updated 3 January 2022
© Olympia Orlova

Dmitri Kourliandski

Russian composer born 9 June 1976 in Moscow.

Dmitri Kourliandski studied the flute in Moscow and in Paris with Geneviève Amar. At the age of twenty, he turned to composition, which he practiced under Leonid Bobylev at the Moscow Conservatory. Simultaneously, he took masterclasses with Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, Bryan Ferneyhough, and Philippe Leroux. He was composer-in-residence at the Berliner Künstlerprogramm in 2008, then at Ensemble 2e2m in 2010. Since 2012, he has been invited to give lectures in Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Ukraine, France, Israel, Spain, and Russia.

Kourliandski’s works have been played at Donaueschingen Festival, Ruhrtriennale, the Venice Biennale, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Musica Festival Strasbourg, Wien Modern, Archipel Festival, and musikprotokoll, by orchestras and ensembles such as the SWR Symphonieorchester, New Stockholm Chamber Orchestra, musicAeterna, Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Ural Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble 2e2m, Ensemble Intercontemporain, KlangForum Wien, Contrechamps, Phoenix, Collegium Novum Zurich, Asko/Schönberg, Ensemble Recherche, Ensemble l’Itineraire, KNM, ELISION Ensemble, Nadar Ensemble, Quatuor Diotima, Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, Studio for New Music, N’Caged Ensemble, and Questa Musica.

In 2003, Kourliandski was the first Russian composer to win the Gaudeamus International Composers Award. He is constantly searching for new ways of approaching music to breathe new life into the music of his country. He founded the first Russian contemporary music journal, Tribuna Sovremennoi Muzyki (Contemporary Music Tribune) in 2005, for which he was editor in chief from 2005 to 2009. With several other composers, Kourliandski began the group Structural Resistance (StRes) whose aim is to promote contemporary music and young artists in Russia. He was also a member of the Union of Russian Composers, the founder and artistic director of the International Young Composers Academy in the city of Chaykovsky, Russia, and the musical director of the Electrotheatre Stanislavsky in Moscow. Kourliandski believes in the political significance of music, as evidenced by his opera Octavia: Trepanation (2017), which analyses the mechanisms of tyranny. He considers it necessary for the proponents of contemporary music to confront popular genres. In this effort, he has been performing since 2016 with sound artist Andrei Guryanov in the electronic music duo KGXXX.

Kourliandski has described his work as an “objective music,” a music conceived as a visual phenomenon whose lack of action and evolution make it similar to a space unfolding before the listener. “While [this space] minimizes the subjectivity of the interpretation,” he said, “it does not, however, take away the plurality of meanings and perspectives for the listener.” He draws inspiration for his works from the visual arts, particularly kinetic sculpture and the spaces it creates.

Often labeled saturationist, Kourliandski’s music is Lachenmann-like in its conception, in that it uses techniques adopted from “instrumental musique concrète.” “The sound as such does not interest me,” Kourliandski said. “It is the conditions of the apparition of sonority which interest me.” He develops a noise music, excluding traditional instrumental sonorities, as shown by Negative Modulations (2006), in which the listener can hear the sound of cars starting, clocks, and various mechanisms; in Happy Mill (2007), in which sounds of chewing and digestion are at the center of the piece; and in Emergency Survival Guide (2010), concerto for car and orchestra.

His works are published by Donemus, Éditions Jobert, and Le Chant du Monde. Portrait CDs have been released by the labels FANCYMUSIC and Col legno.

Prizes and Awards

  • Franco Abbiati Italian Music Critics Award, 2017
  • Andrey Voznesensky Foundation “Parabola” Prize, 2016
  • Johann Joseph Fux Competition for Opera Composition, 2011
  • Gianni Bergamo Classical Music Award, 2010
  • Gaudeamus International Composers Award, 2003

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2021


Donemus, La Terrasse, Anaclase, 2e2m

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en janvier 2022).


Discographie sélective

  • Dmitri KOURLIANDSKI, « Decomposing cities », 1 CD FANCYMUSIC, 2020, FANCY144.
  • Dmitri KOURLIANDSKI, « Non–Lieux », 7 fichiers Kotä, 2019, 35.
  • Dmitri KOURLIANDSKI, Shiver, Fanny Vicens : accordéon, dans « Schrift », 1 CD Stradivarius, 2017, STR37047.
  • Dmitri KOURLIANDSKI, « Maps Of Non-Existent Cities. Paris », Theo Nabich : clarinette contrebasse, Sergey Tchirkov : accordéon, 1 CD FANCYMUSIC, 2015, FANCY058.
  • Dmitri KOURLIANDSKI, « Maps Of Non-Existent Cities. Saint Petersburg », Vladislav Pesin : violon, 1 CD FANCYMUSIC, 2015, FANCY063.
  • Dmitri KOURLIANDSKI, « Sverliytsy. Overture (Beginning) », 1 CD FANCYMUSIC, 2015, FANCY065.
  • Dmitri KOURLIANDSKI, Lullaby dances ; Wireless technologies ; Engramma, dans « Engramma », 3 fichiers FANCYMUSIC, 2013, FANCY007.
  • Dmitri KOURLIANDSKI, Innermost Man ; Negative modulations ; Four states of same ; Contra-Relief, dans « Negative Modulations », 4 fichiers FANCYMUSIC, 2012, FANCY003.