Dániel Péter Biró began his studies at the Bartók Conservatory in Budapest, Hungary studying composition with Miklós Kocsár, music theory with Iván Madarász and guitar with Ede Roth. He studied guitar with Stefan Schmidt at the Bern Musikhochschule in Switzerland and with Jürgen Ruck at the Würzburg Musikhochschule in Germany. He continued his studies with Hans Zender (composition), Bernhard Kontarsky (score reading and chamber music) and Isabel Mundry (music theory) at the Frankfurt Musikhochschule. From 1995 - 1996 he studied composition with Michael Jarrell at the Universität für Musik in Vienna. He completed his PhD in composition at Princeton University in 2004. His dissertation was a comparative study of early notational practices in examples of Jewish Torah trope, early plainchant from St. Gallen and Hungarian laments and his dissertation composition is entitled Mishpatim (Laws) Part I. His dissertation advisors were Kofi Agawu, Scott Burnham and Paul Lansky. At Princeton University he studied musical paleography with Peter Jeffery and Judaic studies with Peter Schäfer and Rabbi James Diamond.
Dr. Biró has researched Hungarian folk music at the Academy of Science in Budapest and Jewish and Islamic chant in Israel and the Netherlands. Awarded the Hungarian Government's Kodály Scholarship for Hungarian composers, his compositions have been commissioned by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the City of Darmstadt, the Stuttgart Opera, Sudwestfunk, Vancouver New Music, the ISCM, and the Imatronic Festival. In 2001, his piece The Crossing (Daf), based on a text by Franz Kafka, was commissioned by the Stuttgart Opera. In 2003 he took part in the Sommerakademie at the Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany where he studied with Richard Barrett, Chaya Czernowin and Steven Kazuo Takasugi. There he worked with the Ensemble SurPlus, which performed the first part of his composition Mishpatim (Laws).
In 2004, Dániel Péter Biró was appointed Assistant Professor for Composition and Music Theory at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC Canada. In the same year he presented his work at the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany. In 2005 he was a fellow at the Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory. In 2006 he was a featured composer and lecturer at the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music where Mishpatim (Laws) Part II, commissioned by the city of Darmstadt, was performed by the ensemble recherche. In 2006 Dániel Péter Biró was a faculty fellow at the University of Victoria Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. In 2007 his electroacoustic composition Simanim (Signs/Traces) was performed by members of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Experimentalstudio: this composition was commissioned by the German Radio (Hessischer Rundfunk).
In 2009 he was promoted to Associate Professor in the School of Music at the University of Victoria. In the same year he was granted a work-stay at the Experimentalstudio of the SWR and was awarded a SOCAN Composer Residency Grant in order to work with the Quasar Saxophone Quartet in Montreal. In 2008 he was composer-in-residence at the International Messiaen Week in Neustadt, Germany. In 2008 Dániel Péter Biró was commissioned by Vancouver New Music to write a piece for solo piano, voices, ensemble and electronics, supported through a grant of the British Columbia Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts, premiered in October 2009. In the same year he was commissioned by the Quasar Saxophone Quartet, assisted through a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, for the work Udvarim Achadim (And the Same Words), which was featured during their Canadian Tour. In May 2010 he was a featured composer at the Mehrklang Festival in Freiburg, Germany where his composition Mishpatim – Part IV – Ko Amar (Thus Said) was premiered by Noa Frenkel, the Ensemble Surplus and the Experimentalstudio. In 2010 he was awarded grants from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts to write the next sections of the composition cycle Mishpatim (Laws) for the Ensemble SurPlus. In 2010 The ZKM - Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, and the Experimentalstudio in Freiburg, Germany awarded Dániel Péter Biró the Gigahertz Production Prize for Electronic Music.
