Rozalie Hirs

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Contemporary Compositional Techniques and OpenMusic (book, software)

Rozalie Hirs, Bob Gilmore: Contemporary Compositional Techniques and OpenMusic (Paris: IRCAM/Delatour, 2009)

The first part of this book contains an interview with Tristan Murail and three essays on musical works of Claude Vivier (Lonely child, 1980), Gérard Grisey (Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, 1997–98), and Tristan Murail (Le lac, 2001) by Bob Gilmore, Jean-Luc Hervé, and Rozalie Hirs. The authors provide detailed analyses of these works, focusing on the frequency-based techniques and compositional processes employed by the composers.

The second part of the book originated in OpenMusic and Contemporary Compositional Techniques, a series of lectures and workshops given by Rozalie Hirs and guest professors Tristan Murail, Mikhail Malt, Benjamin Thigpen, Marco Stroppa, and Niels Bogaards at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam during the 2005/06 academic year. The series was initiated by the Nieuw Ensemble and its artistic director, Joël Bons, as part of the annual Componistenpracticum. The Nieuw Ensemble and conductor Lucas Vis rehearsed and performed new pieces written by an international group of composition students from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatoire in the Netherlands. In turn, the students documented their creative process in the seven essays included in this volume. An extensive essay on Tristan Murail’s compositional ideas and frequency-based techniques originated in the lecture series given by Rozalie Hirs. It provides the most detailed discussion of Murail’s work available in English today.

The two articles by Rozalie Hirs were written with financial support by Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds (2003-05) and Amsterdam School of the Arts (2006-07). The article On Murial’s Le lac was part of her D.M.A. dissertation at Columbia University (2007).
Press release [PDF]

All OM patches discussed in the book were programmed in OpenMusic. All OM patches illuminating the ideas and techniques of Tristan Murail employ the OMTristan library. The original OMTristan library was developed by Tristan Murail. Rozalie Hirs merged OMTristan with the original Esquisse library; the menu and object names were unified and translated into English; those characters that are forbidden or active in CommonLISP were removed from the object names. It was upgraded to versions 3.0 and 3.1 for use with higher versions of OM and MacOsX by Jean Bresson, and further debugged into version 3.2 by António Florença for use with the latest OpenMusic software. In the summer of 2016 Tristan Murail and Rozalie Hirs added some new functions to the OMTristan 3.3. In the Spring of 2018 Jean Bresson updated the library in order to make it compatible with the current version of OpenMusic 6.13. Feel free to share the updated library through this page. Enjoy!

OMTristan 2.0 for Mac PPC and pre-Intel versions of OM
OMTristan 3.0 for Mac Intel and PPC and OM 6.1.2-6.5
OMTristan 3.1 for higher versions of OM and MacOsX (14 February 2014)
OMTristan 3.2 for the current version of OpenMusic (7 October 2015)
OMTristan 3.3 with added functionalities, for the current version of OpenMusic 6.10-6.12 (19 August 2016)
OMTristan 3.4 compatible with OpenMusic 6.13 (7 April 2018)

N.B. As a general rule keep in mind that OMTristan works best in OpenMusic on its own, i.e. try to avoid loading too many other libraries while working with OMTristan.

Microtonal playback
You might like to address problems concerning microtonal playback (within the current version of OpenMusic 6.10) by using the free software SimpleSynth and taking the following steps to set up playback. You can download the additional simplesynth-basics.omp patch, devised by Tristan Murail, here.

When initializing for the first time:
A.) open MIDI setup in Audio MIDI Setup
B.) doubleclick IAC Driver
C.) create 2 virtual midibusses: IAC bus 1 and 2
D.) make them active => V put online
E.) open SimpleSynth
F.) select IAC port 1 from menu
G.) launch OpenMusic; open your current workspace or create a new one
H.) import the simplesynth-basics.omp patch into your current workspace and evaluate steps 1-3

Always when opening OpenMusic:
A.) open SimpleSynth
B.) launch OpenMusic
C.) open the simplesynth-basics.omp patch and evaluate steps 1-3

(Remember to switch on ‘Auto microtone bend’ by ticking the box in OpenMusic Preferences/MIDI)


Journée d’Études Messiaen/ Murail

On 27 July 2017 during the Festival Messiaen at La Grave/La Meije, France, the composers and theorists Franck Bedrossian, Pierre-Albert Castanet, Jonathan Cross, Sampo Haapamaki, Thomas Lacoste, and Rozalie Hirs will be presenting lectures on new music and compositional techniques. Tristan Murail presents the keynote lecture. The event Journée d’Études Messiaen/ Murail is moderated by Bruno Serrou.


Nieuw Amsterdams Peil: Rozalie Hirs

Ensemble NAP (photograph: Pietro Cinotti, 2010)

On 21 April 2015 in De Link, Tilburg, The Netherlands, Nieuw Amsterdams Peil and Rozalie Hirs are performing a program with works by Hirs, some of her musical heroes, and one of her former students. The musicians are Heleen Hulst (violin), Gerard Bouwhuis (piano), Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer (clarinet), Mick Stirling (cello), Arne Bock (sound projection), and Rozalie Hirs (spoken voice).

→ Nederlands



article 6 – world premiere

Wiek Hijmans, electric guitar

Concert with the first performance of article 6 for electric guitar and electronic sounds, as part of the solo recital Gevonden werken (“Found works”) by Wiek Hijmans, programmed by Rozalie Hirs at Hijmans’s request. The program consists of works by John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Tristan Murail, Roi Nachson and Rozalie Hirs.


Lecture, Perspectives on Sound, Austria

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On May 8, 2009, as part of the Symposium Perspectives on Sound of the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Wien, Rozalie Hirs gives a presentation on Le Lac (2001) by Tristan Murail and on the composition techniques used and developed by the composer.


Contemporary compositional techniques and Open Music – Nieuw Ensemble and Rozalie Hirs (2005-06)

Contemporary compositional techniques and Open Music
A course by Rozalie Hirs and Nieuw Ensemble, Conservatorium van Amsterdam (2005/06)

During the academic year 2005/06, Rozalie Hirs is curator and teacher of the course Contemporary compositional techniques and OpenMusic at Conservatorium van Amsterdam. The main body of the course is comprised of four lectures and ten workshops by Rozalie Hirs, as well as guest lectures by Tristan Murail (Columbia University), Mikhail Malt (IRCAM), Marco Stroppa (Hochschule für Musik, Stuttgart), Niels Bogaards (IRCAM) and Benjamin Thigpen. Seven hands-on sessions with the Nieuw Ensemble are curated by its artistic director Joël Bons.

The approach during the first semester (Part A) will be directed towards acquiring insight into compositional techniques and programming methods. During the second semester (Part B), the course is directed towards the application of the obtained knowledge. Essential to this part of the course is the development of original works by the participating composition students of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague. The final concert on June 9, 2006 by the Nieuw Ensemble concludes the course, presenting the new compositions to the public. The new book OpenMusic and Contemporary compositional will document the creative process of seven of the participating composers Justin Christensen, Miguelángel Clerc, Ignacio Fernández Bollo, Daniel Gutierrez Berumen, Ernesto Illescas-Peláez, Chikage Imai, Andrzej Kwiecinski and Rodrigo Tascón.

With special thanks to Marijke Hoogenboom, Professor of Art Practice and Artistic Development, Amsterdam University of the Arts, for her support.

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