Laurence Traiger

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Traiger, with Peruvian harp, Phoenix, AZ, 2010

Laurence Traiger (born October 16, 1956) is an American composer and musicologist. Originally from Bellmore, Long Island, New York, he has studied and worked in Europe since 1976.[1] He is the son of Arthur Traiger,[2] English writing pedagogue, and brother of Saul Traiger,[3] a philosophy educator.

At age 11 he composed duos for violin; at age 14 he took lessons in harmony, counterpoint and composition from his violin instructor, William Cosgriff, and at 16 had a work performed at the Hartt School of Music. In 1974 he graduated from John F. Kennedy High School (Bellmore, New York). He received a scholarship from the University of Kansas, studying composition under Prof. John Pozdro. Leaving Kansas after his sophomore year, he moved to Europe. He first studied with Prof. Cesar Bresgen at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg, graduating in 1980.[4] From 1980 to 1982 Traiger studied at the Conservatoire National in Paris with Ivo Malec. In 1982 he became a student in the master class of Wilhelm Killmayer at the Munich College of Music.

His extensive list of works include early music, Jewish music, Appalachian music, new music, choral music, orchestral music, accordion,[5] Irish music, chamber music and film music, as well as compositions for historical instruments and educational works. He has found returning to his roots touching and therapeutic,[6] incorporating both Klezmer[7] and rural Appalachian music[8] into his body of work. (One his earliest published works was a Yiddish sing-along.[9]) He has long been engaged with Jewish mysticism, and many of his works reflect this interest.[10][11] For didactic works he strives to provide something that the student could use as a vehicle for expression, attempting to capture the teenage disposition in a moody and thoughtful, yet energetic and optimistic tone;[12] he has taught at children's workshops on components of music.[13] He has been invited to take part in international "new music" festivals such as the Steirischen Herbst,[14] Klangspektrum, Villach and ADE-vantgarde, München. Traiger has received numerous commissions from renowned ensembles and radio choirs.[15] Traiger has had many collaborations with the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Choir,[16] including an invitation to compose a piece for Schumann-2010,[17] honoring the 200th anniversary of Robert Schumann's birth.[18] His work has appeared on MDR's CD "Das Hohelied Salomos." [19] He has dedicated works to various groups and artists, including Meistersextet Leipzig MDT Radio Choir[20] and award-winning classical guitarist, and fellow Mozarteum teacher, Maria Isabel Siewers.[21] Soprano Priska Eser-Steit lists Traiger as one of the few composers of "modern music" in her repertoire.[22] His work has been premiered by the Tyrolean Chamber Orchestra,[23] Orpheus Choir of Munich,:[24] nota bene:[25] and Ensemble Cantissimo, among others.[26] His favorite period is Baroque, describing it as "when rhetoric in music as well as in speaking was prized, and musicians 'spoke' with their instruments." He has been described by Howard Arman[27][28] as one of the few composers of music for Baroque instruments today.[1] His motets have been performed by Cantissimo Ensemble and Cantemus Lugano.[29] He has won numerous composition awards, including from ORF (broadcaster) and the publisher Barenreiter.[30]

Laurence Traiger teaches at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and the Innsbruck branch of Mozarteum University of Salzburg.[31] His areas of interest include music history, theory for music teachers, composition and arrangement, and vocal polyphony of the 16th Century.[32] At the 2013 Internationale Sommerakademie Mozaertum, Traiger was featured in a Komponistenporträt (the presentation of a living composer in talk and music).[33]

Musical style[edit]

In 1986, Traiger "turned away from the 'avant-garde' and tried to find my own voice in tonality."[1] With an emphasis on clarity, sensuality, and excitement, using tonal sonorities, his work has been described as melodically oriented and rhythmically varied, rich in contrast and atmosphere, and "fresh and alive."[26] His goal is to make his work directly accessible to widely ranging ensembles and audiences.[34]

Notable works[edit]

With Richard Voss,[35] Traiger has written two tune book collections of Irish folk music, arranging the songs for piano solo in both. "Roving Through Ireland" is a collection of 38 traditional Irish ballads.[36] "O'Carolan's Tunes for Piano"[37] is a collection of 32 songs, originally for harp, by Turlough O'Carolan, 17th Century Irish harper. Voss and Traiger have three other tune book collaborations, including "Auf Den Spuren Der Inkas".[38]

"According to Juliet" is a monodrama (in four scenes for soprano, flute and accordion) written by Traiger. Using excerpts from the original text of Arthur Brooke's Romeus and Juliet, written shortly before Shakespeare's birth, Traiger tells the beautiful but hopeless love story from Juliet's perspective.[39][40] The work was premiered with great success in the 2007 Black Forest Music Festival in Badenweiler; the Munich premiere of the libretto was 16 March 2010.[41] Reviewer Bianca Flier reported that the interplay of the voice and instruments grips the audience until the dramatic finale, and that "the composer has created a moving and compelling, almost unearthly work."[42]

"Aliyat" is a work for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. Based on mystical teachings of Judaism, the composition describes the journey of a disembodied soul through the various stages of life after death, as one imagines oneself in the mystical tradition of Kabbalah.[43]

