Peter Burwik

Foto: Fodor

 Peter Burwik               Photo: Ben Fodor

Peter Burwik

Austrian conductor, born in Hamburg / Germany, studied conducting with legendary teacher Hans Swarowsky at the Vienna Music Academy – Swarowsky was a student of Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern and he had worked together with Richard Strauss on his opera “Capriccio”.

Additional studies with Argeo Quadri in conducting Italian opera and Bruno Maderna in Salzburg and Darmstadt for conducting of New Music had long lasting influence on Burwik’s musical culture.

Parallel to his musical education he studied Theatre Science at the University of Vienna.

In 1969 Burwik got his diploma in conducting from the Vienna Music Academy, in 1971 he got his doctorate from the philosophic faculty of the University of Vienna (thesis: stage decorations for all opera productions of Richard Strauss in Vienna, 1902 – 1965).

In 1969 Burwik founded the University Orchestra in Vienna, with a repertory ranging from Baroque music to the music of the XXth century, 1971 he founded “The XXth Century Ensemble Vienna” – whose music director he was ever since – with the aim to stimulate and promote contemporary music internationally. CD-Productions, released by “Gramola”, „col legno“ and „Capriccio“ document the esthetical variety and high quality level of his work.

This soloist-ensemble is made up of members of leading Viennese orchestras, freelance instrumentalists and faculty of the Vienna Music University. They guarantee the highest technical standards and the level of sound quality which is associated with ‘Viennese musical culture’ worldwide. Its aim ever since is to make music of the 20th century known and to support contemporary creative work of the 21st century. For that purpose, several domestic and foreign composers were and are commissioned. Another important aspect of its work is the examination of the oeuvres of Schönberg, Berg and Webern – thus, the repertoire ranges from the Viennese school and representatives of classical modernity to significant exponents of innovative contemporary music. Artists such as Steve Reich, Vinko Globokar, Morton Feldmann, Younghi Pagh-Paan or Emanuel Nunes were presented to the Viennese audience in portrait-concerts for the first time.

Besides numerous appearances in Vienna (Wiener Konzerthaus, Wiener Musikverein, ORF), the ensemble performed in other Austrian regions as well (Salzburger Festspiele, Steirischer Herbst, Carinthischer Sommer, Linzer Brucknerfest).

On tours to Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cuba, England, France, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA, Venezuela and China important current programs were performed. The ensemble has been guest at numerous international festivals: the Wiener Festwochen, WIEN MODERN, the Edinburgh Festival, the Berliner Festspiele, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Huddersfield Festival, the Warsaw Autumn, “Musica” in Strasbourg, the “Enescu Festival” in Bucharest to name just a few and – not least – the Contemporary Music Days 2013 in Shanghai, were the ensemble presented four programs as ensemble in residence – and the International Composition Workshop Beijing 2017.

After the collaboration with the Austrian jazz composer Franz Koglmann in 2003 the ensemble increasingly attended to cross-border and cross-genre productions – such as the development of its innovative ‘Sensor – live electronic – dance – project’, which was presented with it’s “Multi Sensor Tracking for Live Sound Transformation” at nime in Seoul / Korea (May 2013) or its interest to commission written scores by leading Austrian Jazz-musicians.

The ensemble’s interest in Chinese contemporary music and literature is expressed by its ongoing cooperation with the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna, which led to numerous remarkable productions in Vienna – documented on DVD.

Since the Seventies Burwik was guest conductor with important orchestras in Europe, i.e. RSO Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique Paris, NDR-Symphonie-orchester Hamburg, Orchestre National de Lille, ORF-Symphonieorchester, Rundfunkorchester Lissabon, Symphonieorchester of SF-Stuttgart, Wiener Symphoniker und WOS Katowice – where he conducted mixed programs with traditional classical repertory and XXth century music.

Between 1991 – 1994 he was permanent guest conductor with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, which he also took to concerts abroad (i.e. Festival de Cannes – with Dvorak and Tchaikovsky and: Vienna Summer Festival – with Schubert). He ended this cooperation with the Moravian Philharmonic with a performance of Gustav Mahler’s 2. Symphony (with soloists from the opera house in Prague and the Philharmonic Choir from Brno).

Recent symphony programs in Kasachstan and Bulgaria contained works by Alban Berg, Ludwig van Beethoven, Mozart, Tschaikowsky and Haydn.

In 1985 Burwik started with teaching at the Music University in Vienna (Prof. for interpretation and performance technique of new music and conducting), where he consequently established a scheme for contemporary music education by inventing an interaction between composers (the last 3 years of their diploma studies), lecture for instrumentalists, international repertory of new music for instrumental students who go for diploma – and conducting.

Besides his teaching at the Music University in Vienna he was also internationally active in this field (Santiago de Chile, Caracas, Bozen, Dartington, Havanna, Astana, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu).

In 2011 Burwik was awarded the „Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Arts“.