LIFE AND DEATH
TESS CREBBIN writes about 'Shadowtime',
Brian Ferneyhough's first opera
Brian Ferneyhough (born 1943) is one of the best-known composers of new music and he has friends in high places. When he composes his first opera, it is sure to attract attention. No sooner has the piece been completed than offers pour in from all over the world to perform it: Paris, London, New York. For his libretto, he gets an Ivy League professor of English, the award-winning poet Charles Bernstein. And he has a famous champion for his work: the incredible Peter Ruzicka, director of the Salzburg Music Festival, conductor, and also artistic director of the Biennale, the German-based International Festival of New Music. Ruzicka commissioned the work for this year's Biennale because 'Ferneyhough is an incredible composer and the impact of his work is immense'
Brian Ferneyhough. Photo © Regine Koerner
Coventry-born Ferneyhough has the right pedigree for someone to make it big even in today's difficult times. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music and then had some scholarships to study in Amsterdam and Basel. He then taught in Germany until he was called to San Diego as professor. Since 2000, he has taught at the prestigious Stanford University. And now his first opera, Shadowtime, has had its world première on 25 May 2004. Munich's Prinzregententheater, of which Ruzencka is the former director, was lucky enough to host the event. People travelled from all over the world to see this: many flew especially from the United States, others came from England, from France, from all over Germany, from Italy.
Peter Ruzicka. Photo © Regine Koerner
Copyright © 3 June 2004
Tess Crebbin, Germany