This Monday marks the 50th birthday of Romanian composer Ana-Maria Avram. Avrams descends musically from a long line of European spectralist composers. Listening to her pieces forces one to recall the tradition of composers like Grisey and Murail, and sonically is incredibly reminiscent of earlier proto-spectralists like Giacinto Scelsi. She is most closely associated with fellow Romanian hyper-spectralist Iancu Dumitrescu, with whom Avram works closely as a composer, conductor, and pianist in the Hyperion Ensemble (founded by Dumitrescu in the 1970s). Hyperion is a Bucharest-based chamber ensemble specializing in contemporary classical music, particularly of the spectral, acousmatic variety.
Spectral music can sometimes seem a bit cold, even mechanical, in its execution. Avram's music is particularly remarkable because of the very real warmth with which she imbues each of her pieces. Whether composing a solo work which she herself performs, or a piece for electronics, pre-recorded tape, and an entire chamber ensemble, Avram has a brilliant flair for the dramatic paired with a sense of subtlety that lends great contrast and excitement to each moment of each of her works.
Like other Romanian contemporary composers, such as Stefan Niculescu and Horatiu Radulescu (as well as, of course, Dumitrescu), Avram focuses on the use of bird calls, wind sounds, bells, and "natural" sounds that mix harmonic and inharmonic elements in the creation of her hyper-spectralist pieces. Her music is wonderfully textural and phenomenally beautiful. These clips included here are just a few examples of the already deep contributions Avram has made, at only age 50, to the world of New Music.