William Blank


The composer and conductor William Blank was born in Montreux in 1957. In 1978 he wrote a song cycle titled 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, and in 1985 his Canti d'Ugaretti for contralto and 9 instruments was selected by the International Conference of Young Composers sponsored by UNESCO. In 1986 he was awarded a special grant by the city of Geneva, which allowed him to complete Omaggi, his first work for a symphony orchestra, which was later performed by the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande during their world tour.
Since then Blank’s works have been performed throughout Europe as well as in Japan and the USA, in prestigious concert halls such as Victoria Hall in Geneva, KKL in Lucerne, the Zurich Tonhalle, Zaal Koningin Elisabeth in Antwerp, Wigmore Hall in London, Jacqueline du Pré Music Building in Oxford, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Vienna Musikverein, Salzburg Festpielhaus, St.-Petersburg Philharmonic and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. His music has been performed by conductors such as Armin Jordan, Antony Wit, Fabio Luisi, Pinchas Steinberg, Kasuyoshi Akiyama, Zsolt Nagy, Jean Deroyer, Dennis Russell Davies, Pascal Rophé, Heinz Holliger and others.
As a conductor and a composer William Blank has collaborated with numerous orchestras, including the Ensemble Contrechamps, the Sine Nomine Quartet, the Collegium Novum Zürich and Arc en Ciel, Biel Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and the Swiss Chamber Soloists. He also works with the pianist David Lively, the cellist Jan Vogler, the trumpeter Alison Balsom, the singers Rosemary Hardy and Natalia Zagorinskaya.
In 2001, Blank was awarded the Prize of the Cantonal Bank of Canton Vaud for his life’s work hitherto. Then, in October 2003, as part of his residency with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, he completed Exodes, dedicated to Kofi Annan, which was given its first performance on the occasion of the world day of the United Nations in New York. He also gave numerous master classes in Zurich, Bern, Paris, Lyon, St,-Petersburg and Tokyo as well as in the Juilliard School of Music (New York). 2 CDs of his works have been released in Switzerland, highly acclaimed by critics both at home and abroad. In 2005 he was awarded the Prize of the Leenaards Foundation and since 2006 he has been the musical and artistic director of the Lemanic Modern Ensemble.
William Blank currently teaches composition, analysis and chamber music at Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne, and directs the Ensemble Contemporain there. Reflected Black, a recently composed piece for piano and orchestra performed by David Lively and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Dennis Russell Davies was highly appreciated by the audience. The record will soon be released by Aeon. Another record of the same piece conducted by Pascal Rophé will become part of the CD of all Blank’s symphony works.

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