Composer David Philip Hefti

David Philip Hefti was born in Switzerland in 1975 and studied at the music academies of Zurich and Karlsruhe, where his teachers included Wolfgang Rihm, Rudolf Kelterborn and Cristóbal Halffter. He is active today as both composer and conductor. Hefti’s ca 80 works encompass orchestral, vocal and chamber music. He has written works for artists such as Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Lawrence Power, Hartmut Rohde, Baiba Skride, Jan Vogler and Antje Weithaas, and as both conductor and composer he has worked with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Bavarian Radio, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Berlin Baroque Soloists and the Ensemble Modern. His works have been performed by conductors such as Peter Eötvös, Cornelius Meister, Kent Nagano, Jonathan Nott and David Zinman, and he has been invited to participate at festivals including Wien Modern, Beijing Modern, Ultraschall Berlin, the Lucerne Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Pablo Casals Festival in Prades and the Suntory Festival in Tokyo. In 2013, Hefti was awarded the Composer Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and in 2015 the Hindemith Prize of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. In May 2017, his first opera, Anna’s Mask, was given its world première at the St. Gallen Theatre under Otto Tausk. And in November 2018, Hefti’s second music-theatre piece, The Snow Queen, a story in music for the whole family based on Hans Christian Andersen, was premièred in the Tonhalle Maag in Zurich. The title role was sung by the soprano Mojca Erdmann, while Hefti himself conducted the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra.

In the 2021/22 season, several works by David Philip Hefti were given their first performances: A new arrangement of Gustav Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder for high voice and string quartet and Hefti’s own Sixth String Quartet, Five Scenes for Gustav, were performed in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and elsewhere by the soprano Juliane Banse and the Amaryllis Quartet. The Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra Four Moments was recorded for CD by Philipp Jundt and the Berlin Baroque Soloists under the baton of the composer. Hefti’s Songs of sorrow, songs of joy – Concerto No. 2 for Viola and String Orchestra was also given its world première in the Cologne Philharmonic, with Lawrence Power accompanied by the Camerata Zürich and conducted by the composer; a further performance was given the day after in the Zurich Tonhalle. New CDs were also released of The Snow Queen and Light and Shade, as well as the album Shades of Love: Korean Drama Soundtracks, featuring Hefti’s conducting debut with Deutsche Grammophon. This recording was made under Hefti’s direction, together with top-ranking artists including James Galway, Daniel Hope, Philipp Jundt, Sebastian Knauer, Albrecht Mayer, Richard O’Neill and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra; it reached No. 1 in the Korean classical music charts.

Further first performances are planned in the current season, 2022/23. In September, Benjamin Appl will sing a new work by Hefti for baritone and orchestra to texts by Sir Salman Rushdie, accompanied by the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn under the direction of Case Scaglione. In the New Year, the Kebyart Ensemble will give the first performance of a saxophone quartet in the Zurich Tonhalle and the Basel Casino. After that, Hefti’s successful collaboration with the Berlin Baroque Soloists will continue, with a CD production of a new work for string orchestra. The close of the season will see Hefti’s first ballet (on Schubert’s Death and the Maiden) performed by the ballet ensemble of Graz Opera, with choreography by Beate Vollack. Hefti is currently busy with a new work for the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berliner Philharmoniker.