Wieland Hoban

Wieland Hoban

Wieland Hoban (born 1978 in London) is a British composer, now resident in Germany.

Hoban studied at the University of Bristol with Jonathan Cross from 1997-98, then at the Musikhochschule Frankfurt/Main from 1998-2003 with Gerhard Müller-Hornbach, Isabel Mundry and Hans Zender. His works have been played by various European ensembles and soloists.

His music is unique and radical, and reflects in part distinct influences from both British and German culture (having grown up in Britain to an American father and German mother, later moving to live in Germany), combining elements of Central European pessimism and scepticism towards reified musical expression with a more characteristically British need for clarity of utterance. Whilst sometimes composing in a hyper-expressionist style (as for example in his string quartet "Jormungandr" (2001), reflecting influences of Brian Ferneyhough and Iannis Xenakis), other works are more focussed upon processual working (for example in "Doppelte Warheit" (2002) for four players) tracing and re-tracing material as if in a type of bleak 'endgame'. His piano piece "when the panting STARTS" (2002-04) (written for pianist Ian Pace) extends further a conception of the instrument to be found earlier in the piece "Tract" by composer Richard Barrett, specifically of the piano being an instrument for ten fingers rather than two hands. Accordingly, it is written on ten staves throughout, involving often complex and unusual fingerings designed to emphasise the element of physical struggle in the performance. Hoban is sometimes considered as a representative of the New Complexity; the influence of Ferneyhough and Barrett is clear, but no less so the attitude to structure and development of musical material in the later works of Morton Feldman and to a lesser extent the attitude to instruments, timbre and musical development in Helmut Lachenmann. In many ways Hoban's music seems a response to a situation affecting many young composers - how to respond to a world where so much music (and other cultural phenomena) is so freely available (through wide distributions of CDs, the internet and so on) without simply taking the attitude of a tourist? His answer to this question seems to be to place much emphasis on the immanent elements of musical process and structure in continually inventive and original manners rather than making a fetish out of material, style or genre.

The bilingual Hoban is also a translator, having translated several works of Theodor Adorno (including the correspondence with Alban Berg, 'Towards a Theory of Musical Reproduction', and Adorno's letters to his parents) for Polity Press, as well as numerous articles on contemporary music, notably for the journals 'Musik & Ästhetik' and 'New Music & Aesthetics in the 21st Century'. He also writes experimental texts; amongst his wider interests are Old High German and Anglo-Saxon.

His father is the writer Russell Hoban, a text from whom he set in his piece "Night Roads" (1998-99).

External links

* [http://composers21.com/compdocs/hobanw.htm Page on Wieland Hoban at the Living Composers Project]
* [http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/articles/generaltopics/Hoban_Amateur&Expert.htm Article 'Amateur and Expert']
* [http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/articles/generaltopics/Macmillan%20ringtone.htm Article on Adorno and ringtones]
* [http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/684/music.htm Article 'Quixotic windmills']
* [http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/691/music.htm Article 'Straw men and solitary revolution']
* [http://www.searchnewmusic.org Article 'Composition and Consciousness: The Precarious Negotiation between the Aesthetic and the Worldly']

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