|Born||7 April 1965, Gouda|
|Books||Locus, Logos, [Speling], Geluksbrenger, gestamelde werken, Curvices and Musicles, gestammelte werke, verdere bijzonderheden|
|Albums||Sacro Monte, Platonic ID, Pulsars|
|Awards||Stipends Composition Performing Arts Fund, Stipends Flemish Literature Fund, Chairman of the jury Gaudeamus Music Week, Columbia University fellowships, Fulbright scholarship|
|Affiliation||Uitgeverij Querido, Attacca Productions, Donemus Publishing, Uitgeverij Vleugels|
|Influenced by||Louis Andriessen, Tristan Murail, Hadewijch, Guillaume de Machaut, Emily Dickinson, Paul Celan, Iannis Xenakis, Friederike Mayröcker, Morton Feldman, Jan Kuijper, Anne Carson|
|Related to||Michel van der Aa, Peter Adriaansz, Richard Ayres, Anneke Brassinga, James Fei, Eva Gerlach, Katharina Rosenberger, Kaija Saariaho, Juliana Spahr, Samuel Vriezen, Miek Zwamborn|
|Education||Columbia University, Royal Conservatory, Twente Univeristy|
Rozalie Hirs (Gouda, April 7, 1965) is a contemporary Dutch composer and a poet. Her poetry and music are lyrical as well as experimental. The principal concerns of her work are the adventure of listening, reading, and the imagination. Her music consists of vocal, orchestral, and electronic compositions. She often combines traditional instruments with electronic sounds. Her poetry includes both printed collections and digital poetry: interactive poems created in collaboration with visual artists, and graphic designers.
Performers of her music include the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, ASKO|Schönberg, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bozzini Quartet, the Formalist Quartet, Klangforum Wien, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and Slagwerk Den Haag; she is herself a regular performer of her compositions for voice and electronic sounds, mostly on international festivals. Her music scores are published by Donemus Publishing, her CDs by Attacca Productions, her poetry books by Singeluitgeverijen|Querido.
Hirs holds degrees from Columbia University (Composition; Doctor of Musical Arts, 2007), the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague (Composition; Master of Music, 1998), and Twente University (Chemical Engineering; Master of Science, 1990).
1.1. Poetry in print
1.2. Interactive poetry and apps
1.3. Poetry and music
2.1. Orchestral music
2.2. Music for ensemble
2.3. Chamber music
2.4. Vocal music, based on own poetry
2.5. Music with spoken voice, based on own poetry
2.6. Electroacoustic and electronic music
2.7. Works of youth
3.1. Solo publications
3.2. Anthologies, magazines
3.4. Research, software
5. Biography, Distinctions, press photo
5.1. Music biography
5.2. Poetry biography
5.4. Press photos
6. External links
“Composing music and writing poetry are very closely related for me. By nature I am a dreamer, and while working I see play to be my main activity. The act of creation itself is in the first place intuitive and subconscious, reflection and awareness always follow later in the creative process. I play with the material, with words, sounds, meanings, notes. It’s an attitude that leads to intense experiences. You can only create something new when you take risks. Then the outcome can be a new experience for you as well as for others. Why do we love art? We like to have an experience that we haven’t had before, giving us new insights, or reminding us of something we have felt at some point yet have forgotten about. We wish to learn, get to know something about ourselves, about our world, our emotions, our thought.”
“As long as language exists, poetry is as unavoidable as one’s own life. In the best of cases, poetry and life lead to a beneficial expansion of consciousness. Poetry is language overflowing its boundaries. I think poetry shows our urge towards change, and movement. It’s not in our nature to (be able to) accept the limits of language (or life). A poet openly resists the limits of language. Poetry is a manifesto of resistance.”
Singeluitgeverijen|Querido, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, published Hirs’ five books of poetry in Dutch: Locus (1998), followed by Logos (2002), [speling] ([leeway], 2005), Geluksbrenger (Lucky charm, 2008), and gestamelde werken (work in stuttering, 2012). The poetry books Logos, Geluksbrenger, and gestamelde werken were also transformed into interactive online projects of digital poetry. Her first English poetry chapbook, Curvices and Musicles, was published by Studio 3005, Bleiswijk, The Netherlands, in 2013; a selection of ten poems was subsequently transformed into the poetry and music app Curvices. In the following year two poetry collections appeared in translation: ein tag (Berlin: hochroth Verlag, 2014; German translations: Ard Posthuma, Rozalie Hirs), and život mogućnosti (Banja Luka: Biblioteka Prevodi, 2014; Serbian, Croatian translations: Jelica Novaković, Radovan Lučić). Since 1992 her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary magazines in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, China, and Mexico. For a more extensive list of published poems, please view the alphabetical bibliography.