From 2010-2015 he was a faculty member at the Matrix Academy for Electronic Music at the Experimentalstudio in Freiburg, Germany and Amsterdam, Netherlands. In the fall of 2011 he was Visiting Professor in the Department of Information and Computing Sciences at Utrecht University where he researched Jewish and Islamic chant traditions in the Netherlands. In 2011 he was a featured composer in the Zeitkunst Festival (Berlin, Germany) and at the Fromm Concerts at Harvard University where Hadavar (The Word) Version II was performed by Kai Wessel, Sven Thomas Kiebler and Kirk McNally. From 2011–2014 he was a faculty member at the Tedarim Project of the Meitar Ensemble at the Center for Center For Contemporary and Electronic Music in Tel Aviv, Israel and at the International Symposium of New Music and Computer Music in Curitiba, Brazil. In 2012 he received a grant-in-aid from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation to compose a new composition for the Meitar Ensemble. In the same year his composition Kivrot HaTa'avah (Graves of Craving) was selected to represent Canada in the World Music Days of the ISCM and was premiered in November 2013 at the Vienna Konzerthaus as part of the Wien Modern Festival by flautist Sylvie Lacroix. In 2012 he was commissioned by violist Ralf Ehlers (Arditti Quartet) to write new work: this new composition, Salvim (Quails), was supported with a Composer Commissioning Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne and premiered at the International Symposium of New Music and Computer Music in Curitiba, Brazil. In 2012-2014 he was awarded Internal Research Grants from the University of Victoria and a grant from the Barr Ferree Fund of Princeton University to record the composition cycle Mishpatim (Laws), written from 2003-2016. In 2013 he taught at the International Masterclass for Young Composers at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2014 he completed a commissioned composition for the Neue Vocalsolisten, as a participant in the Mediterranean Voices Project, premiered at the Eclat Festival in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2015 completed a new piece for the Schola Heidelberg and ensemble aisthesis, premiered at the University of Heidelberg, Germany in October 2015.
Prof. Biró was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University in 2014-2015 where he worked on the completion of the composition cycle Mishpatim (Laws). The recording of the cycle, performed by Noa Frenkel, the Ensemble Surplus and the Experimentalstudio, will be released by Neos Music in 2018. In 2015 he was elected to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2016 - 2017 he was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Victoria Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. In 2017 Dániel Péter Biró was awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Dániel Péter Biró was co-editor of Search - Journal for New Music and Culture and co-editor (with Harald Krebs) of The String Quartets of Béla Bartók: Tradition and Legacy in Analytical Perspective (Oxford University Press: 2014). He was a founding member of the new music ensemble Tsilumos and the Salt New Music Festival and Symposium.
In 2018 he was appointed Associate Professor for Composition at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen and in 2019 he was promoted to Professor for Composition. In 2018-2019 he completed commissions from the Ultraschall Festival and the Swiss Philosophical Society, performed by Hildegard Rützel, the Ensemble Mixture, the Schola Heidelberg and the ensemble aisthesis. In 2019-2021 he continues to write the composition cycle, Ethica, based on texts of Baruch Spinoza, working with the Neue Vocalsolisten, the Norwegian Youth Chamber Music Festival Ensemble, the Bit20 Ensemble and the Klangforum Heidelberg with composition commissions from the Norwegian Youth Chamber Music Festival, Musik der Jahrhunderte, the Akademie der Künste Berlin,the Irtijal Festival Beirut, the Onassic Cultural Centre/Stegi Athen and the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival Oslo with funding provided from the Arts Council Norway, the Norwegian Composers' Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Dániel Péter Biró was awarded a grant for 2021-2024 from the Norwegian Artistic Research Program for the project Sounding Philosophy furthering ongoing artistic research connecting music composition, philosophy and science.
His compositions are published by Edition Gravis.
Dániel Péter Biró teaches composition at the bachelor, masters and PhD (Artistic Research) levels at the Grieg Academy – Department of Music, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design – University of Bergen.
- 2020. “On Learning and Teaching Composition” in Revista Vortex Music Journal, Periódico Eletrônico |Universidade Estadual do Paraná, Escola de Música e Belas Artes do Paraná | BrasilISSN 2317–9937, v. 8, n. 1, 2020 . Revista Vortex. 1-12.
