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Composer Ana-Maria Avram has died

The Romanian spectral composer, pianist and conductor was 55

Ana-Maria Avram died on 1 August. The Romanian composer, pianist and conductor affiliated with spectral music was a frequent collaborator with composer Iancu Dumitrescu, with whom she was married. Avram was the co-conductor of The Hyperion Ensemble and artistic director of the Spectrum XXI festival which she founded to showcase innovative Romanian music.

Born in 1961 in Bucharest, Romania, Avram studied composition at the National University of Music in Bucharest between 1980–85, and in 1992 she studied musical aesthetics at Sorbonne, Paris. In 1988 she joined The Hyperion Ensemble, the Bucharest based group specialising in contemporary composition and spectral music founded in 1976 by Dumitrescu. Avram composed around 130 works, including solo, chamber, orchestral, electronic and computer assisted music, and she released more than 25 collaborative albums with Dumitrescu on their label Edition Modern.

Avram explained the concept of spectralism to Philip Clark in The Wire 308: “Spectralism is not just a trend but a specific attitude towards sound,” she told Philip. “There isn’t one spectral approach, but many different viewpoints. Radulescu’s sound plasma, the music of the French spectralists and our music are often defined as post-spectral or hyperspectral: but above anything it is transformational music.”

In the same article she also expressed a love for the ambiguous nature of the old Moog synthesizer sound, adding that she and Dumitrescu tended to use old software “often abandoned by their creators, sometimes just to exploit one interesting little thing it can do well”.

Avram’s music has also been released by Electrecord, ReR Megacorp and other labels. The musicians she worked with include Kronos Quartet, l’Orchestre National de France, Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, Romanian National Orchestra, Romanian Radio Chamber Orchestra, L’Orchestre de Chambre de Roumanie, Radio-France, CCMIX, Ars Nova Ensemble and Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique Bourges.