Born: October 17th, 1963
Country of origin: Germany
January 23rd, 2014 | Theater, Marguerre-Saal - Heidelberg - Germany
I am permanently on the search for the magic moment and can only achieve this through a complex and differentiated ratio between structure, form and tone. (Christian Jost)
Christian Jost was born on 17 October 1963 in Trier. He studied composition, analysis and conducting in Cologne with Bojidar Dimov from 1983 to 1988 and with David Sheinfeld at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 1988 to 1989. Jost received scholarships from the foundation Kulturfond des Deutschen Volkes and the artistic and cultural foundation of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Jost first caused a sensation in 1992 with the performance of his orchestral work “Magma”, a commission by the State Theatre Darmstadt. Between 1996 and 1998, he made regular visits to the People’s Republic of China and undertook intensive cooperation with a variety of Chinese orchestras. In 1997, the piano concerto Der lange Weg des Drachen (rev. 2009) was premiered by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra with Jost as the soloist. The orchestral work one small step (rev. 2002), a commission by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen was composed in 1999 to commemorate Neil Armstrong landing on the moon in 1969 and also reflects Jost’s fascination for pioneering astronauts. The composer received further commissions from the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Festival de la musique contemporaine Dijon and the Residentie Orkest Den Haag. The composer now also frequently makes appearances as a conductor, e.g. with the Bremer Philharmoniker, the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, the Essener Philharmoniker and the Oper Graz. Jost lives as a freelance composer and conductor in Berlin.
The solo concerto is a core genre in Jost’s oeuvre. A characteristic of his works is an orchestrally conceived atmospheric tonal density. Jost’s compositional impulse primarily consists of the wish to acquaint the listener with the unknown, individualism and psychological borderline experiences in a fascinating guise. His intentions can frequently be divined by the titles of his works: TiefenRausch for violin and orchestra (1997), Cosmodromion for percussion and orchestra (2002) and Heart of Darkness (“Odyssee” for clarinet and orchestra, 2007, commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle). The tragic death of the jazz trumpeter Chet Baker is the subject of his concerto for trumpet and orchestra Pietà (“in memoriam Chet Baker”, 2004). This work together with the compositions DiesIrae for trombone and orchestra (2002) and LuxAeterna for alto saxophone and orchestra (2003) form the Requiem-Trilogie – a cycle which was performed complete for the first time during the season 2004/05. In 2007, Sir Roger Norrington conducted the RSO Stuttgart presenting the world premiere of Konzert für Orchester; in 2009, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin premiered Jost’s work CodeNine under the direction of Lothar Zagrosek. This orchestral work is based on the slow movements of 9th symphonies by Beethoven, Bruckner and Mahler and Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.
Two of Jost’s operas received their first performance in 2005: the first full-length opera Vipern (“A murderous desire in four acts”) at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf in January and the first staged performance of the one-act work Death Knocks (2001) based on the satire of the same name by Woody Allen in the theatre in Erfurt in May. Jost’s large-scale “astronaut odyssey” Phoenix ressurexit had already received its first performance in 2001 with Klaus Maria Brandauer as narrator and the soprano Christiane Oelze at the festival Mittelrhein Musik Momente. At the beginning of 2006, Jost produced a completely original contribution to the genre music theatre with his choral opera Angst (“5 gateways of a journey into the interior of angst”) for chorus, choral soloists, instrumental ensemble and film projections. The plot and a reflection on the dramatic events of a mountaineering accident are exclusively communicated by the chorus. Following the premiere of the opera The Arabian Night (2007) at the theatre in Essen, Jost composed the musical drama Hamlet based on William Shakespeare for the Komische Oper Berlin during the season 2008/2009. Hamlet’s painful search for knowledge and truth is transformed in the division of the principal role between the mezzo soprano and choral voices into the general existential underlying quest of human beings. Komische Oper commissioned a second opera in 2011, Mikropolis, an opera for children. In 2012, two stage works have been premiered: Rumor at the Vlaamse Opera Gent, based on the famous novel "Un dulce olor a muerte" ("The Sweet Scent of Death") by Guillermo Arriaga, and the ballet DnA - six images of love at Oper Graz.
Jost received the Ernst von Siemens Foundation Encouragement Prize in 2003. His opera Hamlet has been elected 'World Premiere of the Year 2009' by an international jury of the magazine 'Opernwelt'. The composer received invitations to become Composer in Residence from the Orchestra of the Beethovenhalle in Bonn (1999/2000, The End of the Game for orchestra), the Staatskapelle Weimar (2003/04, CocoonSymphonie for orchestra) and in the season 2004/05 from both the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf (Vipern) and the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (first performance of Requiem-Trilogie), as well as the Komische Oper Berlin and Theater Dortmund (2008/09 and 2010/11, Hamlet), and the National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (2012/13, Taipei Horizon).