photo by Astrid Ackermann


In February 2016, the Talea Ensemble collaborates for the fourth time with the Austrian Cultural Forum New York to present “American Immersion“, its annual series offering in-depth portraits of important voices in contemporary composition to American Audiences. This year, Austrian-born and New York-based Georg Friedrich Haas is featured, one of Europe’s major composers today.


This year’s portrait features again chamber and large ensemble programs: the JACK Quartet will perform the 50 minutes long In iij. Noct. (2001) in complete darkness at the ACFNY, while the Talea Ensemble will play a program of Haas’ pieces for larger ensembles at the Bohemian National Hall, featuring the US premiere of his 2009 work for chamber orchestra and soprano …wie stille brannte das Licht.

The introduction to this work states:

The defining feature of Georg Friedrich Haas’ creative work is his work with the minutiae of sound creation. “The love of sound, the love of the sounds that unfold like living beings in time and space“, he wrote in his Notes on Composition, “is for me one of the founding principles of my work“.  Like, for example, Giacinto Scelsi – but with the key difference that he created his tonal effects with precisely noted scores – Haas focuses his attention on the possibilities of microtonality and the complex internal life of sound (for example the combined effects of different overtones or partial tones), creating sound worlds and harmonic colours that go beyond the possibilities of the traditional eleven-note tempered half-tone scale.




Georg Friedrich Haas has emerged as one of the major European composers of his generation. His music synthesizes in a highly original way the Austrian tradition of grand orchestral statement with forward-looking interests in harmonic color and microtonal tuning that stem from both French spectralism and a strand of American experimentalism. The result is an exploratory, uncompromising music that is also sensuously attractive. His music appeals to unusually diverse constituencies, from avant-garde composers for its microtonal investigations to casual listeners for its spacious forms and euphonious harmony.


Haas has composed several operas and concertos and a variety of chamber works, including seven string quartets. His hour-long in vain, for 24 musicians, is widely regarded as one of the most original and path-breaking new compositions in the past quarter century. Another important work is limited approximations, for orchestra and 6 microtuned pianos. He has received numerous national and international prizes, including the Kompositionspreis of the SWR Symphony Orchestra (2010) for limited approximations and the Grand Austrian State Prize for Music (2007), the country’s highest artistic honor.


Since 2013, Haas holds a full-time tenured professorship in composition at Columbia University. Before that he has held dual professorships at the Hochschle für Musik in Basel, Switzerland, and the Kunstuniversität in Graz, Austria.





February 24, 2016 at 7:30 PM – JACK Quartet

In iij. Noct (2001)


JACK Quartet



Austrian Cultural Forum
11 East 52nd Street
New York, NY
FREE Admission, Tickets at


February 26, 2016 at 8:00 PM – Talea Ensemble

La profondeur (2009)
I can’t breathe (2015) *US Premiere
tria ex uno (2001)
…wie stille brannte das Licht (2009)


Talea Ensemble
Tony Arnold, soprano
Gareth Flowers, trumpet
James Baker, conductor



Bohemian National Hall
321 East 73rd Street
New York, NY
FREE Admission, Tickets at


Presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum