Prof Peter Ablinger

Home Institution:

University of Huddersfield, UK


Peter Ablinger (b. 1959, Austria; based in Berlin) was appointed to the position of Professor of Composition at the University of Huddersfield in September 2012. He will be particularly associated with the work of the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) conducting masterclass, lectures and special projects with students and staff.

One of the most innovative and influential composers in the field of new music today, Peter Ablinger’s oeuvre ranges from orchestral works and operas to installations. His work is regularly presented at all the major festivals internationally including Berlin Biennale, Venice Biennale, Holland Festival, Triennale Köln and Carnegie Hall New York. His publications include more than 30 CDs and numerous articles in journals, books, and art anthologies. His work has been recognized by prizes such as the 2008 Andrzej-Dobrowolski-Kompositionspreis and the 2010 Deutschen Klangkunstpreis.

Ablinger’s work with noise, spatialisation, spectral modelling/transcription, and the perception of sound has frequently been supported by major research centres in music technology – most notably the Experimentalstudio of the Heinrich Strobel Stiftung in Freiburg, TU Berlin, and IEM in Graz. At the core of his work is an exploration of the differences between reality and our perception of reality in sound. The act of listening and noise, or rather, ‘Rauschen’ (the German term) have been the dominant themes of Ablinger's music and research for more than 20 years. His questioning of fundamental values of musical perception using basic tools such as scales can perhaps be related to his background in graphic design, including his studies with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, who pioneered the use of graphically notated scores.

‘Peter Ablinger is one of few artists today who uses noise without any kind of symbolism - not as a signifier for chaos, energy, entropy, disorder, or uproar; not for opposing something, or being disobedient or destructive. As in all these cases of music deliberately involving noise, noise is the case, but for Ablinger it is noise alone. Peter Ablinger has also come a long way in questioning the nature of sound, time, and space (the components usually thought central to music), and his findings have jeopardized and made dubious conventions usually thought irrefutable. These insights pertain to repetition and monotony, reduction and redundancy, density and entropy.’ (Christian Scheib)

Peter Ablinger has held appointments at the University of Music Graz and works closely with Ensembles Klangforum Wien, United Berlin and Insel Musik. Based in Berlin, he formed the Ensemble Zwischentöne in 2007. In recent years he has given guest lectures and masterclasses at  Columbia University, BARD College, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University and Mozarteum Salzburg. In May 2012, he was elected to the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.


University of Huddersfield:

Personal website:

Supporting Materials

1. VIDEO: Speaking Piano

[A "speaking piano" reciting the Proclamation of the European Environmental Criminal Court at World Venice Forum 2009. Unfortunately it's all in German, but what the piano says is all English, and it's really neat to watch. UPDATE: Astera on hackaday wrote a rough translation: Pretty amazing, how all of a sudden the words of the Declaration become understandable to a European Environmental Criminal Court.]


[THE TRUTH or: HOW TO TEACH THE PIANO CHINESE The piece establishes an antagonism between intelligible language, and "only"-music. The intelligible moments consist of the ever same expression for "truth", truth, chinese , which in translation is usually dressed in a propositional form: 'Seek Truth From Facts', a two thousand years old formula, picked up by Mao Tse-tung, and finally advanced the leitmotif of the new economic regime under Deng Xiaoping.]

3. VIDEO: "Wachstum, Massenmord" for Orchestra and Subtitles

[Philharmonie Luxembourg, Cond. Peter Rundel, Festival "rainy days", 26.11.2011, Premiere. WACHSTUM, MASSENMORD from: "Instruments &" für Orchester und Untertitel (2011) / for orchestra and subtitles, Video: Elisabeth Flunger, for more infos go to: Peter Ablinger (2006) aus: "Kultur / Wahrnehmung / Raster" Kultur und Wahrnehmung auf der einen Seite.]