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2. summary
3. programme notes (english, german)
4. details
5. performances



artemis (2022) by Rozalie Hirs is a new composition, based on her own poetry, commissioned Donaueschingen Festival. The soprano Keren Motseri performs its world premiere together with ensemble ascolta on 15 October 2022 during Donaueschingen Festival, Germany.

The above photograph was taken by Astrid Karger during the world premiere of Rozalie Hirs’ artemis (2022), performed by ensemble ascolta and Keren Motseri (soprano) at Donaueschingen on 15 October 2022. The photograph below shows a statue by Jean Goujon of Artemis with a deer (ca. 1550-54) at Musée Louvre, Paris, France.

programme notes (english, german)

Artemis is the archetype of a god who lives in nature and expresses gender fluidity, for she is a female god with “masculine” traits like the love of freedom, courage, independence, and autonomy. The singer Keren Motseri embodies Artemis while the Ensemble Ascolta, with its electric guitar, two percussionists, and piano, suggests a band-like quirkiness, with melodic and microtonal inflexions of the trumpet, trombone, and cello.

artemis (music, poetry; 2022) by Rozalie Hirs finds its basis in the highly personal frequency-based (i.e. spectral) compositional technique developed by Hirs over the past twenty years or so. There are influences from the electronic domain on the development of musical content through the calculation and development of frequencies and durations. In other words, the musical materials were developed by Hirs both for translation to the score as well as for custom electronic sound synthesis. The musical materials, among other things, include frequency modulation and ring modulation. The latter is an example of a psycho-acoustic phenomenon (sum and difference tones) present when we perceive an interval or intervals of simultaneously sounding tones. Among the software packages Hirs used are OpenMusic for the development of materials and translation to the score and SuperCollider for the sound synthesis.

The poetry for artemis was selected by the composer from her poetry book oneindige zin (infinite sense; Amsterdam: Singel Uitgeverijen|Uitgeverij Querido, 2021), specifically from the cycle magie van een mogelijk heden, that the poet also devised in parallel versions in two other languages, English and German, as presence of a possible magic, and magie der möglichen gegenwart respectively. The poetry cycle was written during the pandemic. For artemis Hirs chose five poems from the German cycle [2, 5, 9, 10, 11].

The poems magie der möglichen gegenwart start, autobiographically, with the struggle of being born. They then treat life and its possibilities, gifts, losses, and a multitude of feelings. The vocal lines have been kept relatively simple, especially when compared to earlier vocal works by Hirs, yet in their seeming simplicity remind of her recent hand in hand (2020), commissioned by Kulturkreis für Neue Musik Heilbronn. The spoken passage (including a fully transcribed speech-melody of the poet-composer) is reminiscent of her poetry and music cycle dreams of airs (2017/18), performed by the Spectra Ensemble, Belgium, and the Athelas Sinfonietta, Denmark.

With special thanks to Stefan Wieczorek and Paul Vincent for their editorial comments on all poems, either in German and English, to Ira Wilhelm for her comments on the second poem, and to Christoph Hamann for his comments on the last one just before its publication in the literary magazine die horen (Zeitschrift für Literatur, Kunst und Kritik; Band 286, 67. Jahrgang 2022. Wallstein Verlag) as a tribute to the late poet Barbara Köhler (1959-2021).

©2022 Rozalie Hirs

Artemis ist der Götterarchetyp, der in der Natur lebt und für Genderfluidität steht, denn sie ist eine weibliche Gottheit mit männlichen Eigenschaften wie Freiheitsliebe, Mut, Unabhängigkeit und Autonomie. Die Sängerin Keren Motseri verkörpert Artemis, während das Ensemble Ascolta mit E-Gitarre, zwei Percussionisten und Klavier eine an eine Band erinnernde Eigenwilligkeit hervorruft; dazu kommen melodische und mikrotonale Einflüsse von Trompete, Posaune und Cello.

artemis (Musik, Lyrik; 2022) von Rozalie Hirs gründet sich auf die sehr persönliche frequenzbasierte (d. h. spektrale) Kompositionstechnik, die Hirs in den letzten zwanzig Jahren entwickelt hat. Bei der Ausarbeitung des musikalischen Inhalts der Partitur sind Einflüsse aus dem elektronischen Bereich zu erkennen durch Berechnung und Entwicklung von Frequenzen und Zeitspannen. Auf diese Weise entwickelte Hirs das musikalische Material sowohl für die Übertragung in die Partitur als auch für spezielle elektronische Klangsynthese. Zu den musikalischen Materialien gehören unter anderem Frequenzmodulation und Ringmodulation. Letztere ist ein Beispiel für ein psychoakustisches Phänomen (d. h. „Summen- und Differenztöne“), das auftritt, wenn wir ein Intervall oder Intervalle von gleichzeitig erklingenden Tönen wahrnehmen. Hirs verwendete unter anderem die Software OpenMusic für die Entwicklung des Materials und dessen Übertragung in die Partitur sowie SuperCollider für die Klangsynthese.

Die Texte für artemis wählte die Komponistin und Lyrikerin aus ihrem Gedichtband oneindige zin (unendlicher sinn; Amsterdam: Singel Uitgeverijen|Uitgeverij Querido, 2021) aus, und zwar aus dem Zyklus magie van een mogelijk heden, den sie parallel auch in Englisch und Deutsch konzipiert hat als presence of a possible magic bzw. magie der möglichen gegenwart. Der Gedichtzyklus entstand während der Pandemie. Für artemis wählte Hirs fünf Gedichte aus dem deutschen Zyklus [2, 5, 9, 10, 11].

