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William Blank (*1957)
William Blank was born in Montreux, Switzerland in 1957
His activity as a composer began in 1977 with the commission of his Hesse Lieder for soprano and ensemble on the occasion of the inauguration of the Studio Ernest Ansermet at the Maison de la Radio Suisse Romande in Geneva.
In 1985, his Canti d'Ugaretti for contralto and 9 instruments was selected by the International Conference of Young Composers sponsored by UNESCO, and he was awarded a stipend by the city of Geneva which permitted the completion of Omaggi, his first work for large orchestra, which was premièred by the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande during their world tour of 1987. Since that time, his production has expanded to include a catalogue of some thirty works for diverse ensembles.
William Blank is currently professor of composition and musical analysis at the Conservatoire and Haute Ecole de Musique in Lausanne. His works have been performed in Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, England, as well as the United States and Japan, in prestigious halls such as Geneva's Victoria Hall, the KKL of Lucerne, the Palais de Beaulieu in Lausanne, the Tonhalle Zurich, the Queen Elisabeth Hall in Antwerp, the Gewandhaus Leipzig, the Musikverein Vienna, the Festpielhaus Salzburg, and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, under the direction of conductors such as Armin Jordan, Zsolt Nagy, Fabio Luisi, Heinz Holliger, Antony Wit, Olivier Cuendet, Kasuyoshi Akiyama and Pinchas Steinberg.
His recent collaborations also include work (also as conductor) with the Ensemble Contrechamps, the Collegium Novum Zürich, the Ensemble Paul Klee Bern, the Sine Nomine Quartet, the Amar Quartet, the pianist David Lively, the singers Rosemary Hardy and Natalia Zagorinskaja, the cellist François Guye, as well as the Swiss Italian Orchestra, the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, the Orchestre Symphonique de Bienne, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and the musicians of the Swiss Chambers Concerts, such as Daniel Haefliger and Heinz Holliger, who commissioned and premièred his work entitled Wounds. In the setting of his residence to the « Orchestre de la Suisse Romande » he wrote Exodes, dedicated to Kofi Annan, that was created in October 2003 on the occasion of the world day of the United Nations in New York. He gave a master class around this work in the Juilliard School of Music. Since 2006, he is the artistic director of the Ensemble Namascae.