Biography

Overview 

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Short Biography

Michael Ostrzyga, known in particular for his choral music, was commissioned by the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, the World Symposion on Choral Music (2020 in Auckland, NZ), the Harvard University and renowned performers around the globe like the Finnish YL Male Voice Choir (Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat), Latvian Youth Choir „Kamēr…“, and Kammerchor Stuttgart. Performers include the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, Jeaner Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Concerto Köln, New Dublin Voices, Australian Chamber Choir, CHORWERK RUHR and MDR-Rundfunkchor.

Besides, he is the Music Director at University of Cologne, where he currently leads the Collegium Musicum, an organization housing the university’s major musical ensembles and serves as conductor of Choirs and Orchestras. As a guest conductor, he collaborated with ensembles like Boston Modern Orchestra Projekt, San Diego Choral Scholars, Bochumer Symphoniker, Neue Philharmonie Westfalen, Musikfabrik, and Kölner Vokalsolisten and appeared in festivals like Acht Brücken. He has also regularly commissioned and premiered numerous new works by composers such as Martin Herchenröder, Friedrich Jaecker, Jan Masanetz and Anno Schreier.

Long Biography

Michael Ostrzyga has gained international reputation as a composer of choral music in particular, being commissioned by the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, the World Symposion on Choral Music (2020 in Auckland, NZ), the Harvard University and renowned performers around the globe like the Finnish YL Male Voice Choir (Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat), the Vienna Chamber Choir, Latvian Youth Choir „Kamēr…“, via-nova-chor Munich, Kammerchor Stuttgart, and Chamber Choir Consono. 

His works are performed by ensembles like the Rheinisches Klavierduo, the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, Neues Rheinisches Kammerorchester, Jeaner Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Concerto Köln, New Dublin Voices, Australian Chamber Choir, Swedish choirs Kammarkören Pro Musica, Allmänna Sången and S:t Jacobs Vokalensemble, CHORWERK RUHR and MDR-Rundfunkchor.

The premier of his a cappella work IUPPITER was awarded the Carl-Orff Prize during the Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf in 2007. His internationally acclaimed collection of piano miniatures, “Der singende Wind”, published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 2010, received the award “Best Edition 2011.”

Besides, he is the Music Director at University of Cologne, where he currently leads the Collegium Musicum, an organization housing the university’s major musical ensembles. Serving as conductor of the Symphony Orchestra, Choir, and Chamber Choir, he has appeared in concerts in the Cologne area, as well as abroad and in several national and international festivals. Developing partnerships with organizations and creative artists of all kinds and launching the concert series Universitätskonzerte when he took his duties in 2008, he firmly established the Collegium Musicum at Cologne University as an important and acclaimed cultural constitution.

As a guest conductor, he collaborated with ensembles like Boston Modern Orchestra Projekt, San Diego Choral Scholars, Bochumer Symphoniker, Neue Philharmonie Westfalen, Musikfabrik, Neues Rheinisches Kammerorchester, The Albany Consort, and Kölner Vokalsolisten and appears in festivals like Acht Brücken. As a formerly active pianist, he co-founded the chamber music ensemble Sforzato presenting extraordinary concerts combining music of all eras and regions. Throughout all of these various positions, he has also regularly commissioned and premiered numerous new works by composers such as Michael Gees, Martin Herchenröder, Friedrich Jaecker, Jan Masanetz, Anno Schreier, and Gerhard Stäbler.

Ostrzyga was born in Castrop-Rauxel, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, where he was initially trained in piano, organ, and choral activities by Bruno Zaremba before studying conducting with renowned conductor Marcus Creed, composition with Friedrich Jaecker, and piano with Peter Degenhardt.

