Ofer Pelz

Montreal (Quebec)

Ofer Pelz was born in Haifa, Israel and lives in Montreal. Ofer composes music for diverse combinations of instruments and electroacoustic media and is also an active improviser.

His music explores the concept he defines as "unstable repetition" – repetitive fragments which always vary from repetition to repetition, all the while trying to keep a perceivable tension. The work of Ofer Pelz has been recognized by the reception of many international prizes, including two ACUM awards and the Ernst Von Siemens Grant.

His music is played regularly in Europe, USA, Canada and Israel in festivals such as Manifeste (IRCAM), La Biennale di Venezia, MATA Festival, Zeitkunst Festival Radialsystem (Berlin),  Nuova Consonanza (Rome) and Heidelberger Biennale für Neue Musik. Among the ensembles that have played Pelz's music are Meitar Ensemble, Cairn Ensemble, Ardeo String Quartet, Israel Contemporary Players, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and Quatuor Ardeo Architek Percussion.

Ofer received a Masters with excellence in composition and music theory from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Following that, he pursued studies in instrumental and electroacoustic composition at the Conservatory of Blanc-Mesnil with Thierry Blondeau et Gilles Racot, as well as at Paris Conservatory and at IRCAM. He completed his doctorate in music at the l’Université de Montréal with Ana Sokolovic and Caroline Traube in April, 2018.


"I need to hear it first"

For saxophone quartet

The starting idea is the visual and sound image of the shadow. The shadow may be both considered as a reflection of an object, or its duplication in a modified way. I question the ambiguity between repetition and variation. I would like to use amplification as well as electronics in real time, as an opaque object where the instruments are the source, and where the shadow is the sound result. Technically, it is the use (metaphorical or real) of delay, resonance, and transformations thereof.

« For me, in music, the image of the shadow means an incorrect duplication. »

Meeting Ofer Pelz

I need to hear it first


My work often begins with research, the appropriation of an image in sound. In I need to hear it first, this image is constructed our of granular points which, by their proximity, form a musical figure. This figure repeats and transforms itself constantly, retaining the trace of earlier instantiations. In my music, I explore repetition in an inexact manner: subtle changes are produced in each iteration, and these changes reappear both in the musical material itself and in the variation of the auditory perspective.

For a number of years, during my adolescence, I practised tenor saxophone and played in the school's Big Band. This work is an occasion to explore this instrument as composer for (almost) the first time, I am endeavouring to treat the instruments here as one, composed of four individuals, and not as four instruments creating an ensemble. The creative process of workshopping the piece with Quasar permitted me to explore many directions before finding that of the of the final work.

A large part of the tones I explore present very fine nuances and delicate modes of playing, which allow me to obtain a wide variety of expressions which would otherwise not be accessible; one finds therein a fragility in the sound, vibrations, granulation, a whole range of “parasitic” noises.

The name of the piece came to me during a discussion with a friend on this subject. He told me, “I need to hear it first”, and I then decided to simply call it that. The piece is divided into several small sections comprising words in Hebrew and English, which are a melange of all the names I wanted to give to the piece: Tetarim tetarim, Alma, Hie, Pash, Southwest, How many mics ?, Acoustic fields, Northeast, Coda.