Estonian Liisa Hirsch wins the European Composer Award

Young Estonian composer Liisa Hirsch’s orchestral piece “Mechanics of Flying” won the European Composer Award at the festival Young Euro Classic in Berlin.

Hirsch, who is relatively unknown in her homeland, competed at the Young Euro Classic competition in Germany. Taking place for over two weeks every summer at Berlin’s Konzerthaus, the contest has become an important platform for young, international, orchestra musicians in the European classical music tradition.

Hirsch’s winning work, orchestral piece “Mechanics of Flying”, premiered at the festival and was performed by the Orchestra of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre – the school where Hirsch originally earned her degree in composition. She finished her MA studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and has also studied piano and synthesisers.

Her musical expression is described as “closely related with improvisation” and she has mainly created for theatre and film, but Hirsch has also collaborated with choreographers and dancers. Hirsch’s music is characterised by sensitivity to timbre, intense focus on sound and purity of form.

Hirsch has played keyboards, synthesisers and electronics in different collectives focused on free improvisation or indie music as well as sung in Estonian vocal ensemble Heinavanker, the Tallinn Music High School Chamber Choir and the Tallinn University Chamber Choir.

The awards are not alien to her – for her music to theatre, Hirsch has twice received the Estonian Theatre Annual Award. In 2015, her work “Brautigan Circles” for voices and large ensemble was selected as the winning piece at the young composers’ meeting in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, organised by Dutch ensemble Orkest de Erenprijs.


Cover: Liisa Hirsch (photo by Harri Rospu).

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