Rebecca Saunders was born in London in 1967. She studied composition at Edinburgh University with Nigel Osborne and with Wolfgang Rihm in Germany. She is currently Professor of Composition at the Hochschule für Musik Theater und Medien Hannover, and lives in Berlin.
One of the leading and most original compositional voices of her generation her music has been recognised with several prestigious awards, including the Ernst von Siemens Förderpreis, the ARD und BMW musicaviva Prize, the Paul Hindemith Prize, the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award For Chamber Music (twice, in 2008 and 2012), and the GEMA Music Prize for Instrumental Music 2010.
In 2009 she became a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts, and was the Composer-in-Residence at the Staatskapelle Dresden for the 2009/2010 season.
Rebecca Saunders is regularly in demand as a guest composition tutor and has taught at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, most recently in 2010 and 2012, at Impuls in Graz and at the Ostrava Music Days.
Since 2003, Saunders has intensified her interest in the sculptural properties of organised sound. chroma (2003-2013) explores a collage of twenty-four chamber groups and sound sources in several spaces. Since its premiere in 2003, 19 new versions have been created for radically different performance spaces. The characteristics of each new architecture define the formal juxtaposition of the various chamber music groups, whereby each solo or group is like a protagonist in a form of instrumental theatre. insideout, music for a choreographed installation, was her first work for the stage and was created in collaboration with Sasha Waltz.
More recent works, such as Stirrings Still I and II, and murmurs, are quiet and fragile collage compositions. Her most recent spatial collage work, Stasis (2011), comprises 23 modules for 16 soloists, and expands her complex collage structures over an extended time-frame of 50 minutes.
Saunders´ present compositional preoccupation is an investigation of the musical soloist in two distinct ways: in 2013 and 2014 she is writing an expansive series of works for individual performers, and simultaneously continuing her interest in works for soloist in a concerto role; either for solo and orchestra or for solo and special ensemble instrumentations, with concertos for double percussion and for trumpet planned in 2014 and 2015.
Interview with Rebecca Saunders (Salzburger Biennale, 2013)
Interview with Rebecca Saunders