Simon Steen-Andersen is one of the pioneers in a generation of composers that since the turn of the millenium have incorporated the world around them into their music and given it a more extrovert and contemporary form of expression. In his music the idea is always clear and directly present as something we can experience without preconditions. At the same time the thorough and imaginative exploration of his ideas lends the works a depth and complexity that holds our fascination throughout.
Steen-Andersen’s works live in the passages between the simple and the complex – in a field in which orchestral music, video art, choreography, performance, music theatre and installation are mixed with sampling, pop-culture references and game-aesthetics in surprising and thought provoking ways. His works therefore present a pronounced expansion of music, where no material is too fine or too simple to be given careful attention, taken apart, and assembled anew.
When, for example, he deconstructs both conductor, orchestra and puppet theatre (Black Box Music 2012) or investigates a radical piano preparation (Piano Concerto, 2014), it is done with a musical surplus and critical-humoristic love of tradition. Whether he investigates the choreography of walking (Walk the Walk, 2020), or uses the architecture of an opera house as an instrument (The Loop of the Nibelung, 2020), it is done with a precise sense of both the music of movement and the ever-present logic of contemporary mediatization.
Simon Steen-Andersen lives and works in Berlin. Since 2018 he has taught composition and music theatre at the Bern University of the Arts and is also an associate professor at the Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus. He has studied with Karl Aage Rasmussen, Mathias Spahlinger, Gabriel Valverde and Bent Sørensen in Aarhus, Freiburg, Buenos Aires and Copenhagen.
He has received a number of prizes and honours for his work, including the Carl Prize (2020, 2015), SWR Orchestra Prize (2019, 2014), Mauricio Kagel Music Prize (2017), Siemens Composers’ Prize (2017), the Nordic Council Music Prize (2014), Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl Nielsen’s Honourable Grant (2013), The Art Prize of the German Academy of Arts (2013), first place in the International Rostrum of Composers (2010), DAAD Berlin Artist Residency (2010) and the Kranichsteiner Music Award (2008). He is a member of the German Academy of Arts and The Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
– Rasmus Holmboe