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Dr. Eugene Alexander Birman

Assistant Professor, Department of Music

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Dr. Eugene Alexander Birman

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About

A composer of music of “high drama” and “intense emotion” (BBC), “at once, ingenious, hypnotic, brave, and beautiful” (Festival Internazionale A.F. Lavagnino), Eugene Birman (b. 1987) has written for symphony orchestras (London Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orquestra Gulbenkian), choirs (Theatre of Voices, BBC Singers, Latvian Radio Choir), and leading ensembles and soloists (Maxim Vengerov, Maurizio Ben Omar, etc.) across four continents in venues ranging from London’s Southbank Centre to Carnegie Hall to above the Arctic Circle. His highly public career, with appearances on CNN, BBC World TV, Radio France, Deutsche Welle, and others, is characterized by a fearless focus on socially relevant large-scale compositions covering the financial crisis, Russian border treaties, and more. Commissioners and partners for Birman’s work extend beyond the concert hall to major international bodies such as the European Union, the Austrian Foreign Ministry, and the Hong Kong SAR, as well as through prominent fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (2018) and the US Department of State’s Fulbright Program (2010-11). Most recently, he was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, leading to a season-long residency at the Southbank Centre and world premiere with the Philharmonia Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall, and appointed the sole Artist-in-Residence of the 2018 Helsinki Festival, Finland’s biggest yearly cultural event. In 2021, he takes up the position of Artist-in-Residence at the Manchester International Festival. A D.Phil recipient from the University of Oxford, he also holds degrees from Columbia University, the Juilliard School, and the Accademia Musicale Chigiana.

Achievements

2018-19 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship
2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize
2010-11 United States Department of State Fulbright Research Full Grant

Publications

1) Stage work: ARIA 空氣頌, with Kingsley Ng. Premiere in 2020. Commissioned by the Research Committee, Hong Kong Baptist University, with additional support from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Hong Kong SAR, performed by Theatre of Voices (DK) and the Hong Kong Children's Choir (HKSAR): https://www.newvisionfestival.gov.hk/2020/en/aria/; 

2) Stage work: Russia: Today, Premiere in 2021. Commissioned 2017 by the European Union National Institutes of Culture, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the United States Department of State, in partnership with Helsinki Festival and Cultura-säätiö, performed by EXAUDI (UK) and Intrada (RU): https://www.enoa-community.com/enoa-community/eugene-birman

3) Opera/musical theatre: How the Children Played at Slaughtering, Premiere in 2020, with further performances in 2021. Commissioned by the Staatsoper Stuttgart, in partnership with the European Network of Opera Academies (enoa) and Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding, performed by Junge Oper im Nord (DE) and LOD Muziektheater: https://www.staatsoper-stuttgart.de/magazin/enoa/

4) Symphony Orchestra: Adagio, Premiere in 2018. Commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society for the Philharmonia Orchestra (UK): https://royalphilharmonicsociety.org.uk/composers/rps-composers-programme/past-comp-prize/birman

5) World Premiere CD recording: Nostra Culpa: Vocal Music by Eugene Birman (Helsinki Chamber Choir and ContempoArtEnsemble, with Iris Oja, soloist, conducted by Nils Schweckendiek), published by Alba Records, February 2021: https://www.alba.fi/en/shop/products/5399