An Austrian composer and conductor from Switzerland born December 6, 1954 in Schaffhausen.
A pianist by training, Beat Furrer studied composition and conducting at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna. Before being appointed composition teacher at the University of Music and the Dramatic Arts in Graz,he founded, in 1985, the ensemble Klangforum Wien, and was its artistic director until 1992. Resolutely turned towards contemporary music, this ensemble has premiered more than 500 works by composers from all over the world.
Furrer is interested in jazz, the visual arts (the effects of chiaroscuro in his String Quartet no 1, 1984; inspiration of Yves Klein’s monochromes for Nuun, 1996), literature (Illuminations, 1985, from Rimbaud; Dort ist das Meer - Nachts steig' ich hinab, 1986, to texts by Pablo Neruda), himself preparing and translating his librettos.
His music, between sound and tone, between noise and language, explores the modalities of expression, of the deployment of sound in space and of new relationships between vocal sound and instrumental sound. The voice, an essential feature of his investigations, resonates in many dramatic works: Die Blinden, 1989; Narcissus, 1994; Invocation, 2003; Fama, 2005; Wüstenbuch, 2009; Passaggio, 2014.