- 2016. Emanations: Reflections of a Composer. Konzepte. 39-62.
- 2015. Existenz und Ablenkung. Musik & Ästhetik. 95-99.
- 2010. Computer-assisted cantillation and chant research using content-aware web visualization tools. Multimedia tools and applications. 207-224.
- 2009. Crowns. Kunstmusik. 2-8.
- 2008. Remembering and Forgetting Lizkor VeLiskoach for String Quartet after Schubert. Circuit _ Musiques Contemporaines. 39-60.
- 2005. Composing Mishpatim – Laws: A Response to Ben’s Mishna Music as a Music. Perspectives of New Music. 232-265.
- 2021. The Ethica Composition Cycle: Music Creation and Computational Ethnomusicology. .
- 2021. The Historical as Modern.
- 2020. “Artistic Research in Music Composition” .
- 2020. Presentation of the recording of the Mishpatim (Laws) composition cycle published by Neos Music.
- 2020. Pre-concert discussion “What is your musical DNA?” with Katia Makdissi-Warren and Maxime McKinley, moderated by Quentin Lauvray.
- 2020. Panel discussion “Gender, Inspiration and the Creative Process”.
- 2020. "The Historical as Modern".
- 2020. "Reflections on Composition Today".
- 2020. "De Natura et Origine: Spiritual Inspiration and Creative Process".
- 2020. "Challenges for the Arts".
- 2019. Spinoza’s Ethics: Secular Religion Expressed in Historicized and Contemporary Sound.
- 2019. Composing Ethica after Baruch Spinoza” .
- 2018. Deus Sive Natura: Das theologische Weltbild von Spinoza in Musik ausgedrueckt.
- 2018. Deus Sive Natura, Understanding Spinoza’s Ethics in terms of Jewish History.
- 2015. On the Historical Development and Practice of the Ta’amei Hamikra.
- 2015. On Transcription.
- 2014. Existence and Distraction.
- 2020. Panel discussion about the Hungarian Film “Those Who Remained”(2019).
- 2020. “The Materials and Methods of Ethics” .
- 2020. “Sounding Philosophy: Multidisciplinary Education via Artistic Research".
- 2020. “Movements of History – Transpositions of Spirit” .
- 2020. “Environments of Philosophical Inquiry: Composing Spinoza’s Ethics” .
- 2020. "Sounding Philosophy" .
- 2020. "Composing Ethica: Creative Process and Computational Ethnomusicology".
- 2018. Komposition als Archäologie.
- 2018. Composition and Philosophy.
- 2018. Composing Spinoza’s Ethics: Charting a Migration of Spirit Through Sound.
- 2018. Composing Spinoza’s Ethics.
- 2016. Religious Recitation as Oral Culture.
- 2016. Melodic Stability and Memory Analysis in Semi-Oral Chant Traditions: A Computational Study of Qur’an Recitation and Torah Trope.
- 2015. Musical Topics in Music of the 20th/21st Centuries.
- 2015. Music Composition as Research of History and Memory.
- 2015. Mishpatim (Laws) compositional cycle.
- 2015. Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh: The Future of Historicized, Non-Representational New Music.
- 2014. Mahler’s Modernities.
- 2013. Current Compositional and Ethnomusicological Research.
- 2018. Nulla Res Singularis, Broadcast on Deutschlandfunk, Jan. 8, 2018.
- 2020. The Mishpatim (Laws) composition Cycle (2003-2016) .
- 2019. Ethica: Presentation at Norwegian Youth Chamber Music Festival.
- 2019. De Natura et Origine.
- 2018. Portait Concert of the Works of Dániel Péter Biró.
- 2007. African Rhythms by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, György Ligeti, Steve Reich, Simha Arom. Ethnomusicology. 162-165.
