Beat Furrer
Beat Furrer 2014.jpg
Born (1954-12-06) 6 December 1954 (age 67)
Schaffhausen, Switzerland
EducationUniversity of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
  • Composer
  • Academic teacher

Beat Furrer (born 6 December 1954) is a Swiss-born Austrian composer and conductor. He has served as professor of composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz since 1991. He was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2018.


Born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, Furrer relocated to Vienna in 1975 to pursue studies with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati (composition) and Otmar Suitner (conducting) at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.[1][2] In 1985 he co-founded what is now one of Europe's leading contemporary music ensembles, Klangforum Wien, which he still conducts.[3][4] Recent awards and honors include the Music Prize of the City of Vienna in 2003 and the Golden Lion, for the monodrama "FAMA", at the 2006 Venice Biennale.[1] In 2014 he was awarded with Grand Austrian State Prize. He is the recipient of the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize 2018.[5][6][7] Since 1991, he has served as professor of composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. Furrer is co-founder and chairman of "impuls", an International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music.[8]

The 25th anniversary of the Klangforum Wien was celebrated in 2010 at the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik with the premiere of his Xenos-Szenen for eight voices and ensemble.[9]


Since 1989, Furrer's main projects have been operatic. Critics, however, have characterized Furrer's music theatre as dryly abstract rather than sensuous. Thus, for instance, Furrer's music theatre Violetter Schnee (2018/19) was described as monotonous[10] or, in the words of critic Matthias Siehler, a "routine doomsday":[11] "The more Furrer invokes the global climate catastrophe and failure of communication, the more his music sounds like mere paper."[12] Similarly, critic Manuel Brug called La Bianca Notte (2015) brainy, lacking emotion and dramatic life.[13] From 1999 on, Furrer's works have been published by Bärenreiter in Kassel.[14]






Music theatre/opera


  1. ^ a b "Beat Furrer erhält Ernst von Siemens Musikpreis". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ Beat Furrer's biography on Cdmc website
  3. ^ Braunmüller, Robert (23 January 2018). "Beat Furrer ist der Preisträger 2018". Abendzeitung (in German). München. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Beat Furrer biography" (in French). IRCAM.
  5. ^ Hanssen, Frederik (23 January 2018). "Siemens Musikpreis für Komponist Beat Furrer". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Berlin. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  6. ^ Dick, Alexander (23 January 2018). "Beat Furrer erhält den Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikpreis 2018". Badische Zeitung (in German). Freiburg. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  7. ^ Dippel, Roland H. (5 May 2018). "Plädoyer für Live-Konzerte: Beat Furrer erhielt den Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikpreis 2018". neue musikzeitung. Regensburg. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  8. ^ "About impuls". impuls. Graz. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Solche Musik stirbt nie", review in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 30 April 2010
  10. ^ Lemke-Matwey, Christine (16 January 2019). "Nachts im Museum". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  11. ^ Matthias Siehler in Rondo (Berlin) 1/2019, p. 34: "das routiniert raunende Weltende".
  12. ^ Matthias Siehler in Rondo (Berlin) 1/2019, p. 34: "Doch je mehr hier Klimakatastrophe und das Scheitern der Kommunikation beschworen werden, desto papierner raschelt es."
  13. ^ Manuel Brug, Was ist im Kopf des toten Dichters los? in: Die Welt (Hamburg), 12 May 2015: "Kopfgeburt"; "Sie [his music] berührt nicht"; "kaum theatralisches Leben".
  14. ^ "Beat Furrer". Bärenreiter Verlag. Kassel. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  15. ^ "München – Beat Furrer: Akusmata. Five short pieces for Vocal ensembe and instruments after Pythagoras". Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  16. ^ Pachl, Peter P. (14 January 2019). "Mit zahlreichen ästhetischen Querverweisen – Uraufführung von Beat Furrers "Violetter Schnee" an der Staatsoper". neue musikzeitung (in German). Regensburg. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  17. ^ Amling, Ulrich (15 January 2019). "Unter fremder Sonne". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Berlin. Retrieved 15 January 2019.