Peter Michael Hamel
Peter Michael Hamel (born in Munich, 15 July 1947) is a German composer. His works have been associated with the Minimalist style of composition, and in the late 1970s with the New Simplicity movement.
Peter Michael Hamel ranks as one of the better known and successful German composers of his generation. He studied musical composition, psychology and sociology in Munich and Berlin with teachers including Günter Bialas and Carl Dahlhaus (Fricke 2001). He then attended workshops 1970 in Darmstadt with Karlheinz Stockhausen and continued his education abroad, spending several extensive periods in Asia (Fricke 2001). Hamel has entered into an intensive engagement with musical cultures from outside Europe, especially Indian classical music. He has drawn inspiration from Asian philosophies and from encounters with the works of Jean Gebser and C. G. Jung in order to present music that seeks to make itself accessible to the listener through meditation and self-exploration. Also he worked and studied between 1969 and 1974 with American composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman and Terry Riley.
In 1970, he founded "Between", an international group dedicated to improvisational music with whom he made 6 records on the intuition/wergo label and in 1978 in Munich, he founded the Freies Musikzentrum, an institute for musical education and therapy. In 1976, his book "Through Music to the Self" was published, obtaining wide circulation in Europe and the U.S.
In 1997, he succeeded György Ligeti as professor for composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg. His orchestra and chamber music is published by Schott, Bärenreiter and E.R.P./Celestial Harmonies. He has composed four operas; many pieces for orchestra (e.g., "Gestalt"); violin and piano concertos; spiritual compositions for soprano, choirs and orchestra (e.g., "Missa"); "Shoah" (a radio-composition about the Holocaust); a number of chamber-music compositions (including four string quartets); and is in demand as a performing artist (piano, prepared piano, pipe organ, voice and live-electronics). His first symphony was premiered by Sergiu Celibidache in 1988; his second symphony had its first performance in Munich on April 29, 2008 with the Munich Philharmonic. In 2007 Hamel's "Of the Sound of life" for pianist Roger Woodward was published by Celestial Harmonies. Woodward will premiere Hamel's Piano Etudes on January 19, 2009 in the Bavarian Academy of the Fine Arts, Munich. (www.harmonies.com)
From "A few thoughts on composer PMH" by Terry Riley: "...Peter's heart did not seem to be aligned alone with the post Webern traditions that had emerged so prevalently in Germany. His sensibilities were attracted more to American minimalism and Indian music and to some degree Rock and Jazz. In this sense he stands apart in the field of modern music of Germany. He has recognized the vast importance of improvisation and being 'in the moment' in music performance. He realizes the importance of experimentation and of finding new ways to notate his ideas. However, his music is at the same time rooted in the great German tradition and today he is recognized as a major figure whose compositions have greatly enriched the development of 20th and 21st century repertoire..." (published in: "Ein neuer Ton" (Alliteraverlag, München, 2007)
He is the author of a book titled Through Music to the Self (1976).
- Aura (1972)
- Hamel (1972)
- The Voice of Silence (1972)
- Buddhist Meditation East-West (1975)
- Nada (1977)
- Colours of Time (1980)
- Bardo (1981)
- Transition (1983)
- Organum (1986)
- Let It Play: Selected Pieces 1979-1983 (1987)
- Arrow of Time/The Cycle of Time (1991)
- Violinkonzert Diaphainon Gralbilder (1993)
- De Visione Dei (2001)