German Biography

Michael Ostrzyga, Dirigent und Komponist, ist Leiter des Collegium musicum sowie Dirigent von Chören und Orchestern der Universität zu Köln seit 2008. Er hat als Dirigent projektweise u.a. mit den San Diego Choral Scholars, dem Boston Modern Orchestra Project, der Musikfabrik, den Bochumer Symphonikern und der Neuen Philharmonie Westfalen zusammengearbeitet. Sein Repertoire reicht von mittelalterlichen Gesängen bis hin zur Sinfonik Mahlers und Neuester Musik, darunter zahlreiche Uraufführungen, u.a. von Martin Herchenröder, Friedrich Jaecker, Jan Masanetz, Anno Schreier, Gerhard Stäbler und Manfred Trojahn. Viele Werke hat er selbst in Auftrag gegeben.

Kompositionsaufträge erhielt er u.a. vom Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, der Harvard University, dem 12. World Symposion on Choral Music 2020 in Auckland (Neuseeland) sowie von zahlreichen Ensembles wie dem YL Male Voice Choir (Finnland), Kamer… (Lettland), El Leon de Oro (Spanien) und dem Kammerchor Stuttgart (Deutschland). Zu Interpretierenden seiner Werke zählen neben vielen anderen das Raschèr Saxophon Quartet, die Jenaer Philharmonie, das Neue Rheinische Kammerorchester, Concerto Köln sowie zahlreiche Chöre weltweit, darunter der MDR-Rundfunkchor, CHORWERK RUHR, Allmänna Sången, New Dublin Voices und der Australian Chamber Choir.

Upcoming projects

Currently I am putting the final touches to works I was able to pursue more extensively due to the pandemic:

„I am sorry I ever took it. (the rock)“ – Conscience Letters from the Petrified Forrest for Baritone (Thomas Bonni) and Piano (Christoph Schnackertz) will be the first of a group of cycles called „Conscience Pile“.

„thirty miles from nowhere“ for singer alone.

 

 

Due to the pandemic all premieres and concerts slated have been cancelled, some are delayed:

THE SILENT CITY (finished), commissioned by Musikpodium Stuttgart for Kammerchor Stuttgart directed by Frieder Bernius (cappella work for 24 part chorus and overtone soloist Anna-Maria Hefele), was to be performed in Stuttgart, Singapur and New Zealand (World Symposium of Choral Music) in July 2020 but is cancelled as of now.

I ADD MY BREATH TO YOU BREATH (finished), commissioned by World Symposium of Choral Music in New Zealand 2020 was to be premiered by VOCES8 but is delayed to an unspecified time in 2021.
 
ERSTE STERNE (finished) for Piano Solo, was to be premiered in London by Thomas Stumpf, but the concert was cancelled.
 
CD Production with compositions of mine only, performed by Kammerchor der Hochschule Hamburg and Ensemble vokal dir. by Cornelius Trantow was supposed to be released in summer 2021, but is delayed to 2022.
 
Premiere of MARIPOSA, second movement, commissioned by Kammerchor Consono (dir. by Harald Jers) as well as an as of yet untitled work commissioned by Salt Lake Choral Artists (dir. by Brady Allred) have been delayed.
 
Premieres of new work for two choirs celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday commissioned by DialogFelder e.V. for Voci di Fuoco and University Choir at University at Economics Katowice is delayed to 2021.
 
Publication of my Completion of Mozart’s Requiem was slated to be released as „Urtext“-Edition in September 2020. It is delayed for one year.
 
I was invited to the 12th World Symposion on Choral Music 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand to present workshops on my choral music. The festival was cancelled early in 2020.

 

Commissions

 

Uranus is commissioned by https://www.hamburgvokal.de dir. by Matthias Mensching to be premiered in 2021 as part of their program HIMMELWÄRTS celebrating the 10th anniversary of the choir.

Mariposa (eventually a three-movement-work for chorus a cappella with texts by Homero Aridjis for chamber choir Consono conducted by Harald Jers – first movement premiered in 2019) – world premiere of movement two and three was originally coming up in second half of 2020, but moved to 2021.

New work for brass quintet commissioned by Navus Brass for 2020/2021 seasons.
 
Primero sueño (“First Dream”) for soloists, chorus and large orchestra. Full-length setting of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz‘ poem combined with fragments of her letters. It is commissioned by the Harvard Choruses and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project for 2021/2022 season, but delayed.