Born in Schwanenstadt, Austria, in 1959, he first studied graphic arts and became enthused by free jazz. He completed his studies in composition with Gösta Neuwirth and Roman Haubenstock-Ramati in Graz and Vienna. Since 1982 he has lived in Berlin, where he has initiated and conducted numerous festivals and concerts. In 1988 he founded Ensemble Zwischentöne. In 1993 he was a visiting professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. He has been guest conductor of Klangforum Wien, United Berlin, and Insel Musik Ensemble. In 2013–17 he held the post of research professor at the University of Huddersfield. His works have been performed at the Berliner Festwochen, Wiener Festwochen, festivals in Darmstadt, Donaueschingen, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Oslo, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, London, and New York. His installations have been presented at the Offenes Kulturhaus Linz, Diözesanmuseum Köln, Kunsthalle Wien, Neue Galerie der Stadt Graz, Kunsthaus Graz, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Haus am Waldsee Berlin, and the Santa Monica Museum of the Arts, among others.
Peter Ablinger is one of the few artists today who use noise without any kind of symbolism – not as a signifier for chaos, energy, entropy, disorder, or uproar; not for opposing something, or being disobedient or destructive, but for itself. Peter Ablinger has also come a long way in questioning the nature of sound, time, and space (the components usually thought central to music). His findings have jeopardised and made dubious conventions usually thought irrefutable. These insights pertain to repetition and monotony, reduction and redundancy, density and entropy. “Sounds are not sounds! They are here to distract the intellect and to soothe the senses. Not once is hearing ‘hearing’: hearing is that which creates me.” Peter Ablinger is, as Christian Scheib once put it, a “mystic of enlightenment” whose “calls and litanies are aimed at cognition.” At the same time, the composer is also a skeptic who understands the cultural rules and (destructive) habits enforced by tradition: “So let us play further and say: sounds are here to hear (but not to be heard. That’s something else). And that hearing is here to be ceased (‘Das Hören ist da um aufzuhören’). More I can’t say.”
Christian Baier, trans. Bill Dietz
Cycles: Weiss/Weisslich for various media: instruments, installations, objects, electroacoustic media, prose, soundless music (1980–99), Stücke 1989–94, pieces for 1 to 25 instrumentalists and seven voices (1989–94), Sehen und Hören, photographs, projections (since 1995), IEAQV for instruments and electroacoustic media; pieces related to specific locations (since 1994), Instrumente und Rauschen for instruments and noises from a CD (since 1994), Quadraturen for electroacoustic media, ensembles and orchestras (since 1994), Das Buch der Gesänge, acoustic photographs (since 1997), Voices and Piano for piano and CD (since 1998), Klänge auf Papier, objects laid out on paper (since 1999), Opera/Werke, operas, installations, concerts and other artistic forms (since 2000), Orte, installations (since 2001), Instrumente & for instruments and other sources of sound (since 2006), Augmented Studies (since 1983).
Other works: 10 kleine Stücke for six voices (1995, 2002), Übersetzungen 1–8 for rubber and cardboard (1997), Grundierungen 1–6 for organ (1997), Hotel Deutsches Haus for bass flute, English horn, clarinet and CD (2000–1), 1–127 for electric guitar and CD (2002), Altar for speakers, microphones, headphones, electronics, cello and orchestra (2002–3), Akt/Rückenansicht for actors and CD (2003), 3 Easy Pieces, installation (2003–4), 6 Linien for piano (2004), From Inside Out for window display, microphone and speaker (2004–6), Ohne Titel 1–10 for any instruments (2005), 11 Intermezzi aus Opera/Werke, “Das Orchester” for orchestra and CD (2005), Kleine ‘Publikum’ Suite for ensemble, computer-operated keyboards and CD (2005), ‘Tanz’ aus Das Publikum/ Stadtoper Graz for two pianos, nine instruments and CD (2005), Gehörgang, a “walk in the labyrinth” (2007), Fallstudie, cinema for one person (2004–8), Weisse Wäsche for underwear and towels (2003–8), Amtsee bei Regen for 3–8 voices or instruments (2008), A + O for harp and CD (2005–9), Selbstportrait mit Mitersill – eine Skizze in 3 Sätzen for children, teenagers, performer, CD and objects (2009), Canonfor six cellos or cello and five delays (2017), 1111 Vögel, radio sound sculpture (2017–18), Outside & for instruments and microphones (2015–18), Not Available for clarinet and tape (2016–18), Canon 22.12.2018 for nine identical instruments (2018), 4 Weiss for large string orchestra and white noise (2018–19), Vokalschleuse for five pairs of speakers (2018–19), Public Litanies, procession for choir leader and audience (2018–19), Doo-Doo-Dooh for voice, five instruments, recorded sounds and objects (2019), Etablissement Gschwandtner for children’s orchestra and three loudhailers (2019), ‘A.W.-Memorial’ for clarinet and radio (2019), Ohne Titel for violin, bass clarinet and piano (2019), Es summt der See for the sounds of Lake Summt, three orchestral groups and three loudhailer operators (2019), Decisions 3 / I Love Freedom for Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, sound le to be played back over the loudhailer (2019), Concerto for bassoon, ensemble and two musicologists (2016–20), Corona Suite,Pieces to Entertain Myself (2020), Corona Blog (2020), Verdopplung 4.01/4.02/4.03, field recording (2020).