Georg Friedrich Haas was born in 1953 in Graz, a city in the east of Austria. His childhood was spent in the mountainous province of Vorarlberg, on the Swiss border. The landscape and the atmosphere of the place have left a lasting impression on his personality.
To study music, Haas returned to his native city where his professors were Gösta Neuwirth and Ivan Eröd. Later, he continued his studies in Vienna with Friedrich Cerha. He also attended the Darmstadt summer courses as well as attending an internship on composition and computer music at the Ircam in Paris.
Based on the integration of the harmonic specter (the Violin Concerto and in vain) as well as the dialectic between individual parts and the global results (… Einklang freier Wesen …), the music of Georg Friedrich Haas—which has always led to sound experimentation—presents creative qualities and invites the public to discover new musical territories. Realizing the limits of the tempered range’s acoustic and harmonic possibilities, the composer then considers microtonality (Nacht). He also wrote several pieces to be performed in total darkness, as a tribute to his interest of the indistinct.
His works have been on the program of the following festivals: Donaueschingen Festival, Ars Musica of Brussels, Musica Viva of Munich, Klangspuren Schwaz in Austria and Wien Modern. He was also the “Festival Composer” of the Borealis Festival in Bergen, Norway in 2006. His opera Melancholia was created in 2008 at the Palais Garnier in Paris.
Since 1978, Haas teaches at the Graz Conservatory of Music. He also teaches at the Music Academy of Basel in Switzerland since 2005, before succeeding Tristan Murail as professor of composition at Columbia University (New York) in 2013.
A daringly innovative composer of rich imaginative power, a homo politicus aware of his responsibilities as a citizen, Georg Friedrich Haas is one of the leading artists in Europe today. Among the prizes he has won are the SWR Symphony Orchestra Composition Prize 2010, the Music Award of the City of Vienna 2012 and the Music Award Salzburg 2013.