Poetry in print
“Hirs likes to go all the way, and thereby reaches for the highest points. She is a composer as well. Her best poems ‘sing’ and have a forceful melody. Ever since her debut collection from 1998, her development can be traced clearly. If the poems in Locus (1998) and Logos (2002) seemed traditional when taken by themselves, already the second collection was conceptually organized. Logos is a through-composed opus about the human body. In reading poem by poem, you can escape the concept, but on the middle pages it is clear as daylight what the poet’s intentions are. There, a skinned body points to two- or three-letter codes referring to the alphabetically ordered poems in the collection. Here, I think, Hirs made use of the constructive achievements of her education in chemical technology and composition. It was the first impulse for three subsequent volumes of poetry of ideas. In Speling (2005) the concept was still very modest. On the first 39 pages, the poems grow, more or less regularly, one line at a time. Then the system falters, and finally the lines fall apart all across ten pages. In Geluksbrenger (2008) Rozalie Hirs made further strides towards disintegration, especially syntactically. Her poetry did no longer obey linguistic laws. Her lines escape the rules of language and started even to swarm about guided by the typesetter’s hand. Work in stuttering, too, finds Hirs toying with the rules of communicative language. Rather than in proclamation her message is in sound and the atmosphere that is evoked thereby. A happy example of that is offered by one of the shortest poems in the collection. In her longer poems, Hirs constructs such atmospheres in no less sonorous ways. […] Hirs’ poetry intrigues me. Her stammering may be constructed, most of all she seems to be out on an investigation. And her investigations are a poetic adventure. Also for readers who are curious.” Arie van den Berg, NRC Handelsblad, 2013
“The poet Rozalie Hirs is an impressionist who likes to reveal how her work comes about. Instead of merging splinters into a natural whole, she breaks unities down to sparkling shards. What remains is often a stuttering, yet not that of a desperate poet who is not able to word the unsayable. Rather, Hirs tries joyfully to factorize the sayable. Her poetry is contructed through and through, while her starting point often is an experience of the senses, reminding of the Dutch poet Herman Gorter. She writes sensitive verses that ideosyncatically strive for a balance between romanticism and mathematics. [..] An important motif in gestamelde werken is the dawn of a new day, waking up to open your eyes for the light. In the first poem, the eyes set off into the morning like butterflies. In subsequent lines, poppies and cornflowers bloom and dreams are compared with silkworms that go to meet a sun in love. What they spin, however, is not silk but language. As soon as you try to see what it says on the level of words and word groups, you get lost, but if you read the poem out loud a few times, a convincing whole emerges. The second series involves an intriguing process of dismantling and repeated assembly. The material is given by the opening poem. [..} Hirs makes groups of words and sentences flow into one another in such a way that a polysemous stream of language arises. Some lines further on, the human figure is strikingly described as a ‘skin rock of water’. We are at once solid and fluid. The same holds for the poems, thorough constructions that are as ungraspable as water.” Piet Gerbrandy, De Groene Amsterdammer, 2012
“Hirs’ work goes straight into the cosmic noise and calls for action in utter subjectivity. See, just as you are seen. Name, just as you are named. Create, just as you are created. And read like a creator: stammering.” Joost Baars, Poëziekrant, 2012
“The musical poetry of Geluksbrenger is constructed along the line of a ‘counterpoint’. Within a poem, Hirs seems to be stacking different poems on top of each other, processing them, splicing them, mixing them, shaking them, letting them flow into one another. And this is one single motion. In one breath. In sustained breath. However composed and constructed her poems may be: the writing never feels artificial. Her poems desire. Her poems are blazing with exuberance, offering a large choice of possibilities. […] And the mill keeps turning many a poem long, the words keep on coming, the words are streaming. A stormy homecoming. Technically, she achieves this word-stream effect by eliding the punctuation marks (consistently every poem starts with a capital, surely a detail, but indicative of a striking meticulousness). Ever since Apollinaire this technique is an old trick but it works. Sentences seem to form bridges across each other, to overcome one another, to be ahead of each other, to inflate one another. This way poems appear that are chock full of anacolutha: a deconstructive stylistic device that is being used throughout the collection and that, as has been mentioned, keeps its effect of surprise.” Alain Delmotte, Poëzierapport, 2009
“How poetry imposes its own rules, is demonstrated unequivocally by the third collection of Rozalie Hirs (1965): [Speling]. My free interpretation is that in these poems, what is at stake is the leeway between the word and its meaning, between meaning and sensation. […] The questions that are posed in the first poems are really the starting point of the poetry that follows. […] A poetry that is at times bizarre, and with the best will in the world cannot be explained rationally. In short, a very multifaceted poetry. Hirs alternates this kind of associative, unpredictable and at times bizarre poetry, that on more than one occasion is reminiscent of Astrid Lampe, with clear, transparent, but even so enigmatic poems such as ‘[vlinder]’ and ‘[Duchamp]’. A musical poetry, too. […] A beautiful poetry that does not yield easily, that repulses and beguiles, that fascinates more and more, that ends up refusing to release the reader.” Edwin Fagel, De Recensent, 2005
The showpiece of the collection [Speling] then is the ten-page long ‘[In LA]’, which can be read as a meditation on music and memory, and in which the words find themselves interspersed with a large amount of white space. The stuttering of the speaker, ‘d d d dead’, gives the words weight and renders the meditations forceful. This stream of thoughts constitutes not so much a poem as a score, and this is borne out by the fact that you can order it on CD with the poet. On it, Hirs has juxtaposed and superimposed the words polyphonically so that an orchestrated ‘Cocktail Party Effect’ emerges: sentences mingling at different volumes, so that the main speaker is hard to distinguish from background sounds. The care of this project does not lead to a metropolitan cacophony (as in L.A., say), but to an image of how things may happen within a speaker’s head. ‘LA’ is short for Louis Andriessen, whose utterances Hirs has collected and vocalized. It is a sober tribute to Andriessen’s beautiful, heavy words, and the chosen form lends this thinking-out-loud a buzzing hesitance that every speaker experiences when trying to find language for grand things. Here we experience simplicity.” Johan Sonnenschein, Awater Poëzietijdschrift, 2005
Logos, Rozalie Hirs’ second collection of poems, has the reader traveling through the human body. Inside the book there is an anatomical drawing, made by artist Noëlle von Eugen, by which the reader can navigate through the collection. The logos of the title might refer to the laws of the body, with which we find ourselves confronted through the world. But also to thought, the imagination, and the word. In the many love poems, the beloved turns out to be a human being of flesh and blood, and at the same time, language.” Remco Ekkers, De Leeuwarder Courant. 2002
Hirs included an anatomical map within the collection, by which the reader might navigate through the book as if it were a body. Visual artist Noëlle von Eugen created this map. Along with the body parts, she listed abbreviations for the titles of all the poems in which that body part appears. Since the anatomical map in fact functions as a hyperstructure of the collection, the Logos website came about.
