Lera Auerbach (*21. Oktober 1973 in Tscheljabinsk) is considered as an exceptional personality within the international concert circuit. Auerbach’s creations encompass global activities as a composer, conductor, visual artist, writer and concert pianist on virtually all important venues in the world. Through her multidimensional productivity, Auerbach is continuing the tradition of creation in various generic manifestations, a capacity that has prompted comparisons with the phenomenon of the universal creative artist during the Renaissance period (“A Renaissance woman”, GRAMMOPHONE, March 2017).
When Auerbach signed her contract with the Sikorski music publisher in Hamburg at age 29, she was the youngest composer who was ever taken under the wings of this prestigious music publisher.
Ms. Auerbach’s published catalog comprises more than a hundred works for orchestra, opera and ballet as well as significant works for choir and chamber music ensemble. Her intelligent and emotionally appealing style has connected her to audiences around the world and her work is championed by today’s leading performers, including violinists Gidon Kremer, Leonidas Kavakos, Vadim Gluzman, Hilary Hahn, Vadim Repin, Daniel Hope, Julian Rachlin, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Dmitry Sitkovetsky; violists Kim Kashkashian and David Aaron Carpenter; cellists Alisa Weilerstein, Gautier Capuçon, Alban Gerhardt, David Finckel, Joshua Roman, David Geringas, Ani Aznavoorian, Wendy Warner, and Narek Hakhnazaryan; and singers Zoryana Kushpler, Natalia Ushakova, Martin Winkler, Nikita Storojev and Stella Grigorian, among many others. Auerbach has written eight string quartets that have been championed by the Tokyo, Borromeo, Parker, Jasper, Ying, Peterson, Artemis, Granados and RTÉ Vanbrugh string quartets.
Auerbach’s works for orchestra are performed by the world’s leading conductors, including Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Vladimir Spivakov, Neeme Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Charles Dutoit, Andris Nelsons, Andras Keller and Osmo Vänskä.
Choreographers and stage directors such as John Neumeier, Aszure Barton, Goyo Montero, Terence Kohler, Sol León, Paul Lightfoot, Medhi Walerski, Reginaldo Oliveira, Christine Milietz, and John La Bouchardiere have staged Auerbach’s ballets and operas, which have been produced in major theaters on every continent, including the Hamburg State Opera, Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, New York’s Lincoln Center, the National Ballet of Canada, National Ballet of China, the Royal Danish Theater, Nuremberg State Theater, the Finnish National Theater, Moscow’s Stanislavsky Theater, the Netherlands Dance Theatre, and San Francisco Ballet.
In the 2020-21 season, Ms. Auerbach will be a composer-in-residence at the Grafenegg music festival in Lower Austria. She has previously accepted numerous invitations in various cities and music festivals, among them Trans-Siberian Art Festival and the Rheingau Musik Festival in Germany. She has also been composer-in-residence with the Staatskapelle Dresden (Germany), the São Paulo Symphony (Brazil), Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa (Japan), Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), New Century Chamber Orchestra (USA), Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Trondheim Festival (Norway), Marlboro Festival (USA), MusikFest Bremen (Germany), Lockenhaus Festival (Austria) and Pacific Music Festival (Japan).
Comparably comprehensive as her work as a composer are Auerbach’s activities in the field of literature as well as visual arts, in particular painting and sculptures. Artworks are often created in close temporal succession; ideas and conceptions materialize themselves simultaneously in word, music, and imagery. Up until now, Auerbach has published three volumes of poetry in Russian and a first book in English. Her “Excess of Being”, in which Auerbach explores the difficult form of the aphorism, was published by Arch Street Press in 2015. Currently, Auerbach is working on her fourth book, a children’s book which will be published by Penguin/Random House.
Her visual art has been included in several exhibitions and, in 2013, her first solo exhibition was presented in Norway. Her paintings are often exhibited at performances of her musical work and have been reproduced in magazines, CDs and books. Among many other occasions, Auerbach’s collection of bronze sculptures “Fractured dreams” was put on display in the Shchukin Gallery in New York in March 2017. These sculptures were created in close temporal succession with the related premiere of Auerbach’s violin concerto No. 4 at the Lincoln Center in New York.
As a poet, Ms. Auerbach has been long established, and she was named “Poet of the Year” in 1996 by the International Pushkin Society in New York. Her poetry and prose has been included in various anthologies and high school textbooks. She is the author of several librettos and is a regular contributor to the Best American Poetry blog, where she has her own column (“The Trouble Clef”). Prominent artists such as Gerard Depardieu, Sergei Yursky and pianist Evgeny Kissin have been reciting her poems in performances. Sergei Yursky also recorded a CD or poetry from her book, “Stairs to Eternity” and wrote the foreword for her “Hanover Notebooks.”