Traiger considers his cantata, "Be Still," written for the 9/11/2001 tragedy, to be one of his definitive works.[44] Commissioned by the Orpheus Choir of Munich,[45] Joel Frederiksen was the narrator/bass soloist for the 30 June 2002 premiere,[46] at the Europäischen Wochen, Passau.[47] The OCM has long collaborated with Traiger, and premiered many of his works.[45] Traiger and Frederiksen have other collaborations, most recently their work honoring Baroque architect Domenico Martinelli. For "Project Martinelli,"[48] Traiger was commissioned, and wrote a Baroque piece for arciliuto, theorbo and soprano based upon text by Frank Lloyd Wright.[49]

"Prayer Without Words"[50] has been, very likely, his most widely played piece, with three concerts at the Scharzwald Festival in 2006,[51] as well as at the International Festival of Sacred Choral Music in Rottenburg am Neckar 2008,[52] the Munich-based festival "Cantional 2009" and various church concerts throughout Germany.[44]

"Nach Im Schlaf" was written in 1998 for the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Chor. A 12-part composition, it is based on text from the Song of Songs. It was performed by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk Chor at the opening of its 2012-2013 season.[53] His 2015 piece for the choir, "Till This Night," uses the famous monologue from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" in which Romeo says of his mistress: "Swear it, my eye; before this happy night not you know what beauty is."[54]

In 2014, Traiger wrote the music for the award-winning[55] documentary movie "Fukushima Nichts Ist Wie Es War."[56]

On the 2018 occasion of Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday, Traiger created RheinMain Ode to Mandela, a work for speakers, two choirs, instrumental ensemble, percussion and organ commissioned by the Vocal Art Frankfurt Festival.[57]


  • BR Musica Viva 1990
  • Expan, Spittal an der Drau 1993, 1999
  • Montafoner Summer Concerts 1993
  • Youth Music Festival, Germany 1997 Berg
  • ADevantgarde, Munich 1991, 1993, 1999
  • Swabian Culture 1998
  • MDR Summer of Music 1999
  • Kissinger Summer 1999
  • Musica Nova - Sofia 1999[58]
  • Sound Spectrum: Festival of New Music Villach 2000
  • Black Forest Music Festival: Freudenstadt, Baden Weiler, Hinterzarten 2006,[1] 2007
  • European Music Festival, Passau 2002
  • APC Festival, Kempten 2004
  • European Music Festival Stuttgart 2005
  • Salzburg Festival 2003, 2005
  • Lower Saxony Music Days 2006
  • € Classical Festival 2007
  • Handel Festival, Halle 2007
  • 14 Annual International Viola d'amore Congress, 2008[59]
  • Vocal Art Frankfurt Festival, 2018

Selected works[edit]

Sologesang (Solo Vocal)[edit]

  • "Songs of Reverence" 1986 soprano, violin and piano
  • "From the book of Nature" 1987 soprano, 2 flutes and string orchestra; alto, tenor and bass soloists, soprano, alto, tenor and bass viola da gamba
  • "Canti di San Francesco" 1989 soprano and piano
  • "Puer nobis natus est" ("Unto us a child is born", based upon a Gregorian chant) 1989 bass and organ,
  • "Lev tahor" 1993 Altus, trumpet and organ (Lev tahor- a clean heart; from Psalm 51:10- "Create in me a clean heart, O God"[60])
  • "It is you" 1999 soprano and string quartet
  • "A Silver Dove" 2003 mezzo-soprano and piano
  • "According to Juliet"[61] 2005 soprano, querflöte and accordion
  • "Kol Dodi" 2007 soprano and the oboe (Kol dodi- voice of my beloved[62])

Solo Works[edit]

  • "Le sanctuaire intérieure" 1988 - Viola d'amore solo
  • "Nature Spirits" 1988 - baroque lute[63]
  • "Invocation" 1989 - Organ
  • "Prelude, Meditation and Legend" 1987, 1990 - baroque violin solo
  • "Preludium and Passacaglia" 1990 - Piano
  • "Mother Earth" 1991 4 Contemplations Musikverlag Christofer Varner MCV 1202 - Viola Solo
  • "Messages" 1992 - Guitar
  • "The Musical Zodiac" - Piano
  • "Inter-Mountain Journey" 1994 Edition Zither EZ NM01 - Alto Z