“In her first poetry book Locus Rozalie Hirs plays with masks. Her poems are monologues of personages stemming from Greek mythology, philosophy, and the Judeo-Christian tradition.” Hans Groenewegen, HN Magazine, 1998
“In addition we find references to films, plays, and poems: for example, the poem ‘Man Bites Dog’ refers to the Belgian mockumentary Man Bites Dog (C’est arrivé près de chez vous) from 1992, while the poem ‘Lucifer’ refers to the eponymous play by Joost van den Vondel from 1654 (and John Milton’s later Paradise Lost). The poet brings her archetypical personalities to life within the critical and formative circumstances, recalling the myth and presenting a new version of the tale. Almost without exception these poems deal with the ambiguity of situations we see ourselves confronted with in the world.” Remco Ekkers, Poëziekrant, 2005
Interactive poetry and apps
• Curvices Amsterdam (in collaboration with Ines Cox, Lauren Grusenmeyer, Yvan Vander Sanden, Machiel Spaan), 2015.
• Curvices (in collaboration with Cox & Grusenmeyer, Yvan Vander Sanden, Machiel Spaan), 2013. Commissioned by Musica, Belgium, for Klankenbos.
• zichtboek van gestamelde werken (virtual persona on five different social networks; in collaboration with Ines Cox, Lauren Grusenmeyer, Donald Gardner). Based on Hirs’ poetry book gestamelde werken Querido, Amsterdam, 2012.
• Geluksbrenger online, (in collaboration with Harm van den Dorpel), 2011. Based on Hirs’ poetry book Geluksbrenger, Querido, Amsterdam, 2008.
• Family Tree app (in collaboration with Harm van den Dorpel), 2006.
• Logos Digital (in collaboration with Matt Lee, Noëlle von Eugen), 2003. Based on Hirs’ poetry book Logos, Querido, Amsterdam, 2002.
Poetry and music
Since the mid-1980s Hirs has experimented with the integration of poetry in music and vice versa, initially as a singer songwriter in collaboration with her new wave band Boolean, then, during the 1990s, through sung and spoken voice in electronic or instrumental music compositions. Since 2003 she has developed a highly personal style of the music and poetry hybrid, where poetry is composed into simultaneous streams of spoken voices, or of spoken voice and electronic sounds. The music compositions In LA (2003), Pulsars (2006-07), Bridge of Babel (2009) appeared on the CD Pulsars (2010) with Attacca Productions. She performs these and other pieces with spoken voice and electronic or electroacoustic sounds regularly at international festivals. See below for full lists of vocal music and music with spoken voice.
In 2005 Rozalie Hirs wrote the libretto of the opera De genezing van de krekel (The Cricket Recovers) by Richard Ayres, commissioned by Almeida, London, and Aldeburgh Festival, based on the novella with the same name by Toon Tellegen. The libretto was translated into English by John Irons; the stage set was designed by the Brothers Quay. The opera received subsequent productions directed by Pierre Audi at Holland Festival (2011), Amsterdam, with the Junge Oper Stuttgart (2007), and at the Theater Basel (2017).
“Purified, as if washed clean—that is one way one might characterize the music of Rozalie Hirs (1965). Her work reveals itself with the greatest clarity; she creates a world in a few gestures. Within that world, sonic beauty is of greater importance than the display of technique or structure. Indeed, though Hirs’s points of departure are almost always austere and sober, she permits herself a great measure of intuition. The listener hears a number of associations that occur within the framework of the plot the composer has laid out. This is not to say that the she only works intuitively when constructing her works–quite the contrary. At first hearing, her gestures may seem simple but beneath them refined methods are hidden, rooted in mathematical or physical ideas. The unwary listener need not, in fact, be occupied with the mathematical rules underlying her music. Hirs seems to be most eager to bring about the soft, gleaming skin of sound. Each successive piece becomes more and more soulful and warm-blooded.” Anthony Fiumara, Platonic ID liner notes
“‘what is inside? / inside a word you mean?’, are the opening lines of Rozalie Hirs’s text for her electronic composition, Pulsars. Apt words for a composer whose work shows a marked interest in the inner workings of sound and language, on the physical level of acoustics and perception as well as on the level of expression and meaning. In fact, for Hirs, “meaning” itself is a physical phenomenon, always being produced and received by the neurology of our bodies. That makes words physical entities, not only because they are, as sounds, subject to the laws of acoustics, but also because meaning itself is a process that happens within the body, and is therefore produced by nature. Thus it is nature that we can find at work “inside” words. At the same time, of course, meanings are cultural – they are the means by which we communicate. That aspect, too, can be found within the lines quoted: the questions are addressed to a ‘you’. This ‘you’, however, appears only after the main question: what is inside, inside a word? Which might suggest that culture follows nature: the nature of our bodies and our neurology makes it possible for us to have words and meanings, and on the basis of that, culture.” Samuel Vriezen, Pulsars liner notes