- 2014. The String Quartets of Béla Bartók: Tradition and Legacy in Analytical Perspective. Oxford University Press.
- 2018. Live-Electronics in the SWR EXPERIMENTALSTUDIO.
- 2016. Perspectives for Contemporary Music in the 21st Century.
- 2014. A Computational Re–Examination Of Bela Bartok’s Transcription Methods as Exemplified by his Sirato Transcriptions of 1937/1938 and their Relevance for Contemporary Methods of Computational Transcription of Qur’an Recitation." • Holzapfel, A. (ed.). Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis (FMA2014). Istanbul : Bogazaci University, 2014, pp. 70-77. .
- 2012. Stability and Variation in Cadence Formulas in Oral and Semi-Oral Chant Traditions – a Computational Approach.”.
- 2019. Mishpatim (Laws).
- 2004. Reading the Song: On the Development of Musical Syntax, Notation and Compositional Autonomy: A Comparative Study of Hungarian Siratók, Hebrew Bible Cantillation and Plainchant from St. Gallen.
- 2018. Canadian Excellence, Global Recognition: Canada’s 2017 Winners of Major International Research Awards, .
- 2017. Festival Diktaturen: Dániel Péter Biró discussed his composition Nulla Res Singularis, based on text from Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics.
- 2018. Die Amerikatournee: Der Komponist Dániel Péter Biró, Film about work with Klangforum Heidelberg .
- 2020. Musik der Gegenwart: Program on Radio Berlin Brandenburg about composition De Natura et Origine.
- 2017. Verfolgt, vertrieben, verboten. Wenn Komponisten ins Kreuzfeuer politischer Ideologien geraten .
- 2019. Studies in Contrast: Notes from the Field. 10 pages.
- 2016. Ehiye asher Eyihe: the Future of Historicized, Nonrepresentational New Music . 26 pages.
- 2014. The Sound of the Voice is the Name of the Place: On Compositional Allegory in Al Ken Kara (That Is Why It Was Called). 16 pages.
- 2014. Bartók's Quartets, Folk Music, and the Anxiety of Influence.
- 2012. Reading the Song and Remembering the Word: Musical Material and ‘Historicized Composition’ in Ko Amar (Thus Said). 18 pages.
- 2011. A Computational Investigation of Melodic Contour Stability in Jewish Torah Trope Performance Traditions. 6 pages.
- 2008. Variations on Variations. 15 pages.
- 2008. Musik und die Einwanderung der Sprache. 23 pages.
- 2020. Udvarim Achadim (et les même Mots) (Version 2020) for saxophone quartet and electronics.
- 2019. Simanim (Signs/Traces): concert at Timespans Festival in August, 2019.
- 2019. Kilkul (Breakdown): performance at Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montréal, QC, Canada.
- 2019. Ethica: Performance with Bit20 at Grieghallen.
- 2018. Scholium II, Festakt Concert at the Annual Meeting of the Swiss Philosophy Association, Basel, Switzerland.
- 2018. Scholium II, Concert at the Völkerkundemusem (Museum for Ethnography) in Heidelberg, Germany .
- 2018. Scholium II, Concert at the Nikolausberger Musiktage in Göttingen, Germany.
- 2018. Portrait concert of works by Dániel Péter Biró, Americas Society, New York, USA.
- 2018. Lizkor Velishkoach (To Remember and to Forget), concert performed by the Lafayette String Quartet .
- 2018. Gvul (Border) Version II, Concert at Ariowitsch-Haus, Zentrum Jüdischer Kultur.
- 2018. Concert at Musikalischen Kultursalons at the Zentrum für Gegenwartsmusik at the Leipziger Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy”.
- 2018. Concert at Congregation Emanuel, Victoria, BC.
- 2017. Shevarim (Breakings) for piano solo, performed at Bargemusic, New York (2017).
- 2017. Nulla res singulares.
- 2017. Mishpatim (Laws) Part 1, performed at E-werk, Freiburg, Germany (2017).
