Portrait of Professor Peter Ablinger Professor Peter Ablinger

p.ablinger@hud.ac.uk | 01484 470000


Peter Ablinger (b. 1959, Austria; based in Berlin) was appointed to the position of Professor of Composition at the University of Huddersfield in September 2012. He will be particularly associated with the work of the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) conducting masterclass, lectures and special projects with students and staff.

One of the most innovative and influential composers in the field of new music today, Peter Ablinger’s oeuvre ranges from orchestral works and operas to installations. His work is regularly presented at all the major festivals internationally including Berlin Biennale, Venice Biennale, Holland Festival, Triennale Köln and Carnegie Hall New York. His publications include more than 30 CDs and numerous articles in journals, books, and art anthologies. His work has been recognized by prizes such as the 2008 Andrzej-Dobrowolski-Kompositionspreis and the 2010 Deutschen Klangkunstpreis.

Ablinger’s work with noise, spatialisation, spectral modelling/transcription, and the perception of sound has frequently been supported by major research centres in music technology – most notably the Experimentalstudio of the Heinrich Strobel Stiftung in Freiburg, TU Berlin, and IEM in Graz. At the core of his work is an exploration of the differences between reality and our perception of reality in sound. The act of listening and noise, or rather, ‘Rauschen’ (the German term) have been the dominant themes of Ablinger's music and research for more than 20 years. His questioning of fundamental values of musical perception using basic tools such as scales can perhaps be related to his background in graphic design, including his studies with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, who pioneered the use of graphically notated scores.

‘Peter Ablinger is one of few artists today who uses noise without any kind of symbolism - not as a signifier for chaos, energy, entropy, disorder, or uproar; not for opposing something, or being disobedient or destructive. As in all these cases of music deliberately involving noise, noise is the case, but for Ablinger it is noise alone. Peter Ablinger has also come a long way in questioning the nature of sound, time, and space (the components usually thought central to music), and his findings have jeopardized and made dubious conventions usually thought irrefutable. These insights pertain to repetition and monotony, reduction and redundancy, density and entropy.’ (Christian Scheib)

Peter Ablinger has held appointments at the University of Music Graz and works closely with Ensembles Klangforum Wien, United Berlin and Insel Musik. Based in Berlin, he formed the Ensemble Zwischentöne in 2007. In recent years he has given guest lectures and masterclasses at  Columbia University, BARD College, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University and Mozarteum Salzburg. In May 2012, he was elected to the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

For more information on Peter Ablinger, please visit http://ablinger.mur.at/

Research and Scholarship

Significance of Peter Ablinger’s work

Peter Ablinger’s work has challenged the conventions of music perhaps more than any composer since John Cage in the 1950s, and this has emerged through a series of parallel artistic projects, including his interrogation of the nature of noise (and its relationship to physical space), concepts of the verticalization of sound, intricate analyses and ‘phonorealist’ instrumental transcriptions of ambient noise and speech (a video of his ‘speaking piano’ was perhaps the most-viewed video of contemporary music online in recent years), engagement with site-specific listening environments (most recently, the CityOpera and Landscape Opera), and his conceptually challenging ‘Sehen und Hören’ series of photos.

Ablinger’s work with noise – or, specifically, ‘Rauschen’, in German – is multifaceted, but it is driven largely by an awareness of both the surplus of data in noise (its multiplicities, its ambiguous lack of hierarchies) and by the concomitant, active engagement with this sonic data by the listener through theconstruction of patterns, melodic figures, implied movements, and sonic figures ‘inside’ of the unstable static of the noise. This active mode of listening emerges in part from a confrontational approach to music and sound. Ablinger’s work is not immediately inviting on its surface, but the sometimes abrasive, static, unstable sound worlds create a listening environment in which one becomes aware of the act and process of listening.

It is a highly unique music – both repetitive and unstable, both real and abstract (the ‘QUADRATUREN’ instrumental transcriptions of speech and noise, for example), both simple and complex (field recordings of waterfalls or sheets blowing in the wind, simple scales along the white notes of the piano, the sound of an empty cathedral) – and it is work that exemplifies practice-based research. It is work that asks significant questions about sound and about music, but those are questions that of course must be experienced to be asked, and experienced to be understood.