Die Gedichte magie der möglichen gegenwart beginnen autobiographisch mit dem Kampf des Geborenwerdens. Danach geht es um das Leben und seine Möglichkeiten, Geschenke, Verluste und vielfältigen Gefühle. Die Vokallinien sind relativ einfach gehalten, vor allem im Vergleich zu früheren Vokalwerken von Hirs, und erinnern in ihrer scheinbaren Schlichtheit an ihr kürzlich entstandenes Werk hand in hand (2020), eine Auftragskomposition des Kulturkreises für Neue Musik Heilbronn. Die gesprochene Passage, die eine vollständig transkribierte Sprachmelodie der Dichterin-Komponistin beinhaltet, erinnert an ihren Lyrik- und Musikzyklus dreams of airs (2017/18), der vom Spectra Ensemble aus Belgien und der Athelas Sinfonietta aus Dänemark aufgeführt wurde.

Mit besonderem Dank an Stefan Wieczorek und Paul Vincent für ihre redaktionellen Kommentare zu sämtlichen Deutschen bzw. Englischen Gedichten, an Ira Wilhelm für ihre Kommentare zum zweiten Gedicht und an Christoph Hamann für seine Kommentare zum letzten Gedicht vor dessen Veröffentlichung in der Literaturzeitschrift die horen (Zeitschrift für Literatur, Kunst und Kritik; Band 286, 67. Jahrgang 2022. Wallstein Verlag) als Hommage an die verstorbene Dichterin Barbara Köhler (1959-2021).

(German translation of the program notes: Florian Heurich)

Rozalie Hirs (1965) is a composer and a poet. The principal concerns of her work are the adventure of listening, reading, and the imagination. Her music consists of vocal, orchestral, and electronic compositions, as well as sound art installations. She has developed a personal spectral style inspired by the acoustic and psychoacoustic properties of timbre and sound. She often combines traditional instruments with electronic sounds. Performers of her music include the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, ASKO|Schönberg, Athelas Sinfonietta, the Bozzini Quartet, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Klangforum Wien, Musikfabrik, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Slagwerk Den Haag, Spectra Ensemble, and Sonar Quartett; she is herself a regular performer of her compositions for voice and electronic sounds. Her poetry includes seven printed collections in Dutch, six in other languages, as well as digital poetry: interactive poems created in collaboration with visual artists, and graphic designers.

She holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree from Columbia University, where she studied as a Fulbright fellow with Tristan Murail (1999-2002), and a Master of Music degree from the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, where she studied with Diderik Wagenaar (1991-1994) and Louis Andriessen (1994-1998). She also trained as a chemical engineer at University of Twente, where she obtained a Master of Science degree in 1991. At the invitation of the Nieuw Ensemble, she developed and curated the course Contemporary Compositional Techniques and OpenMusic, which she taught at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam during the 2005-06 academic year. In 2009 the book of essays on this subject, she co-edited with Bob Gilmore was published as part of the Collection Musique/Sciences of IRCAM|Éditions Delatour, France. During the academic year 2010/2011, Rozalie Hirs was guest lecturer at the Composition Department of The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. During the winter semester of 2017 Rozalie was guest professor at the Composition Department of the Royal Conservatoire, the Hague. Rozalie Hirs was chairman of the jury for the Gaudeamus Music Prize in 2011.


artemis (2022) by Rozalie Hirs was commissioned by Donaueschingen Festival.

2 percussionists*
electric guitar
additional sampler with the custom-synthesized electronic sounds

*preliminary list of percussion instruments:
2 vibraphones, tubular bells, tuned woodblocks/ temple blocks, bowed cymbals (low, high, 2 medium), guiro, gong

artemis (2022) is a cycle of the following songs or movements:

i neugeborene haarlose hände
ii in frage steht/ erstmal erwacht
iii wo stille ist die möglichkeit
iv aufgewacht in einer schattenlandschaft

These movements are based on the poems 2, 9, 5, 10 and 11 respectively, selected from the German series magie der möglichen gegenwart by Rozalie Hirs, which has appeared in print in her recent Dutch poetry book oneindige zin (infinite sense; Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Querido, 2021) under the name magie van een mogelijk heden.

technical requirements
stereo amplification setup for the electronic sounds
optional amplification of the singer and instrumentalists

The total duration of the song cycle is between 22-25 minutes:
i 7-8′ ca.
ii 6-7′ ca.
iii 4-5′ ca.
iv 5-6′ ca.

The score, parts, and custom-synthesized electronic sounds of artemis (2022) can be purchased through its publisher Deuss Music.

The above photographs by Astrid Karger (©2022) shows the ensemble ascolta and Keren Motseri on stage at Donaueschingen during the world premiere of artemis by Rozalie Hirs, and during the applause just following the concert.


November 2023, date and time TBA, November Music, ensemble ascolta, Keren Motseri (soprano) – Dutch premiere
15 October 2022, 11:00 CET, Donaueschingen Festival, Keren Motseri (soprano); ensemble ascolta (Markus Schwind, trumpet; Andrew Digby, trombone; Hubert Steiner, electric guitar; Florian Hölscher, piano; Boris Müller, percussion; Julian Belli, percussion; Erik Borgir, cello), Niklas Werani (sound diffusion in the hall), Olaf Mielke (recording engineer), Sebastian Seibert (stage lighting) – world premiere