- 2017. Mishpatim (Laws) Part 1 Concert at ISCM World Music Days in Vancouver.
- 2017. Mishpatim (Laws) Part 1.
- 2017. Gvul (Border) performed at at the Site-Mémorial du Camp de Milles in Aix-en-Provence, France.
- 2017. Fragmina ex axiomata .
- 2017. Al Ken Kara (That Is Why It Was Called), performed at the Átlátszó Hang Festival in Budapest, Hungary (2017).
- 2016. Mitoch He’anan (From the Midst of the Cloud) Version II, performed atLa Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montreal, Canada (2016).
- 2016. Kivrot HaTa’avah (Graves of Craving) Version II, performed at the International Symposium of New Music in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil (2016).
- 2016. Kivrot HaTa’avah (Graves of Craving) Version II, performed at the Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria (2016).
- 2016. Kivrot HaTa’avah (Graves of Craving) Version II, performed at the Festival Átlátszó Hang in Budapest, Hungary (2016).
- 2016. Bemitzraim (In Egypt), performed at Syker Vorwerk in Syke, Germany (2016).
- 2016. Al Ken Kara (That Is Why It Was Called), premiered at the Osterfestival Imago Dei in Krems, Austria (2016).
- 2015. Vayiru Et (And They Saw) – In Memoriam Matan Givol, performed at the Festival Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques and Matrix 15 on Tour (2015).
- 2015. Sefirot (Emanations), premiered at the University of Heidelberg (2015).
- 2015. Sefirot (Emanations), performed at the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen (2015).
- 2015. Sefirot (Emanations), performed at the Technoseum in Mannheim, Germany (2015) .
- 2015. Salvim (Quails), premiered at the festival VIRTUOSI XVIII in Recife, Brazil. (2015).
- 2015. Mitoch He’anan (From the Midst of the Cloud), premiered at New Music Edmonton in Edmonton, Canada (2015).
- 2015. Memory (Installation).
- 2015. Kivrot Hata’avah (Graves of Craving) performed at the Gala of the Royal Society of Canada Annual General Meeting (2015).
- 2015. Kivrot HaTa’avah (Graves of Craving) for solo bass flute, performed at the SALT New Music Festival and Symposium (2015).
- 2014. Kilkul (Breakdown) for solo saxophon, performed at the SIMN 2014 / Matrix14 on Tour in Curitiba, Brazil (2014).
- 2014. Bemitzraim (In Egypt), performed at the Foro Internacionel de Música Nueva Maunuel Enríquez in Mexico City (2014).
- 2014. Bemitzraim (In Egypt), performed at the Berger Park Cultural Center in Chicago, USA (2014).
- 2014. Al Ken Kara (That Is Why It Was Called), premiered as part of the Mediterranean Voices Project at the Eclat Festival (2014).
- 2014. Al Ken Kara (That Is Why It Was Called), performed at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid (2014).
- 2014. Al Ken Kara (That Is Why It Was Called) for seven voices.
- 2014. Al Al Ken Kara (That Is Why It Was Called) Version II, premiered at the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice (2014).
- 2013. Vaya’al Moshe (And Moshe Ascended), performed at the Center for Contemporary and Electronic Music in Tel Aviv (2013).
- 2013. Vaya’al Moshe (And Moshe Ascended) revised version, performed at the Theaterhaus Stuttgart (2013).
- 2013. Livnat Hasapir (Sapphire Brickwork), performed at the University of Victoria, School of Music (2013).
- 2013. Kivrot HaTa’avah (Graves of Craving), premiered at the 2013 World New Music Days in Vienna (2013).
- 2020. Colinda.
- 2020. Asher Hotseti Etkhem ("Who Brought You Out of the Land").
- 2019. Ethica (2017-2019).
- 2018. Scholium 2.
- 2018. Nulla Res Singularis.
- 2018. Gvul (Border).
- 2018. Ex Natura et Origine.