His work frequently holds the mirror up to the listener and the conventions of listening practice. This has been intensified in his recent Landscape Opera and CityOpera, modular works that combine various art forms (literature, concerts, installation, film, performance, architecture, land art, etc.) in such a way that the place (the city, the landscape) becomes the subject of the opera. These works have combined field recordings, the construction of city or landscape ‘sets’ (including the planting of trees, the construction of architectural/sculptural environments), film/video, live performance, and audience listening environments (establishing concert-like setups of chairs in public spaces, for example) that generate direct awareness of sound, of heightened states of listening, of the gap between actual, experiential sound and internal, perceived sound.

While Ablinger’s work has had a significant following in much of Europe and increasingly in the USA, it has had minimal exposure in the UK. The work is decidedly experimental and speculative in nature and asks quite difficult questions about the nature of music, music-making, and listening. Ablinger’s work takes a direct, practice-based approach to research in issues that have not been widely actively considered in British academia.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Ablinger, P (2016) Augmented Study (2012) for 16 violins [Audio]

Ablinger, P (2016) Voices and Piano 12" LP [Audio]

Ablinger, P (2016) Renate Fuczik (a 24-hour piece, from: "Voices and Piano") [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2016) Die schönsten Schlager der 60er und 70er Jahre für Ensemble (The most beautiful hits of the 60s and 70s for ensemble) [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2016) Antiautoritäre Etüde Weiss /Weisslich o. Nr. [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2016) IN G Cello and Environment, 16'41" 2009-2016 [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2016) Blockflöte und Rauschen (Weiss/Weisslich 17n) [Composition]


Ablinger, P (2015) ‘Herdenglocken: Gedanken zu einer innerdeutschen Diskussion um die KonzeptmusikMusikTexte (145), p. 43. ISSN 0178-8884

Ablinger, P (2015) ‘Serielles Arbeiten’. In: Künstlerische Forschung. Ein Handbuch. Chicago, Illinois 60637 USA: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 205-209.

Ablinger, P (2015) 3 Places Leeds [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Book of returns 1985-2015 [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Klavier und Alles (Weiss/Weisslich 17m) [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Erzsébet 'Kokó' Kukta : from: "Voices and Piano" [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Quartz 2001-2015 a multi part installation, sand, quartz watch, electronics, video, paper, bed sheets, hour glass, other materials [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Quartz for high orchestra (2010-15) 2picc,2ob,2cl,2hrn,2trp,glsp,mba,harp,12vlI,10vlII,8va, tape, 11' [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Instruments and sketchbooks [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Die durchscheinende Zeit 2014/15 "translucent time" an installation opera : different instrumentations, medias, collaborations and durations [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Instruments and phonographies [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Sopran und Rauschen (Weiss/Weisslich 17l) [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2015) Unbequeme musik (inconvenient music) [Composition]


Ablinger, P (2014) ‘Cézanne and the music. Perception and its deficitsMusicTexte (140).

Stiegler, T. and Ablinger, P. (2014) ANFANGEN (:AUFHÖREN) [Audio]

Ablinger, P (2014) ‘Ausduck / Sonate’. In: Und+ Komponisten, ihre Musik und ihre anderen Künste. Mainz, Germany: Schott Music (Verlag). . ISBN 978-3-7957-0880-1

Ablinger, P (2014) Augmented studies [Audio]

Ablinger, P (2014) Weisse Flucht [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2014) Points and views [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2014) Kreis für ado (Weiss/Weisslich 29) [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2014) Posaune und Rauschen (Weiss/Weisslich 17j) [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2014) The truth : How to teach the piano Chinese [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2014) Places Dublin [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2014) Noise to energy (Weiss / Weisslich 32f) [Composition]


Ablinger, P (2013) Violoncello und Rauschen ("Kreuze") (Weiss/Weisslich 17k) [Composition]


Ablinger, P (2012) ‘Überflüssiges, Zum Begriff des ExperimentellenPositionen , 90.


Ablinger, P (2011) Cityopera Buenos Aires in 7 Acts [Composition]

Ablinger, P. and Davis, G. (2011) Parker Notch [Audio]

Ablinger, P (2011) Wachstum, massenmord [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2011) Bethen [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2011) N.K. hallway piece [Composition]


Ablinger, P (2010) Approach:ANNÄHERUNG . Köln, Germany: MusikTexte.

