european capital luxembourg, passages européens luzern, wiener tage für zeitgenössische klaviermusik, bremer musikfest, expo 2000 hannover, total music meeting berlin, festival utopales nantes, osterfestspiele salzburg, ultima festival oslo, galway festival irland , ignm festivals hamburg, graz, paris, jerusalem, budapest, staatsoper hannover, rainy days luxembourg, ...
the work catalogue contains more than 250 compositions for solos, chambermusics, ensemble, orchestra, choir, radio, electroAcoustics, film, electronics, stage (DAS TRIADISCHE BALLETT nach oskar schlemmer, 8 operas) and scene.
i O P A L – a provocative great opera – commissioned by the staatsoper hannover became an outstanding event (johannes harneit/anna viebrock) and was elected by the journal OPERNWELT for firstperformance opera of the year 2005.
His scores, be they verbal, graphic, more conventionally notated or some combination thereof, always constitute incitements to action rather than instructions to be executed neutrally. Inspired by Adorno and Artaud, each composition forms itself unfettered during the act of composition. Thus each work of any length would hardly be analysable as an artistic object. In hespos' own words, he composes without knowing "whither it goes in the next moment, where it ends".
This radical subjectivity should communicate itself to any audience of hespos' work, his aim being, to quote Artaud "To reach a point at which things must burst if there would be a new departure/beginning ... to lead the spirit to a frenzy, to a rising of its energies".
The demands placed by hespos on musicians are also extreme and unconventional, not only in terms of the actions required to produce sounds (although in some of his works these obligations are almost impossible to fulfil) but also in that musicians are called upon to co-ordinate their actions mutually and in relation to the full score of the work without the use of a conductor. This stringent reliance on individual responsibility and commitment is extended by hespos even to orchestral scores, the results from which have often been unsatisfying. Indeed, some critics have described hespos' reliance on the good will of performers in realisation of his conceptions as ridiculously Utopian. In a world in which there are perhaps barely a dozen orchestras (all of them being in Germany) that play enough New Music for the musicians not to regard any New Music as somehow alien, whilst political and economic structures encourage if they do not enforce the abdication of individual responsibility for one's actions, it is a brave composer indeed who would subject these social constrictions to an immanent critique by rendering his works vulnerable to them.
© Steven Holt 1996
© Mic Spencer 2015
(program note to the ´celebration of the music of hans-joachim hespos´ on 4th december 2015 in the international concert series at universtity of leeds, united kingdom)