"...an opulent pleasure of sound..." - as described by the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" on the composer, who was awarded the Austrian State Prize "Outstanding Artist Award - Musik 2013" by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, for her composition "Elimo"
Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin (*1968 Moscow) is an austrian composer and pianist. The interplay between what is familiar and what is distant, virtuosity and delight in experiment without negating playability and “listenability” are constitutive of the works by the austrian composer and pianist Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin.
In 2007, her violin concerto “Mahagony” was premiered by David Bowlin and BVCO under Stefan Linev at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She worked on the creation of this piece as a Norton Stevens Fellow during her stay in the renowned artist residency MacDowell /USA. Bowlin´s ´ latest CD, released by the New Focus Recordings in New York 2019, includes two of her works. Her orchestral work "Tarsis", nominated for the Rychenberg Competition (Switzerland) was recorded by the Musikkollegium Winterthur under Pierre-Alain Monot. Her composition „Annäherung“ for chamber orchestra, comissioned by the Government of the Province of Salzburg, was performed by the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg under Johannes Kalitzke and presented in the “Viva!Mozart” exhibition in Salzburg (with more than 219.000 visitors), celebrating Mozart's 250th birthday, and later in the Fine Art Museum of Sejong-Center in Seoul. The opening ceremony of the exhibition has been inaugurated by the President of Austria Dr. Heinz Fischer.
Performances of her work have been held in Vienna (Musikverein, Konzerthaus, Schönberg Center, Radiokulturhaus), New York (Carnegie Hall, Austrian Cultural Forum, Merkin Concert Hall), Chicago (Chamber Series at the Art Institute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Cultural Center), Salzburg (Großer Saal Mozarteum, Universitätsaula), Rome (Villa Massimo). Ottawa (Parliament of Canada, Museum of History), Tórshavn ( Nordic House), Brussel (Flagey), Athens (Megaron Concert Hall), Yerevan (Komitas Chamber Music House), Donetsk (State Opera), Manaus (Palácio da Justiça), Cologne (Klaus-von-Bismarck), Sofia (Bulgarian Concert Hall) and in Festivals such as Aspekte Salzburg, ppIANISSIMO Sofia, Klangspuren, Ultraschall Berlin, Dialoge Salzburg, Warsaw Autumn, Kiev-Fest, Summartónar Faroe Islands, International Review of Composers Belgrade, Quad Cities Davenport, StArt Salzburg, Sound ways St. Petersburg. Performances and workshops about her music in the music universities: Donau University Krems, Mozarteum Salzburg, Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität, Music University Vienna, MUK Vienna, Schnittke Institute Moscow, Sibelius Academy, Columbia College Chicago, Kent State University, University Bratislava, University Budapest.
Her works have been interpreted among others by conductors Johannes Kalitzke, David Fulmer, Alexander Drcar, Oswald Sallaberger, Lars Mlekusch, Nacho de Paz, Kasper De Roo, Christian Knapp, Christoph Cech, René Staar, Peter Burwik, Scott Voyles, Simeon Pironkoff, Gottfried Rabl, Edo Micic, Grigor Palikarov, Berislaw Sipus, Roland Freisitzer, Wolfgang Danzmayr, by interprets David Bowlin, Katinka Kleijn, Peter Sigl, Dimo Dimov, Per Rundberg, Alexander Janiczek, Artem Nyzhnyk, Hayk Melikyan, Dina Pysarenko, Melissa Reardon, Tomasz Skweres, Ayano Kataoka, Conor Nelson, Ekaterina Nokkert, as well as by orchestras and ensembles such as the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, ICE International Contemporary Ensemble New York, Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra, Pazardzhik Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Zaporozhje, öenm Salzburg, PHACE, Wiener Collage, Zeitfluss, Stadler Quartett, ERGON/Athene, Cantus Zagreb, TENM, die Reihe, ensemble XXI.jahrhundert, Da Capo Chamber Players, Nouvelle Cuisine Big Band, Svoboda zvuka, Max Brand ensemble.
"The refined and enigmatic music of Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin..." "...unique musical wolrd" (I care if you listen)
"Her Works play very fluid with a century-long musical tradition" (mica Austria)
Commissions for compositions include those from the Siemens Music Foundation, Konzerthaus Vienna, the West Germany Broadcasting, the Austrian Broadcasting, ICE New York, Ensemble PHACE, Theodor-Körner Stiftung, Government of the Province Salzburg, StArt Festival Salzburg, ensemble xx.jahrhundert and as a compulsory work by HAMS International Music Competition Chicago and International Piano Competition "R. Marciano" Vienna.