Orchestral music (15 musicians or more)
• The honeycomb conjecture (2015) 13′
2fl, ob, cl, bcl, fg, 2cor, 2trp, btrb, 2perc, pf, 2vln, 2va, 2vc, cb, electronic sounds
• Atlantis ampersand (music, text: Rozalie Hirs; 2015) 22′
2fl, cl, bcl, cfg, cor, trp, trb, acc, 2perc, pf, 8-part soloists’ choir 2-2-2-2 (or choir 32 voices minimum), 2vln, va, vc, cb, electronic sounds
• Lichtende drift (2014) 10′
strings 6-6-5-4-2 divisi
• Ain, silabar ain (2013) 20′
cl, 5sax, 5trp, 5trb, tba, e-gt, b-gt, pf, 2perc (I: fully notated score; II: open score for improv)
• Roseherte (2008; 2014) 15′
3-3-3-3, 4-3-3-1, 4perc, cel, pf, arp, str 16-14-12-10-8, electronic sounds (version for symphony orchestra, 2008)
2-2-2-2, 2-2-2-1, 2perc, pf, arp, strings 6-6-4-4-2 divisi, electronic sounds (version for orchestra, 2014)
• Platonic ID (2006) 18′
picc, fl, cl, bcl, pf 4-hands, 2vln, 2va, 2vc, cb (or with a string orchestra)
• Book of mirrors (film: Joost Rekveld; 2001) 11′
fl, ob, cl, fg, cor, trp, trb, arp, e-gt, pf, 2perc, 2vln, 2va, 2vc, cb
Music for ensemble (4-14 musicians)
• parallel world [breathing] (2017) 14′
fl, cl, 2arp, perc, vln, va, vc, electronic sounds
• Nadir (2014) 20′
2vln, va, vc, electronic sounds
• Arbre généalogique (music, poem: Rozalie Hirs; 2011) 22′
fl/afl, ob/ca, cl/bcl, fg/cfg, cor, perc, pf, sop, 2vl, va, vc, cb, electronic sounds
• Zenit (2010) 15′
2vln, va, vc
• Venus [evening star] [invisible] [morming star] (2010) 20′
6perc (vibraphones, crotales, bell plates, bowed cymbals, sixxen), 6 channel electronic sounds
• Little whale and the ice (2010) 13′
fl, fl/afl, cl/bcl, asax/ssax, bsax/asax, cor, trp, 2trb, tba, perc, pf, e-git, b-git
• a-book-of-light (2003) 17′
fl, ob, cl, cor, trp, pf, perc, vln, va, vc, cb, electronic sounds
• Sacro Monte (1997) 11′
fl, cl, cor, perc, pf, 2vln, va, vc, cb
Chamber music (1-3 musicians)
• Meditations (2017)
pf, electronic sounds
• On Tenderness (2017) 7′
pf, electronic sounds
• Infinity Stairs (2014) 10′
fl, bcl, e-gt, electronic sounds
• article 8 [infinity] (2014) 11′
fl, electronic sounds
• article 6 [six waves] (2013) 10′
e-gt, electronic sounds
• article 7 [seven ways to climb a mountain] (2012) 13′
bcl, electronic sounds
• article 5 [dolphin, curved time] (music, text: Rozalie Hirs; 2008) 8′
• article 4 [map butterfly] (2004) 10′
• article 1 to 3 [the] [aleph] [a] (2003) 12′
• article 0 [transarctic buddha] (2000) 8′
perc (vibraphone, cowbells or thai gongs, crotales, 23 pitched stone slabs)
Vocal music, based on own poetry
• Atlantis ampersand (music, text: Rozalie Hirs; 2015) 22′
2fl, cl, bcl, cfg, cor, trp, trb, acc, 2perc, pf, 8-part soloists’ choir 2-2-2-2 (or choir 32 voices minimum), 2vln, va, vc, cb, electronic sounds
• Three songs for Curvices: Proofs of Love, Words roll into brightness, This singing of tongues (English; 2013) 8′
voice, e-gt, b-gt, drums
• Arbre généalogique (French; translation: Henri Deluy; 2011) 22′
fl/afl, ob/ca, cl/bcl, fg/cfg, cor, perc, pf, sop, 2vl, va, vc, cb, electronic sounds
• article 5 [dolphin, curved time] (Dutch or English; English translation: Willem Groenewegen; 2008) 8′
Music with spoken voice, based on own poetry
• Tijd en sintel (Dutch or English; English translation: Mia You; 2016) 8′
spoken voice, 31-tone organ & electronic sounds
• In state of [war] (Dutch; 2013) 8′
12 spoken voices
• Seven tracks for Curvices: Six destinations, Aurora borealis, Ladders of escape, Too many snakes here, Climbing a small rock, Substance of memory, Lines of moving about desert, salt water, cities (English; 2013) 21′
spoken voice, electroacoustic & electronic sounds
• Bridge of Babel (multilingual; 2009) 7′
spoken voice, electronic sounds
• Curved space (Dutch or English; English translation: Donald Gardner; 2009) 27′
spoken voice, fl, bcl/cbcl, try/lapsteel gt, pf, cb, live electronics
• Poetry pieces I-III [heaven bleak, dolphin, family tree] (Dutch or English or German; English translations: Willem Groenewegen, Donald Gardner; 2008) 5′
spoken voice, soundtrack
• Pulsars movement IV (English: 2007) 6′
spoken voice, prerecorded voices, electroacoustic soundtrack
• Vlinders, gras (Dutch: 2007) 5′
4 spoken voices
• Aan de zon, de wereld (Dutch; 2006) 11′
spoken voice, electroacoustic soundtrack
• Van het wonder is woord (Dutch; 2005) 3′
spoken voice, prerecorded voices, electronic sounds
• Klangtext, Textklang (German; music: Rozalie Hirs, James Fei; 2004) 27′
spoken voice, live analogue electronics (open score for improv)
• A throwaway coincidence that determined everything (English/multilingual; film: Paul Leyton; 2004) 2′
spoken voices, soundtrack for film
• In LA (Dutch, 2003; English, 2010) 18′
6 spoken voices
Electroacoustic or electronic music
• Luisterhuis (2017) 37′
electroacoustic composition for architectural installation sculpture (design: M3H architecten)
• Hilbert’s Hotel (2015) 8′
31-tone MIDI controlled player organ, electronic sounds
• Interlude for Curvices (2013) 18′
• Pulsars movements I-III, V (2007) 22′
• Geluksbrenger (2010) 10′
electronic music for website
• For Morton Feldman (2000) 12′
Most of her other early music compositions composed during the 1990s and the early 2000s can be regarded as mere works of youth.