Ablinger, P (2010) ‘Kopfhören. Notizen über das WahrnehmenMusikTexte , 124. ISSN 0178-8884

Ablinger, P (2010) Sitzen und hören 1-6 [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2010) Stars & stripes [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2010) Singdrossel [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2010) ‘Due Pratiche’. In: Neue Musik und andere Künste. Mainz, Germany: Schott. . ISBN 978-3-7957-1840-4

Ablinger, P (2010) Augmented Studies [Composition]


Ablinger, P (2009) Landscape Opera Ulrichsberg [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2009) 33 - 127 [Audio]

Ablinger, P (2009) Kammersymphonie [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2009) Wachstum und massenmord [Composition]

Ablinger, P (2009) Voices and piano [Audio]

Ablinger, P (2009) ‘Keine ÜberschreitungPositionen. Texte zur aktuellen Musik , 78, p. 11.

Ablinger, P (2009) Voices and Piano [Composition]

Johansson, S. and Ablinger, P. (2009) Danish border [Audio]

Ablinger, P (2009) Instruments &... [Composition]


Ablinger, P (2008) ‘Schwarz und WeissFigurationen , 2. ISSN 1439-4367

Ablinger, P (2008) Quadraturen III [Audio]


Ablinger, P (1999) Zeit Halbieren 'Bisecting Time', accordion (1997/99), 8' [Composition]


2012 Elected to Akademie der Künste, Berlin

2010 Deutschen Klangkunstpreis

2009 Visiting Professor at the University of Music, Graz.

2007-09 Guest lectures at Yale, Manhattan School of Music, Columbia Univrsity, BARD College New York, Hochschulen in Frankfurt, Zurich and Musikuniversität Vienna

2008 Andreij Dobrowolsky Composition Award for Life’s work

2005 Curator for ‘Turning Sounds’ Warsaw and ‘Hörsturz’ Berlin

2003 Co-curator at Donaueschinger Musiktage &

Festival Conceptualisms Akademie of Arts, Berlin

1988 he founded the Ensemble Zwischentöne;  guest conductor of 'Klangforum Wien', 'United Berlin' and the 'Insel Musik Ensemble'.

Concerts (selection):

Wiener Festwochen, Berliner Festwochen, Wien Modern, Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Musikprotokoll des Steirischen Herbstes, Bienale Berlin, Trienale Köln, Prager Frühling, Hörgänge Wien, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Internationales Musikfestival Istanbul, Klangaktionen München, Los Angeles Resistance Fluctuation, Musica Nova Sofia, Festival of Vision Hong Kong, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Happy Days Oslo, SuperDeluxe Tokyo, Kunstraum Düsseldorf, Cut&Splice London, Música Contemporánea Santiago de Chile, Maerzmusik Berlin, Holland Festival Amsterdam, La Biennale di Venezia, Carnegie Hall New York, AMUZ Antwerp, SPOR Festival Denmark, Musica Nova Helsinki, Contempuls Festival Prague, Philharmonie Luxembourg

Installations (selection):

Offenes Kulturhaus Linz, Neue Galerie der Stadt Graz, Stadttheater Gießen, Neue Musik Rümlingen, Stadtgalerie Kiel, Moltkereiwerkstatt Köln, Podewil Berlin, Maerzgalerie Linz, Diözesanmuseum Köln, Rote Fabrik Zürich, Santa Monica Museum of the Arts, Kunsthalle Karlsplatz Wien, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Kunsthaus Graz, Ostseebienale der Klangkunst, Wiener Festwochen, Medienkunstlabor Graz, Musikkinformasjonssenteret Oslo, Kunsthalle Rostock, MAK Wien, Märkisches Museum der Stadt Witten, Haus am Waldsee Berlin, Tina B Praha, WUK Kunsthalle Exnergasse Wien, Matadero Madrid, Tonspur Berlin, Galery Spanien Aarhus, MuHKA Antwerp, Skulpturenmuseum Marl, SoundART Köln, Ars Electronica Linz

Teaching and Professional Activities

CeReNeM seminars

Composition masterclasses and special projects

MA by Research and PhD co-supervision