Michael Oesterle | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Michael Oesterle

Michael Oesterle. Composer, born Ulm, Germany, 29 Jun 1968; B MUS (British Columbia) 1992. Michael Oesterle immigrated to Canada in 1982.

Michael Oesterle

Michael Oesterle. Composer, born Ulm, Germany, 29 Jun 1968; B MUS (British Columbia) 1992. Michael Oesterle immigrated to Canada in 1982. He first studied composition at the University of British Columbia and then earned a doctorate from Princeton University under the direction of Paul Lansky and Louis Andriessen. He also took part in various workshops and training courses, including Voix Nouvelles at Abbaye de Royaumont (France), June in Buffalo, the Darmstädter Ferienkurse, and the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne's (NEM) Forum international des jeunes compositeurs (International Forum of Young Composers).

Performances and Commissions

After completing his studies, Michael Oesterle established himself as an active and prolific composer, as shown by an extensive catalogue of works and the large number of soloists, ensembles and orchestras who have performed his music in Quebec, across Canada and abroad. His music has been played throughout North America, Europe and Eastern Europe by such ensembles as the Ensemble intercontemporain (Paris), the Ives Ensemble (Amsterdam), the Quatuor Bozzini, the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM), the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, NEM, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), the Chicago Civic Orchestra, les Percussions de Strasbourg, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the California EAR Unit, the Millennium Ensemble (New York), Continuum (London), the Juilliard New Music Ensemble, the Arditti String Quartet (London), the Centrum Nieuwe Koormuziek (Amsterdam), the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Metamorphosen String Orchestra (Boston), the Deutsche Kammerakademie Orchester (Cologne), the Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt) and the Orchestre J.B. Vuillaume (Paris). Oesterle has received commissions from Montreal's Quatuor Euterpe, The Little Chamber Music Series That Could (Vancouver), the Ensemble intercontemporain IRCAM (Paris), the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain (Lyon), and the Berliner Musik Biennale 1999 for the Berlin Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester.

Composition Style

Michael Oesterle's composition style, while reminiscent of the music of some American minimalist composers (e.g., John Adams or Terry Riley), remains, on the level of its varied sonorities, sophisticated use of timbres, and postmodern techniques, akin to the newer tendencies in European composition. His music takes great care with instrumental idioms and offers a balance between simplicity and complexity that appeals to both audiences and performers and resides at the stylistic crossroads of late 20th- and early 21st-century composition.

An artist who is often inspired by other art forms, Oesterle has collaborated with composer Gerhard Staebler; violinist Clemens Merkel; painter Christine Unger; artists Wanda Koop and Bonnie Baxter; and choreographers Isabelle Van Grimde, Barbara Bourget and Dominique Porte. He has also composed the music for several animated films by Christopher Hinton, including the Genie-winning animated short cNOTE (2004), produced by the National Film Board.

Awards and Appointments

In 1997, Oesterle and pianist Marc Couroux founded the Ensemble KORE in Montreal to encourage the creation and promotion of dynamic and innovative contemporary music by Canadian musicians. From 2001 to 2004, Oesterle was composer-in-residence for the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal.

Oesterle has been the recipient of the BMI William Schuman Award (1993-1994, New York), the Prix Gaudeamus (1995, Amsterdam), the grand prize in the CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers (1997), and the Canada Council's Robert Fleming Prize (1997) and Jules Léger Prize (1998). He was also a nominee for the Opus Prize from the Conseil québécois de la musique for best composition in 2011.

Selected Compositions

Still. 1995. Oboe, 2 piccolos, 2 trombones, 2 percussionists, 2 violas

Tarkovsky Cycle. 1996

L'effusione d'amicizia IV. 1997. Viola

Reprise. 1997. Cello, ensemble

Courage. 1998. String quartet

Essence. 1998. Orchestra

Ur. 1998-2001. Oboe d'amore

Clarinet Quintet. 1999

L'effusione d'amicizia V (on a text by Giordano Bruno). 1999

En-Kore. 1999. Piano

Urban Canticle. 1999. Flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion

Daydream Mechanics II. 2000. 6 percussion

Anytime. 2003. 2 soprano saxophones, 2 alto saxophones, 4 percussionists

Daydream Mechanics III. 2007. Violin, 2 string orchestras

Archimedes Codex. 2008. Violin, orchestra

Alan Turing -- Solace for Irreversible Losses. 2010. String quartet

Selected Discography

À Quelle Heure Commence Le Temps?. 2007. Oesterle - Provost - Tremblay. Nouvel Ensemble Moderne / Lorraine Vaillancourt. Atma Classique ACD2 2376

L'hiver monastique. 2010. Clemens Merkel - Michael Oesterle. Label QB CQB 0703

Nouveaux Territoires 03. 2010. Ensemble contemporain de Montréal. Atma Classique ACD2 2582