Poetry books (Dutch)
• verdere bijzonderheden. Amsterdam: Querido, 2017. ISBN 978-90-214-0857-6. 56 pages. (December 2017)
• gestamelde werken. Amsterdam: Singeluitgeverijen|Querido, The Netherlands, 2012. ISBN 978-90-214-4243-3. 88 pages.
• Geluksbrenger. Amsterdam: Singeluitgeverijen|Querido, The Netherlands, 2008. ISBN 978-90-214-3503-9. 76 pages.
• Het komt voor (image: Marijke van Warmerdam). Hilversum: Uitgeverij 69. 2008. The Netherlands. Bibliofile (chapbook). 14 pages.
• Speling. Amsterdam: Singeluitgeverijen|Querido, The Netherlands, 2005. ISBN 90-214-6734-8. 56 pages.
• Logos. Amsterdam: Singeluitgeverijen|Querido, The Netherlands, 2002. ISBN 90-214-6708-9. 48 pages.
• Locus. Amsterdam: Singeluitgeverijen|Querido, The Netherlands, 1998. ISBN 90-214-6643-0. 56 pages.
Poetry books in other languages
• gestammelte werke (Dutch, English, German: original languages; German translation: Daniela Seel, Rozalie Hirs, Ard Posthuma; French translation: Henri Deluy, Kim Andringa, Daniel Cunin; Spanish translation: Diego Puls; English translation: Donald Gardner, Willem Groenewegen, Moze Jacobs; Russian translation: Nina Tarhan Mouravi; Swedish translation: Boerje Bohlin; Chinese translation: Aurea Sison; Albanian translation: Papleka Anton; Serbian translation: Jelica Novaković; Croatian translation: Radovan Lucic; Lithuanian translation: Ausra Gudaviciute, Gytis Norvilas), Berlin: kookbooks, 2017. Germany. ISBN 978-39-374-4567-0. 240pp. Buy at Amazon.
• život mogućnosti (Serbian, Croatian translation: Jelica Novaković, Radovan Lučić). Banja Luka: Kuća Poezije/Biblioteka Prevodi, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2014. ISBN 978-99-955-8050-6. 124 pages.
• ein tag (German translation: Ard Posthuma, Jan Oberländer, Rozalie Hirs). Berlin: hochroth Verlag, Germany, 2014. ISBN 978-3-902871-50-3. 40 pages. Buy at hochroth.
• Curvices and musicles (English; original language). Bleiswijk: Uitgeverij Vleugels, The Netherlands, 2013. Bibliophile (chapbook). 24 pages.
• Pulsars (music, poetry). Amsterdam: Attacca Productions, The Netherlands, 2010.
• Platonic ID (music). Amsterdam: Attacca Productions, The Netherlands, 2007.
• In LA (music, poetry). Boxtel: Drukkerij Tielen. The Netherlands. 2003.
• Sacro Monte (music). Amsterdam: MCN, NMClassics, The Netherlands, 1998.
• Invisible Self (music). Enschede: CSTM, The Netherlands, 1997.
Publications in anthologies, magazines
Music in anthologies
Her music compositions appear on the following cds.
• Six, Slagwerk Den Haag (works by Peter Adriaansz, Maarten Altena, Luiz Yudo, Tom Johnson, Xenakis, Steve Reich, and Rozalie Hirs), Amsterdam: Attacca Productions, The Netherlands. 2015.
• Ladder of Escape 11, Fie Schouten (works by Stockhausen, Kagel, Rozalie Hirs, Robin de Raaff, Unsuk Chin), Amsterdam: Attacca Productions, The Netherlands. 2014.
• Takao Hyakutome: Works for solo violin (works by Applebaum, Berio, Hirs, Hyakutome, Kimura, Luppi), 2011.
• Anthology of Dutch Electronic Music 1999-2000, Amsterdam: Basta Music/ MCN, 2011.
• Red, White & Blues, Marcel Worms, Amsterdam: Attacca Productions, 2010.
• Traces, Spuren. Johannes Fischer. Leipzig: Genuin/ Deutschlandradio, 2009.
• Works for Percussion (works by Cage, Xenakis, Ferneyhough, Volans, Javier Alvarez, Rozalie Hirs, Arnold Marinissen, Willem Boogman, Michel van der Aa), Arnold Marinissen, Amsterdam, 2002.
• Soundscape Amsterdam. Ssccd 001. Amsterdam: Staalplaat. 1995.
