Friedrich Cerha Celebrates 95!
Mar. 01, 2021
We would like to wish a very happy birthday to Friedrich Cerha who celebrated his 95th year last month. Universal Edition marked this special occasion with a page filled with well-wishes and a look back at his storied career. Cerha's student, and fellow UE composer, Georg Friedrich Haas noted, "‘Friedrich Cerha - the ability and courage to do the right thing at the right time. Without allowing himself to be swayed. Without shying away from risks". Conductor Susanna Mälkki said, "Few composers represent the mastery of musical modernism in such consistent and brilliant way as Friedrich Cerha. The richness of orchestral textures in the music and his creative instrumentation, ability to mix sounds, styles and colors for expression is most impressive, powerful and communicative. Every work by Mr. Cerha is a highly rewarding discovery."
Friedrich Cerha, born in Vienna in 1926, is a composer, conductor, professor and writer on music. He is also a national institution in Austria. For over half a century, his name has been synonymous in his native country with contemporary music. It has also been synonymous with the endeavor to keep tradition alive while striving for the renewal of the art of composition. As an Austrian, Friedrich Cerha is also a representative of those of his compatriots who – in a tragic phase of history – took the only honest path by actively fighting against fascism.
Mr Cerha is a quiet, reserved man (with a wonderful sense of humor and a remarkable talent as a public speaker, if the occasion arises) who has been a persistent champion of new music and its creators his entire life. With comrades such as the composer Kurt Schwertsik (and later also H.K. Gruber) as well as his wife Gertraud, he founded the ensemble die reihe in 1958 to create a forum for contemporary music. He did not have an easy job of it in the late 50s but never lost his determination and courage, allying himself with other international figures – like György Ligeti and Pierre Boulez – who owe numerous performances of their works to the conductor Friedrich Cerha.
(Friedrich Cerha Speaks About His Music)
Listen to Friedrich Cerha's Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (2007/2008):
(Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra/Friedrich Cerha/Martin Grubinger, percussion/
Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor)
To learn more about Friedrich Cerha, visit: universaledition.com.