Auerbach often gives poetry readings (in Russian and English), presentations and talks, and masterclasses on performance and composition, including those at Harvard University, the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Institute, the Open Society Institute in New York, Tokyo University, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, The Music Center of Budapest, Hungary and the poetry festival of West Cork, Ireland, as well as music festivals in Verbier, Aspen, Marlboro, Sapporo, Trondheim, and others.
At present, in the Academic year 2018-19, Auerbach is a visiting artist in residence at the prestigious Bard College/Annandale-on-Hudson in the State of New York. Furthermore, Ms. Auerbach will also serve as an artist-in-residence in the city of New Orleans from February to April 2019.
Auerbach has written two operas. Her first opera Gogol – for which she wrote both the libretto and music–was commissioned by the Theater an der Wien in Vienna and received its critically acclaimed premiere in 2011. This occasion marked the first time a major opera written by a female composer was produced in Vienna. Her sensory-immersive a cappella opera, The Blind, has received productions in Germany, Norway, Russia, the United States, and Austria.
Auerbach has enjoyed a long-standing collaboration with the renowned choreographer John Neumeier. Together they have created three highly popular ballets: Tatiana, The Little Mermaid, and Preludes CV. The most recent, Tatiana (a reimagining of Pushkin’s Evgeny Onegin), was premiered in 2014 through a joint commission by the Hamburg State Theater in Germany and the Stanislavsky Theater in Russia. The Little Mermaid, was the winner of a 2012 ECHO Klassik award for Best Music DVD. It also received two Golden Mask awards and has been performed over 300 times worldwide. Auerbach’s first collaboration with Neumeier, Préludes CV, was recently revived to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Hamburg Ballet.
Ms. Auerbach has also collaborated with the Netherlands Dance Theatre and its choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot on “Shine a Light”; with Goyo Montero on Don Juan and Faust for the Staatstheater Nürnberg; with Azure Barton on “Watch Her” for the National Ballet of Canada; with Tim Plegge on “Momo” and Reginaldo Oliveira on “Mythos” for the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe; and with Terence Kohler on four ballets: “Heroes” for the Munich State Ballet, “Take Your Time” for the Chinese National Ballet, “11:11” for the Flanders National Ballet and “Cinderella” for the Finnish National Ballet.
Other recent highlights include Auerbach’s oratorio, In Praise of Peace, commissioned for the 20th anniversary of the Verbier Festival, the multilingual Requiem—Dresden Ode to Peace for the Staatskapelle Dresden, the string symphony Memoria de la luz, her Russian Requiem, three violin concertos, a double concerto for violin, piano and orchestra, Symphonies Nos. 1 (Chimera) and 2 (Requiem for a Poet), Gallows Songs for chorus and saxophone quartet, and several symphonic poems: Post silentium, Eterniday and Dreams and Whispers of Poseidon.
Auerbach graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in composition from the Juilliard School and a post-graduate degree in piano from Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media in Germany.
Lera Auerbach has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Hindemith Prize, the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, the German National Radio prize and the ECHO Klassik award, among others.
From 2007-2012 Auerbach was a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Today, she serves the WEF as a Cultural Leader, giving presentations around the world on Borderless Creativity. The Lera Auerbach Center was established in her name on Auerbach’s 45th birthday in 2018 and seeks to create an artist-centric paradigm for composers through its “Modern Renaissance” project in Vienna.
Most recently, Ms. Auerbach has established a home in Vienna/ Austria, a presence that has been accompanied by numerous appointments and performances. In October 2017, Auerbach’s fourth violin concerto “Nyx – Fractured dreams” was performed in the Vienna Musikverein by the RSO Wien under Cornelius Meister and with the soloist Leonidas Kavakos. In the season 2018-19, the Landestheater Salzburg premiered the new work “Otello” by choreographer Reginaldo Oliviera with music by Auerbach.
In 2018, Auerbach finished and performed two other major new compositions: she performed at the world premiere of her newest work for piano solo “Labyrinth” at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. And, shortly thereafter, Auerbach gave the premiere of her “24 Preludes for viola and piano” in San Marino (CA) together with violist Richard O’Neill.
On March 30, 2019, Auerbach’s Fourth Symphony (“Arctica”) was premiered at the JFKennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. “Arctica” was commissioned by the National Geographic Society alongside orchestras from the 8 countries that have land in the Arctic (Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, the United State, Canada, and Iceland).
Her work is published exclusively by the Internationale Musikverlage Hans Sikorski. Her music is available on Deutsche Grammophon, Nonesuch, BIS, Cedille, and other labels.