Biography Thomas Demenga

Thomas Demenga
was born in 1954 in Berne, Switzerland, and studied with Walter Grimmer, Antonio Janigro, Leonard Rose and Mstislav Rostropovich, among others. Important chamber music influences were Claus Adam, Felix Galimir and Robert Mann at the Juilliard School in New York.

He has performed at important festivals and musical centres around the globe and shared the stage with fellow musicians such as Heinz Holliger, Gidon Kremer, Thomas Larcher, Paul Meyer, Aurèle Nicolet, Hansheinz Schneeberger, Thomas Zehetmair and Tabea Zimmermann. As a soloist he has collaborated with, among others, the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, Berner Symphonie Orchester, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Bern, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Kammerorchester Basel, L’Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam, ORF- Symphonieorchester Wien, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Sinfonietta Basel, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Westdeutsches Rundfunk Symphonie-Orchester, and Zürcher Kammerorchester.

Much of Thomas Demenga’s work addresses different historical eras and styles of interpretation and composition. His individual voice as a composer and interpreter of 20th and 21st century works (among them important prèmieres) gives a new and complementary dimension to both the historical performance practice of baroque music and his interpretations of the classical and romantic repertoire. In 1991 he was the first Swiss composer to be awarded first prize for his composition Solo per due by the congress of the Tribune Internationale des Compositeurs.

From 2000 Demenga was composer-in-residence at the Davos Festival, “Young Artists in Concert”, and subsequently appointed artistic director of the festival, a position he gave up in 2006 to commit himself fully to performing and composing again.

Thomas Demenga’s playing has been heard on twenty ECM New Series recordings to date. In addition to his albums of Bach and contemporary composition, he can be heard together with brother Patrick Demenga on Lux aeterna (playing music of Alexander Knaifel, Jean Barrière, Roland Moser and Barry Guy, as well as Thomas Demenga’s own music) and on 12 Hommages à Paul Sacher (with music of Conrad Beck, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Benjamin Britten, Henri Dutilleux, Wolfgang Fortner, Alberto Ginastera, Cristóbel Halfter, Heinz Holliger, Klaus Huber and Witold Lutoslwaski). His album Chonguri with Thomas Larcher and Teodoro Anzellotti, includes his own music alongside compositions of Bach, Chopin, Webern, Liszt, Milhaud, Fauré and more. Cellorganics features Demenga as improviser in duets with Heinz Reber. He also appears on Reber’s Mnaomai, mnomai, on Heinz Holliger’s Lauds and Lamentations: Music of Elliott Carter and Isang Yun, Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Canto di speranza, Thomas Larcher’s Ixxu and Naunz, Giya Kancheli’s Diplipito, and Arvo Pärt’s Arbos, where he plays Stabat Mater together with Gidon Kremer, Vladimir Mendelssohn and singers Lynne Dawson, David James and Rogers-Covey Crump. An earlier encounter with Gidon Kremer, in performances of Shostakovich, is documented in the Edition Lockenhaus series.

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