- 2017. Shvarim (Breakings).
- 2017. Mishpatim (Laws) Part 1: Lo Tisa (Do Not Accept).
- 2017. Fragmina ex axiomata.
- 2015. Sefirot (Emanationen).
- 2012. Salvim (Quails).
- 2012. Bahar (Auf dem Berg).
- 2011. Kivrot Hata'avah (Gräber der Begierde).
- 2011. Hadavar (Das Wort) (Version 2).
- 2010. Gam Zera (Also the Seed).
- 2009. Kilkul (Breakdown).
- 2005. Bemizrajim (In Ägypten).
- 2002. Messages (Botschaften).
- 2000. Lizkor veLishkoah (To Remember and to Fortget).
- 2019. Composing Gvul. 255-266. In:
- 2019. Narratives of Memory: Migration and Xenophobia in the European Union and Canada. University of Victoria Libaries.
- 2017. Computer-supported analysis of religious chant. 230-252. In:
- 2017. Live Electronic Music. Routledge.
- 2010. Enquête sur l'avenir de la musique contemporaine. Circuit _ Musiques Contemporaines. 101-104.
Dániel Péter Biró: Asher Hotseti Etkhem (Who Brought You Out of the Land) performed by the Neue Vocalsolisten on February 3, 2021 at the Eclat Festival as part of the Voice Affairs Project.
“The Practice of Teaching Composition” in Vortex Music Journal, Periódico Eletrônico, Universidade Estadual do Paraná, Escola de Música e Belas Artes do Paraná | BrasilISSN 2317–9937,v. 8, n. 1, 2020.
Mishpatim (Laws), recording of three-hour composition cycle, Noa Frenkel, Ermis Theodorakis, Erich Wagner, Ensemble Surplus, Experimentalstudio, Neos Music 11919-20, October 2019.
Dániel Péter Biró: De Natura et Origine for mezzo-soprano, shawm and accordion. Premiered at the Ultraschall Festival Berlin on January 17, 2019 at Heimathafen Neukölln in Berlin, Germany. Commissioned by the Ultraschall Festival Berlin.
Dániel Péter Biró: Scholium Secundum for five singers and five string instuments, Edition Gravis, 2018.
Dániel Péter Biró: Nulla Res Singularis for five voices and five string instruments, premiered by the Schola Heidelberg and Ensemble Aisthesis, Walter Nußbaum, conductor at the Hebelhalle, Heidelberg, Germany on Oct. 29, 2017. Commissioned by the KlangForum Heidelberg. Broadcast on Deutschlandfunk on January, 5, 2018. Edition Gravis, 2018.
Dániel Péter Biró and George Tzanetakis, “Computer-Supported Analysis of Religious Chant” in Live-Electronic Music: Composition, Performance, Study, Friedemann Sallis, Valentina Bertolani, Jan Burle, Laura Zattra eds. (London and New York: Routledge, 2017) pp. 231- 252.
The String Quartets of Béla Bartók: Tradition and Legacy in Analytical Perspective, co-edited by Dániel Péter Biró and Harald Krebs (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
D.P. Biro, P. Van Kranenburg. “A Computational Re–Examination Of Bela Bartok’s Transcription Methods as Exemplified by his Sirato Transcriptions of 1937/1938 and their Relevance for Contemporary Methods of Computational Transcription of Qur’an Recitation,” in Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis, Holzapfel, A., ed. (Istanbul: Bogazaci University, 2014) pp. 70-77.
D.P. Biró, P. van Kranenburg, S.R. Ness, G. Tzanetakis, and A. Volk. “Stability and Variation in Cadence Formulas in Oral and Semi-Oral Chant Traditions – a Computational Approach,” Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition and the 8th Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music. (Thessaloniki, 2012) pp. 98-105.
