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Dan Dediu

 

(Click here to see List of Songs)

 

Dan Dediu, born March 16, 1967, is one of Romania’s leading young composers. A brilliant concert pianist, the accompaniments of many of his art songs reflect his extraordinary keyboard skills. Currently a professor of composition at the National University of Music in Bucharest, Dediu began his piano studies in Brăila, and then in Bucharest at the High School for Music (1981-1985). A graduate of the National University of Music in Bucharest , Dediu studied composition with Ştefan Niculescu and Dan Constantinescu, and counterpoint with Lianna Alexandra, completing his doctorate at the institution. As the recipient of a Gottfried von Herder and Alban Berg grant, Dediu studied at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna (1990-1991). At the same time Dediu attended classes at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Vienna (1991). In 1994, Dediu worked at the IRCAM in Paris . He is the former artistic director of the internationally acclaimed Romanian festival, Săptămână Internatională a Muzicii Noi, which promotes contemporary Romanian music.

Dr. Dediu is a much-published author of articles and books. He has presented papers at national and international conferences, and as a representative of SACEM-Paris in 1995, made documentary trips to Germany , France , Austria and other nations. Dediu was a Visiting Professor at Queen’s University in Belfast , Ireland . As a concert pianist, he has competed in international piano competitions.

As a composer, Dediu’s works have won numerous competitions: (First Prize- Budapest-Bárcs-1990); First Prize and Grand Prize at the George Enescu Competition (1991); Second Prize-Ludwigschafen am Rhein (1991); Third Prize in the Interntional Mozart Competition (1991); Third Prize at the Carl Maria von Weber Competition in Dresden (1991); Hannover (2000); the Galliards Ensemble Competition in London (2000); Berlin (2002); a prize from the prestigious Romanian Academy (1991); prizes from the Romanian Union of Composers (1992, 1993, 1995, 1998), and the Romanian Prometheus Opera Prize (2002).

Dediu has composed a chamber opera to his own libretto, Post-ficţiunea, Op. 50 (1995), premiered at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest in 1996; and numerous symphonic works, including four symphonies, several concerti, works for chamber orchestra, some with soloists, and performed in Romania and abroad. Here his interest in avant-garde techniques shines. Dediu is a prolific composer of chamber music, his style innovative. A number of these pieces have been recorded and released on CD. His compositions are published by Edition Lucian Badian, Editura Muzicală, and Peer Music.

 

Dan Dediu-Art songs

Dediu’s Variations stylistiques syntaxic, for soprano and piano, is a cycle of six pieces based on the same theme, which is the first song. The other songs are variations of this theme.  Every song has two dedications. The first song is dedicated to Debussy and Albezniz; the second song to Beethoven. Rather than direct quotes, Dediu uses figures or motives in the piano part that are reminiscent of the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, but is radicalized. Other dedicatees are Schumann, Machaut, Hugo Wolf, and Verdi. Through his research and study of these composers’ compositions, Dediu felt he was impregenated with their works; especially the Lieder of Hugo Wolf and the mélodies of Debussy. For this cycle Dediu sought to create hybrids of styles; mixing the techniques of Schumann and Machaut, and Verdi and Wolf without quoting their music, and using differing musical vocabularies in the two works. Wolfiana, a cycle for soprano and piano, is based on Hugo Wolf’s techniques. Here Dediu makes the singer a companion to the pianist, each with differing roles. Dediu quotes various styles in microcosmic form and then radicalizes them with chordal resolutions to tone clusters, firmly imprinting his own style upon the works, seeking precise colors to capture the atmosphere of the words, using sharp interjections by the piano as a form of commentary.

Wolfiana and Variations stylistiques syntaxiques, use two languages: Romanian and French, and although both are Romanian-born poets, Şerban Codrin and Tristan Tzara, they are different worlds. Codrin creates a lyric atmosphere, with short Tanka poems that resemble Japanese Haiku and influence the music. The Tristan Tzara texts are short dadaesque poems, taken from the poet’s early years, precursors to the Dada movement. Consequently, the symbolism is lyrical, dreamlike, an atmosphere that appealed to Dediu.

Dediu composed Dans Oranges, a fifteen-minute piece for soprano and viola, for his close friend violist Marius Ungurianu and his adolescent daughter, at their request. The piece is comprised of four miniatures to verses by Rilke, his sonnet entitled Dans Oranges. The bitter orange is a symbol for life and death. The piece is riveting, especially in performance by the Ungurianus. For Dediu the piece was an exploration of new techniques in combining the voice and instrument, seeking effective ways to sustain the drama over fifteen minutes within primarily short movements. He has composed several other recent cycles for soprano and piano: A Spider…, and Sweet Voices. 

His cycle, Schmerzenbohnen, Trauermusik für Ernst Ekker, scored for Mezzo-Soprano, flute, violin, cello, piano, and percussion, was composed in memory of Dediu’s good friend, Ernst Ekker. The work was premiered in Vienna . He structured the cycle as four brief, atmospheric sketches with one large movement that summarizes the other movements. For this cycle, Dediu sought yet other techniques and musical vocabulary to realize the text, a meditation on death filled with ironic detachment.

His most recent works for voice are Traveling’s Tango for contralto and piano; and The Game of Death and Life, Op. 110, three songs for soprano and piano.

 

Dr. Paula Boire