• Music Box. 32 composities voor speeldoos. EW 9413. Hilversum: VPRO Eigen Wijs, 1994.
Columns in magazines
During the 2013/14 season Rozalie Hirs was columnist for Preludium, the programme book of Concertgebouw and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
• R. Hirs, ‘Zo ben je, zo ben je niet’, Preludium Vol.72 issue 10, Amsterdam, June 2014.
• R. Hirs, ‘Longkruid’, Preludium Vol.72 issue 8, Amsterdam, April 2014.
• R. Hirs, ‘Spiegelen’, Preludium Vol.72 issue 7, Amsterdam, March 2014.
• R. Hirs, ‘Pingpongballen’, Preludium Vol.72 issue 4, Amsterdam, December 2013.
• R. Hirs, ‘Luisteren’, Preludium Vol.72 issue 2, Amsterdam, October 2013.
• R. Hirs, ‘Zeitgenössische Kompositionstechniken und OpenMusic: Murail’s Le Lac’ (vert. L. Haselböck), Klangperspektiven (herausgegeben von Lukas Haselböck), Wolke Verlag, Hofheim, Germany, 2011. pp 119–164. ISBN 978-393-600-081-8.
• R. Hirs, B. Gilmore, eds., Contemporary Compositional Techniques and OpenMusic, Collection Musique/Sciences, Paris: Editions Delatour/IRCAM, France, 2009. ISBN 978-275-210-080-1.
• R. Hirs, ‘Frequency-based compositional techniques in the music of Tristan Murail’, Contemporary Compositional Techniques and OpenMusic, Collection Musique/Sciences, Paris: Editions Delatour/IRCAM, France, 2009. pp 93–196. ISBN 978-275-210-080-1.
• R. Hirs, ‘On Murail’s Le lac’, D.M.A. dissertation, Columbia University/New York, Ann Arbor: ProQuest, United States, 2007; Contemporary Compositional Techniques and OpenMusic, Collection Musique/Sciences, Paris: Editions Delatour/IRCAM, France, 2009. pp 45–89. ISBN 978-275-210-080-1.
Alles is onderzoek: een gesprek met Rozalie Hirs. Interview (Dutch) by Johan de Boose. Poëziekrant 6/2017. Poëziecentrum, Ghent, Belgium, December 2017.
Leven, mogelijkheden. Interview (Dutch) by Mila Vojinovic. Paukenslag! Nr.14, University of Belgrade, Serbia, June 2014.
Het gaat allemaal over keuzes maken. Interview (Dutch) by An Prudon and Aafje de Roest. Vooys, University of Amsterdam, May 2014.
De schrijfkamer: Rozalie Hirs. Interview (Dutch) by Kenneth van Zijl, Knetterende Letteren, NTR Television, The Netherlands, April 2013.
The surprise of love and writing. Interview with Caroline Bergvall (English) by Rozalie Hirs. Jacket2, United States, 15 February 2013.
Podcast: Rozalie Hirs. Interview (English) by Ryan Van Winkle. Scottish Poetry Library, UK, December 2012.
De Avonden: Rozalie Hirs en gestamelde werken. Interview (Dutch) by Jeroen van Kan. VPRO Radio, The Netherlands, 17 October 2012.
Anke Brouwer en Rozalie Hirs. Interviews (Dutch) by Agnes van der Horst. Nederlandse Muziekdagen 2008, NPO Televisie, The Netherlands, November 2008.
Dubbeltalenten: Rozalie Hirs – Ik speel als ik werk. Interview (Dutch) by Victor Schiferli. Hollands Diep, The Netherlands, Summer 2007.
Cantina: Rozalie Hirs. Interview (Dutch) by Aad van Nieuwkerk. VPRO Radio, The Netherlands, 14 November 2006.
Café Sonore: Rozalie Hirs en Pulsars. Interview (Dutch) by Armeno Alberts. VPRO Radio, The Netherlands, 23 May 2006.
Na zeshonderd milliseconden. Interview (Dutch) by Remco Ekkers. Poëziekrant 5, September-October 2005, Poëziecentrum, Ghent, Belgium, 2005.
De Avonden: Rozalie Hirs en Platonic ID. Interview (Dutch) by Wouter Pleijsier. VPRO Radio, The Netherlands, 9 June 2005.
De kleine zaal: Rozalie Hirs. Interview (Dutch) by Arnoud van Adrichem. De Contrabas, The Netherlands, 2005.
Rozalie Hirs toont de zachte glimmende huid van de klanken in haar muziek en poëzie. Interview (Dutch) by Anthony Fiumara. Trouw, The Netherlands, 23 February 2005.
Organized violence in performance poetry: Rhythmical analyses of Family Tree by Rozalie Hirs and Handelsreiziger in intertekstualiteit by Barthesque from a cognitive perspective. Master’s thesis (Dutch) by Maarten Robberechts. University of Brussels, Belgium, 2015.
Curvices Amsterdam. Essay (Dutch) by René van Peer. 2015
Voelen denken. Introduction (Dutch, Serbian) by Laurens Ham. život mogućnosti, Kuća Poezije/Biblioteka Prevodi, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2014.
Zonder een lettergreep knoppen betasten. Essay (Dutch) by Piet Gerbrandy. nY #20, 2014.
Gekromde Ruimtes. Over het oeuvre van dichteres – componiste Rozalie Hirs. Essay (Dutch) by Jeroen Dera. Ons Erfdeel, Septentrion, n° 2 / 2013.