Karastoyanova-Hermentin´s music has been recognized with numerous awards including the Austrian State PRIZE “Outstanding Artist Award 2013 Musik” of the Austrian Federal Chancellery, as a reward of her excellent compositions work (ensemble piece "Elimo"), given to one musician nationwide and awarded through the Austrian Federal Minister Dr. Claudia Schmid. The outstanding artist award, until 2009 a promotion award, is an award for outstanding achievements in various art disciplines to artists of the younger and middle generations. The prize is awarded to artists who can present a meaningful oeuvre and whose works are of national artistic significance."Mit “Elimo“ hat Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin Musik geschaffen, für die zutrifft, was die Dichterin Ingeborg Bachmann für die Poesie eingefordert hat: "Scharf von Erkenntnis und bitter von Sehnsucht" (Dr. Dr. Gerhard Gensch, Donau Universität Krems)
2022 she is awarded the Prize of the City of Vienna the year-long Arbeitsstipendium für Komposition.
For her "special performance in the field of music" she was awarded 2007 The Promotion Prize of the City Vienna. She won three times the Austrian State Year-long Grant (2001, 2006, 2010). 2006 she won the Vienna Symphony Orchestra Composition Grant, 2004 - The Composers Grant of the Federal Chancellery. 2002 she was the recipient of The year-long Annual Grant for Composition of the Province Salzburg, given to one composer. Ms. Karastoyanova-Hermentin was awarded the Norton Stevens Fellowship for the prestigious residence MacDowell Colony/USA and The Theodor-Körner Award for Art and Science (2005). She is the Winner of the Young Composers Project of the International Contemporary Ensemble - ICE (2003).
Her orchestra work "TARSIS" was nominated 2019 for the Rychenberg Competition and recorded by the Musikkollegium Winterthur under Pierre-Alain Monot. Most recently she is awarded The year-long Prize of the Governement of the City Vienna - das Arbeitsstipendium für Komposition 2022.
"Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin is among the composing voices of our time who really have something essential to say" (Drehpunkt Kultur)
Performances of her music have been broadcast by West German Broadcasting, WMFT Chicago „Live from Studio One“, RBB Brandenburg, Bulgarian State Radio, Macedonian State Radio and released on CDs under the labels Austrian Broadcasting (Portrait CD ORF "ZeitTon" with works by A.Katastoyanova-Hermentin), Capriccio (RSO Vienna), Gramola, New Focus Recordings, Mozarteum Orchestra (Piano Concerto), HAMS Competition Winner for Viola
She has performed as a pianist both in the field of classical music and in many performances of new music, a.o. as a soloist with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg. She also was a guest performer in festivals for New Music such as Aspekte Salzburg, Hörgänge Wien (Konzerthaus Vienna), Sofia summer (Bulgaria Hall), Skopsko leto, Nacht der Komponisten Salzburg. Karastoyanova-Hermentin regularly teaches masterclasses in piano and composition and serves as a juror at international competitions (Feurich Piano Competition, Valletta Piano Competition, Komponistinnen Preis der Grünen Wien & Wien Modern). Ms. Karastoyanova-Hermentin has also been on the advisory board of the Austrian Com9poser Union and mentor in the Mentoring program of the Austrian Federal Chancellery.
Born 1968 in Moscow, into a musician family, Mrs. Karastoyanova-Hermentin holds a master´s degree in Composition at the University Mozarteum Salzburg (with Boguslaw Schaeffer) and master´s degree in Piano at State Music Academy in Sofia (with Dimo Dimov and Boyan Vodenitcharov), both achieving First-class honours. She also studied piano with Alfons Kontarsky (1994-1998) at the University Mozarteum, with Dimitar Tsanev at the Music College "L. Pipkov" in Sofia and with Sergei Solodovnik at the Music College „Ippolitov-Ivanov“ (1983-1985) in Moscow and got specialised in piano with Karl-Ulrich Schnabel, Marcello Abbado and Oxana Yablonskaya. Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin resides in Vienna.
> Interview on mica: „DIE MUSIK SELBST IST KONKRET GENUG.“ ALEXANDRA KARASTOYANOVA-HERMENTIN IM MICA-INTERVIEW
by Sylvia Wendrock, 2021
"Sie ist Jury-Mitglied mehrerer internationaler Kompositions- und Klavierwettbewerbe, war 2013 Mentorin für Komposition beim damaligen BMUKK (heute BKA) und ihre Musik ist mit mehreren Preisen ausgezeichnet. Ihre Werke fordern Höchstleistungen von ihren Interpret*innen, doch diese fordert sie auch von sich. Ihre Musik lässt sich weder der traditionellen noch der zeitgenössischen Sparte zuordnen und ist in höchstem Maße eines: virtuos. "
> Interview on MICA: ALEXANDRA KARASTOYANOVA_HERMENTIN by Doris Weberberger, 2012