Who is 7R? - Hans Thomalla

Who is 7R?

Hans Thomalla, composer
Composer of I come near you, response to TO THE SIDES

Soon after joining the faculty at Northwestern University, the director of the Institute for New Music (also in its inaugural year), Hans Thomalla, approached me with a score and a recording of the new opera he had composed for Staatsoper Stuttgart: Fremd. The final scene of the opera features the chorus - it is an emotionally gruelling, beautiful, tour de force and it captured my imagination immediately: What would a concert work from this dramaturgically-oriented composer be like?  What possibilities lie in his ideas of sound, of microtonal shimmering, of the extremes of dynamics that he employs with such elegance and so organically?  I didn't mention this to him when we discussed Seven Responses, so it was such a gift to receive a work that answers those questions thoroughly and with an extraordinary outcome. Color. Color. Color.

Hans is a modern master of music for the stage. His compositions explore the transitions between music as historically formed expression, often dissecting found "objects" from music tradition, and music as sound as its own acoustic reality. He has worked closely with groups such as Ensemble Recherche, the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Musikfabrik, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Ascolta, Spektral Quartet, Trio Accanto, and soloists such as Nicolas Hodges, Lucas Fels, Marcus Weiss, Sarah-Maria Sun, Yukiko Sugawara among others.

Hans received international attention for the premiere of his first opera, Fremd, by the Stuttgart Opera in 2011. The opera tells the story of the Argonauts encounter with the strange magician Medea on the eastern shore of the Black Sea. Through this story, Thomalla explores contradictions of Western thought: the conflict of nature and concept. You can see some excerpts from the premiere production below, and a full studio recording has been released by Col Legno.

In April 2016 Hans premiered his second opera, Kaspar Hauser, at the Freiburg Opera. In addition to his operatic works, Hans has written 10 chamber works, 4 works for soloist, 2 choral works, and 2 orchestral. 

Hans studied at the Frankfurt Musikhochschule and received his doctoral degree in composition at Stanford University. From 1999-2002 he was an Assistant Dramaturge and later Dramaturge and Musical Advisor of the Dramaturgie at the Stuttgart Opera. Hans is Chicago based, currently an Associate Professor of Composition at Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music, where he also founded and directs the Institute for New Music.