Zeg me of hinkelend een werkelijkheid gaat. Rozalie Hirs. gestamelde werken: een horizontale lectuur. Essay (Dutch) by Jeroen Dera. DW B 2013/ 4, Dietsche Warande & Belfort, Gent, 2013.
Vormen van Rozalie Hirs. Essay (Dutch) by Hans Groenewegen. Met schrijven zin verzamelen – over poëzie in de Lage Landen, Uitgeverij Wereldbibliotheek, Amsterdam, 2012.
Onontregeling. Over het werk van Rozalie Hirs. Essay (Dutch) by Laurens Ham. nY #11 (in druk), 2011; nY web (online), 12 december 2011.
Birds, words, and stars – Rozalie Hirs and the composition of inner life. Essay (English) by Samuel Vriezen. Pulsars, Attacca Productions, Amsterdam, 2010.
The soft gleaming skin of sounds. Essay (English) by Anthony Fiumara. Platonic ID, Attacca Productions, 2007.
Dichtende componisten: Rozalie Hirs. Essay (Dutch) by Els van Swol. Mens en Melodie 6/6, 2004.
Speling (Künstlerblätter der Werkstatt Junge Akademie 2004). Introduction (Dutch, German) by Cees Nooteboom. Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany, 2004.
“Hirs’ poetry intrigues me. Most of all she seems to be out on an investigation. And her investigations are a poetic adventure. Also for readers who are curious.” Arie van den Berg, NRC
“In all, a highly multifaceted poetry. A musical poetry, too. A beautiful poetry that does not yield easily, that repulses and beguiles, that fascinates more and more, that ends up refusing to release the reader.” Edwin Fagel, De Recensent
“She makes the words dance. She writes poems wearing ballet shoes. Dancing is thinking in body language. The constructions of sensibility. And dancing is litheness, suppleness. Her poetry is curiously elastic. Her poems swing from sentence to sentence, ever faster, ever more reckless.” Alain Delmotte, Poëzierapport
“Especially in her solo compositions, every single one of them a tender miracle of concentration and imagination, the exploration of sonic possibilities by varied repetition seems to be among the most important procedures.” Jochem Valkenburg, NRC Handelsblad
“That the table of elements knows few secrets for Hirs is shown by the high, enchanting mixed sounds of her article 0, played by metal percussion and rocks tuned to pitch.” Roland de Beer, Volkskrant
“Though the quality of performance and recording is impeccable in all four recordings, Sacro Monte by Rozalie Hirs has something unique, due to the fascinating performance by the Ives Ensemble. It’s a mysterious piece, with its Feldman-like, weightless weave of harmonics, buzzing metal sounds and its tinkling, widely spread piano tones. In spite of its quiet character the music is consistently in motion, and the mixture of timbres is so subtle that it takes a sharp ear to hear which instruments are at play. Even the CD case, which was designed like the three other ones by students of the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Den Haag, reflects the balanced transparency of this work. A faultless little treasure.” Frits van der Waa, Volkskrant
“Hirs writes music of a refreshingly original character. She examines and dissects sounds to a microscopic degree; after all, the world is sound! In each atom resides music. From the perspective of the scientist, billions of different vibrations are possible. Hirs re-arranges them with a harmonic equilibrium that is immediately arresting. To listen to these ‘sonic spaces’ as she calls her pieces is an exceptionally captivating experience.” Patricia Werner Leanse, Opzij
“At the other end of history came the world premiere of Rozalie Hirs’ engrossing string quartet Zenit, played by the superb new L.A.-based Formalist Quartet. Everything I might say about Hirs’ unsettled music I could also say the opposite. It is also quite settled. It forges ahead with tentative sounds and silences. It stops and starts yet flows. It has a hint of hard-hitting Dutch Minimalism, yet it offers a feast of radiant string harmonics, pulsating outside of rhythm.” Mark Swed, LA Times
Biography, distinctions, photo
Rozalie Hirs (Gouda, April 7, 1965) is a contemporary Dutch composer and a poet. Her music and poetry are lyrical as well as experimental. The principal concerns of her work are the adventure of listening, reading, and the imagination. Her music consists of vocal, orchestral, and electronic compositions. She developed a highly personal spectral style, inspired, on the one hand, by the acoustic and psychoacoustic properties of timbre and sound, and on the other hand, by the clear classicist structures of the Hague School. She often combines traditional instruments with electronic sounds. Her poetry includes both printed collections and digital poetry: interactive poems created in collaboration with visual artists, and graphic designers. Performers of her music include the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Asko|Schönberg, the Bozzini Quartet, Klangforum Wien, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and Slagwerk Den Haag; she is herself a regular performer of her compositions for voice and electronic sounds, mostly on international festivals. Her music scores are published by Donemus Publications, her CDs by Attacca Productions, her poetry books by Singel Uitgeverijen|Querido.
She holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree from Columbia University, where she studied as a Fulbright fellow with Tristan Murail (1999-2002), and a Master of Music degree from the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, where she studied with Diderik Wagenaar (1991-1994) and Louis Andriessen (1994-1998). During her time at the Royal Conservatoire she also took composition lessons with Gilius van Bergeijk and Clarence Barlow. At Columbia University she taught harmony and counterpoint as a Teaching Assistant; her thesis consisted of the essay Tristan Murail’s Le Lac, and her composition Platonic ID, a commission from Asko|Schönberg. Her debut publication as a composer, the CD Sacro Monte, appeared in 1999 and met with critical acclaim. In 2007, her CD Platonic ID featuring instrumental compositions was released by Attacca Productions, Amsterdam. In 2010, the CD Pulsars followed, with electroacoustic works on original texts.