Project Funded by the Norwegian Artistic Research Program: 2021-2024
Dániel Péter Biró, Project Leader
The project Sounding Philosophy, funded by the Norwegian Artistic Research Program (2021-2024), integrates music composition research with philosophical and scientific inquiry. The goal to understand how theories of reason and the mind can be approached from creative, metaphysical and scientific standpoints, and how these theories can be more holistically understood from various research perspectives. This project will build on research-creation initiated by a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017-2018, and on presentations at the interdisciplinary annual conference of the Swiss Philosophical Society in September 2018 and in the context of the Grieg Academy Composition Research Group in 2018-2021.
The question of reason and the mind has been dealt with in the fields of art, philosophy and science and this has given way to contemporary theories of emergence, e.g. by the Nobel-Price Winner in Physics Robert Laughlin. Emergence can be described as the condition of an entity having properties distinct from the properties of the parts of the system from which it emerges, an important concept within the theoretical framework of complex systems. While philosophers have described thinking, doing and perception as different “states of mind,” scientists have not only concerned themselves with the question of how intelligence in the universe is possible, but also how intelligence plays a role in the evolution and emergence of nature. Philosophers, such as Spinoza and Kant, regarded both philosophy and art not merely as rational modes of explanation but also as expressions of spirit (spiritus) and intelligence (Geist) (Schwarzkopf 2016). While such questions of spirit relate to new developments in emergence theories in physics, psychology and philosophy, the current study looks to how such concepts of mind and emergence can be expressed via artistic creation. Dealing with questions of the mind and consciousness, involving a philosophical approach to music composition, the project will look into how concepts of intelligence and the mind can be translated into sonorous domains.
The project aims to allow these philosophical, scientific and artistic fields to inform each other. The project will involve an interdisciplinary research team combining artistic, philosophical and scientific disciplines. While the core of the research will be completed at the University of Bergen, team members will come from Norway, the EU, the U.S. and Canada. The research group will convene several times a year, having the goal of understanding how theories of reason and the mind can be approached from creative, metaphysical and scientific standpoints and how these topics can be understood from various research perspectives. The outcomes will consist of a series of musical works, recordings and scholarly publications, allowing for interdisciplinary knowledge mobilization between various forms of artistic creation, philosophical reflection and scientific discovery. The artistic works, conferences, webinars and publications will engage a public in a new manner, allowing audience members to explore connections between historical and contemporary concepts of the mind and consciousness.
The project Sounding Philosophy was initiated as an academic conference with a series of concerts and performances in November 2019 at the Grieg Academy – Department for Music, at the Grieghallen and at the Norwegian Youth Chamber Music Festival in Stavanger, Norway. Research group meetings, symposia, concerts, recordings, computational ethnomusicology fieldwork and publications are planned in Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and Canada for the research period 2021-2024.
International, Multidisciplinary Research Project
2007 - Present
The ongoing research project Computational Ethnomusicology started with a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant in 2007. Together with my colleagues George Tzanetakis, Andrew Schloss and Steven Ness at the University of Victoria and Peter van Kranenburg and Anja Volk from Utrecht University, our main purpose was to create new computer based transcription tools to study world music and various types of world chant. In particular, my goal was to study the melodic contours of Islamic, Jewish and Christian chant via computer. We were able to create an online browsing interface that allows researchers to organize and analyze chant in a variety of ways. In June 2008 I presented this new computational transcription tool at the Agora Conference at IRCAM during a poster presentation entitled “Decoding the Song: Histogram-Based Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic Analysis of Melodic Formulae in Hungarian Laments, Torah Trope, Tenth Century Plainchant and Qur’an Recitation”. This work has been continued in a series of refereed publications including D.P. Biro, P. Van Kranenburg. “A Computational Re–Examination Of Bela Bartok’s Transcription Methods as Exemplified by his Sirato Transcriptions of 1937/1938 and their Relevance for Contemporary Methods of Computational Transcription of Qur’an Recitation” in Holzapfel, A. (ed.), Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis (FMA 2014) (Istanbul: Bogazaci University, 2014) 70-77 and D.P. Biró, P. van Kranenburg, S.R. Ness, G. Tzanetakis and A. Volk, “Stability and Variation in Cadence Formulas in Oral and Semi-Oral Chant Traditions – a Computational Approach” in Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition and the 8th Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (Thessaloniki: Aristotle University, 2012) 98-105. This ethnomusicology research with technology has profoundly affected my work as a composer, as research into phonetics, tuning, syntax and phrase structure in chant traditions has become integrated into my own creative work.
Asher Hotseti Etkhem (Who Brought You Out of the Land)
for Five Voices (2020 - 2021)
Performed by the Neue Vocalsolisten on February 3, 2021 at the Eclat Festival as part of the Voice Affairs Project
Commissioned by Musik der Jahrhunderte, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Irtijal Festival Beirut, the Onassic Cultural Centre and the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival
Nulla Res Singularis
for Five Voices and Five String Instruments (2017 - 2018)
Premiered by the Schola Heidelberg and Ensemble Aisthesis
Walter Nussbaum, conductor
Second version premiered at the Americas Society, New York, May 2018
Commissioned by the Klangforum Heidelberg
Six-Part Composition Cycle
for Voices, Ensemble, Resonant Instruments and Electronics (2003 -2019)
Noa Frenkel, contralto, Ermis Theodorakis, piano, Olaf Tzschoppe, percussion
Christian Kemper, Cornelius Bauer, voices
Experimentalstudio: Reinhold Braig, Simon Spillner,
Dominik Pahnke, Sven Kestel, electronics
Ensemble Surplus, Erich Wagner, Conductor
NEOS Music 11919-20, October 2019
Duration: 2 hours, 24 minutes, 16 seconds
Fragmina Et Axiomata
for Countertenor, Shawm, Accordion and Electronics (2017)
Kai Wessel, Countertenor, Katharina Bäuml, Shawm, Margit Kern, Akkordeon
Dániel Péter Biró and Arsalan Abedian, electronics
Premiered at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany on Nov. 19, 2017
Commissioned by the Hannoversche Gesellschaft für Neue Musik
Al Ken Kara (That Is Why It Was Called)
for Seven Voices (2013 - 2014)
Performed by the Neue Vocalsolisten
Eclat Festival, Stuttgart Germany, February 9, 2014
Part of the Mediterranean Voices Project with video artist Daniel Kötter and architect Sofia Dona
Commissioned by Musik der Jahrhunderte
HaDavar (The Word)
Version II for Countertenor, Piano, Resonant Gongs and Electronics (2010 - 2011)
Kai Wessel, countertenor, Sven Thomas Kiebler, piano, Experimentalstudio, Dániel Péter Biró and Kirk McNally, electronics
Performed at the Fromm Concerts, Harvard University, April 2, 2011
Awarded the Gigahertz Production Prize for Electronic Music in 2010
Awarded the International Society for Contemporary Music Austrian Section New Vocal Works Competition Prize in 2011
Video (with score)
for Seven Voices and Twenty Instruments (2015)
Performed by the Schola Heidelberg and Ensemble Aisthesis, Walter Nußbaum, conductor
at the University of Heidelberg on October 16, 2015
Commissioned by the Klangforum Heidelberg
Kivrot Hata’avah (Graves of Craving)
for Bass Flute (2012 - 2013)
Sylvie Lacroix, Bass Flute
Selected as an independent submission to represent Canada and Hungary at the ISCM (International Society of Contemporary Music) 2013 World New Music Days
Premiered by Sylvie Lacroix on Novmeber 11, 2013 at the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Austria as part of the festival Wien Modern
Video (with score)
Lizkor VeLishkoach (To Remember and to Forget)
for String Quartet (1999 - 2000)
Speculum Musicae – Curtis Macomber, violin, Carol Zeavin, violin, Lois Martin, viola and Eric Bartlett, cello
Recorded at Princeton University, May 8th, 2001
Audio (mp3 – excerpt)