Hirs’ compositions include commissions by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta (Lichtende Drift, 2014), Arnold Marinissen (article 0, 2000), ASKO|Schönberg (Book of Mirrors, 2001; Platonic ID, 2006; Arbre Généalogique, 2011, The honeycomb conjecture, 2015), Bozzini Quartet (Nadir, 2014), Formalist Quartet (Zenit, 2010), Holland Festival (Atlantis ampersand, 2015), the David Kweksilber Big Band (Ain Silabar Ain, 2013), Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (Roseherte, 2008), November Music (Nadir, 2014), NOW! Prismen (The honeycomb conjecture, 2015), Slagwerk Den Haag (Venus, 2010), and the VPRO broadcasting organization (Pulsars, 2007). All of these works have received financial support from the Netherlands Performing Arts Fund, VPRO, or Eduard van Beinum Foundation. At the invitation of the Nieuw Ensemble, she developed and curated the course Contemporary Compositional Techniques and OpenMusic, which she taught at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam during the 2005-06 academic year, together with guest professors Tristan Murail, Mikhail Malt, and Benjamin Thigpen. In 2009 the book of essays on this subject, she co-edtied with Bob Gilmore was published as part of the Collection Musique/Sciences of IRCAM|Éditions Delatour in Paris. During the academic year 2010-2011, Rozalie Hirs was guest lecturer at the Composition Department at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Rozalie Hirs was chairman of the jury for the Gaudeamus Music Prize 2011.
Rozalie Hirs (Gouda, April 7, 1965) is a contemporary Dutch poet and a composer of new music. Her poetry and music are lyrical as well as experimental. The principal concerns of her work are the adventure of listening, reading, and the imagination. Her poetry includes both printed collections (five in Dutch, one in German, one in Serbian) and digital poetry: interactive poems created in collaboration with visual artists, and graphic designers. These projects include the Logos website (2003), the Family Tree app (2006), Geluksbrenger online (2011) and Sightbook of work in stuttering (2012). Hirs is herself a regular performer of her electroacoustic compositions based on her own poetry, mostly on international literary festivals. Her music consists of vocal, orchestral, and electronic compositions. She often combines traditional instruments with electronic sounds. Her music scores are published by Donemus Publications, her CDs by Attacca Productions, her poetry books by Singel Uitgeverijen|Querido.
Listening and reading have influenced her poetry deeply. Playing with sound in multiple layers of meaning and with multiple possibilities for reading leads to a ‘fluid’ poetry. Among these layers, the reader may choose again and again, thus to a large extent shaping his or her own reading experience. The multitude of simultaneous reading possibilities and identities has become the essentially musical (i.e. ‘polyphonic’) trademark of Hirs’ poetry. In 2010, her CD Pulsars was released. On this CD, Hirs investigates polyglot language and the simultaneity of streams of meaning in three electroacoustic works using original texts.
The main part of her school years (1972-79) was spent in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. At first Hirs wrote letters, diaries, and a short story in German. At fourteen after reading Voor wie ik liefheb wil ik heten by the Dutch poet Neeltje Maria Min, Hirs wrote her first poem in Dutch. On 10 May 1991, during the Pythische Spelen (Pythian Games), a cultural student festival, in Enschede, she performed some of her poems (‘Adam’ and ‘Atrium Vestae’) in public for the first time; she received the third prize for poetry and, subsequently, an invitation by Jan Kuijper, who at the time was the poetry editor of the renowned publishing house Singeluitgeverijen|Querido. In 1992, her poems appeared in the Dutch literary review De Revisor. In 1995 she received the first prize for poetry during the Pythische Spelen in Amsterdam. That year, the poetry jury consisted of Neeltje Maria Min and Martin Reints. In 1998 her first Dutch poetry book appeared with Singeluitgeverijen|Querido, Locus, followed by Logos (2002), [speling] (2005), Geluksbrenger (2008), and gestamelde werken (2012). In 2014 these were followed by two poetry collections in translation, ein tag (Berlin: hochroth Verlag, 2014; German translations: Ard Posthuma, Rozalie Hirs) and život mogućnosti (Banja Luka: Biblioteka Prevodi, 2014; Serbian, Croatian translations: Jelica Novaković, Radovan Lučić). Since 1992 her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary magazines in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, China, and Mexico (alphabetical bibliography). Rozalie Hirs was jury member for the P. C. Hooft Award for poetry in 2015.
Book of Mirrors (2001) received the Boris and Edna Rapoport Prize 2002 of Columbia University. Roseherte (2008) and Zenit (2010) were selected for Toonzetters as ‘one of the ten most beautiful compositions of the previous year’. ‘Pulsars’ received the distinction ‘Recommended Work’ at the ‘Rostrum for Electronic Musis, Lissabon, Portugal, and was subsequently broadcast in twenty countries. As a composer Rozalie Hirs has received a two-year stipend from the Netherlands Performing Arts Fund in 2012-2013, a travel and development fellowship in 2011, as well as financial support for almost all commissions by ensembles, orchestras, and soloists since 2000. As a poet she has received awards and stipends for all her poetry books from either the Flemish Literary Fund, or the Netherlands Foundation for Literature. Rozalie Hirs is recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for her studies at Columbia University. Read more
foto ©2012 Marco Borggrgeve
More press photographs
Nieuw Amsterdams Peil/ Ensemble N.A.P.
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Slagwerk Den Haag
International Gaudemaus Music Week
Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ
Philharmonie Essen/ Festival NOW!
Poetry on the Road
StAnza International Poetry Festival
Transit Festival of Flanders