  • "Trois Prières" 1986 SSA
  • "He is a" 1986 SSATBB
  • "St. Michael" 1987 SATB, alto and Baritonsoli and two percussionists
  • "Rex e progenie Jesse" 1988 SSAATTBB
  • "There Moshe died" in 1992 SSATB (Based upon the final passages of the Torah, where the greatest leader of the Jews, who communed with God, died.[64])
  • "Power and Beauty" 1996 SATB
  • "From the Herbal" in 1997 a solo chorus (SATB) and two tutti choruses (the SATB)
  • "A Concert of Spirituals" 1996 solo soprano, SATB, piano, strings and percussion
  • "Noch Im Schlaf" 1998 solo chorus (SATB) and 2 tutti choruses (the SATB) (From the Song of Songs, expresses human love and also a dialogue between the cosmos and the Earth.)[65]
  • "Sweet is the Light" 1998 SATT Bar B Bar B or SAAT (Ecclesiastes 11:7 "Sweet is the light. It is good for the eyes to see the sun.")
  • "Hymns To Light" 1999 SSATB; Performed by the Swedish chorus, Coro Piccolo, in Brugherio, Italy, in 2000; the work was described as "looking easy at first glance, but turns out to be very difficult intoned." Traiger was at the concert and was reported "to enjoy what he heard." .[66]
  • "Endless Light" (Based on Kabbalah text on the light of creation)[67] in 2000 for 10 voices SAATTTT ATB Bar Bar BS
  • ""Und leuchtet" pan flute and cimbalom in 2001 (or 2 dulcimers) SSATB
  • "Be Still" Cantata to 9.11.2001, 2002 Altus solo, bass solo, string orchestra, harp, organ and two percussionists; ("Be still, and know that I am God"; Psalm 46:10)
  • "Prayers Without Words" 2003, 2 solo violins, choir (SATB) and orchestra[50]
  • "Armour of light" based on "L'homme armé" 2006, 6 Male voices, two cornetti and 3 trombones
  • "Prières et Contemplations" 2007 SSA AT Bar B, Pan Flute (or Querfl.[68]) Organ (Based on the sayings of Bulgarian magus Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov)[69]
  • "I Saw a Ship" 2011, SSA and Piano[70]

Chamber music[edit]

  • "Songs of the Wind" 1986 Edition Helbling J-43 523 Treble Recorder
  • "Le sanctuaire intérieure" 1988 Viola d'amore solo
  • "Nature Spirits" 1988 Baroque
  • "Invocation" 1987 Organ
  • "Prelude, Meditation and Legend" 1987, 1990 MCV 1200 * baroque violin solo
  • "Il volo del'archangelo" 1986 (Fantasy on a Theme of Corelli) (baroque) violin and harpsichord (or piano) (Variation of Arcangelo Corelli's Sonata for violin and harpsichord, Op. 5, No. 120)
  • "Viola Duos" 1989 MCV 1201 * 2 violas
  • "Elevation" 1990 clarinet, violin and piano
  • "Divertimento a quattro" 1990 MCV 1206 * String Quartet
  • "Prelude and Passacaglia" 1990 piano
  • "Mother Earth" in 1991, 4 Contemplations MCV 1202 * Viola solo
  • "Messages" 1992 Classical Guitar
  • "Down East" Maine Landscape 1993 a clarinet sextet
  • "Hidden Landscape" 1993 flute, oboe, clarinet, viola, cello and double bass
  • "Enharmonic Fantasy and Fugue" 1993 harpsichord
  • "Inter-Mountain Journeys" 1994 Altzither[71]
  • "Submarinal Scenes" 1994 woodwind quintet
  • "O'Carolan Ladies" 1994 hammered dulcimer and harpsichord
  • "Serenade" 1995 oboe, guitar and bassoon
  • "About Bass" 1997 Double Bass, Piano and String Quartet
  • "Appalachian Dance Fantasies" 1997 MCV 1203 * violin and cello (and violin and viola)
  • "Love Chase Trio" 1999 oboe d'amore and oboe da caccia
  • "Six nudes" 1999 clarinet and piano (the guitar instead of piano)
  • "Pursuit" 2000 flute, clarinet, two violins, viola, cello and double bass
  • "Introspection" 2003 MCV 1204 MCV * Violin and Piano
  • "Awakening" 2004 flute and accordion, inspired by Thomas Merton[72] (2005 for flute, violin and cello; 2007 for violin and accordion)
  • "Dispositions" 2005 MCV 1205; 3 violins cello and piano (also viola and piano) (For teens, described as an introduction to classical music)[73]
  • "Rhapsody in Blue Grass" 2006 MCV 1211
  • "3 Violins" Klezmer Fantasies "2006 MCV 1212
  • "Soulmates" 2007 violin and cello


  • "Pulsation" 1991 violin and symphonic orchestra
  • "La Canterina" by Haydn Chamber Orchestra in 1996
  • "Messianic Prophecies" 1993 string orchestra (12-Stimmig in 3 groups)
  • "Visions" 2001, by Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra in 2008[74] (Traiger describes visions as extraordinary insights; visions that are mental images of a world of harmonic interplay.)[75]
  • "Meditation I" 2001
  • "Prayers Without Words" 2003, Orchestra (SATB choir)
  • "Light Mass" 2009, Soprano Solo, Congregational voices, Trombone, Choir SATB and String Orchestra
  • "Duo Concertino" 2010, 2 Solo Violins and Orchestra
  • "Aliyat" 2011; For mezzo-soprano and orchestra based on mystical teachings of Judaism. The composition describes the journey of the disembodied soul through the different stages of life after death, how they are imagined in the mystical tradition of Kabbalah.[43]

Film Music[edit]

Vocal Works[edit]

  • "Songs of Reverence" 1986 - Soprano, Violin, Piano
  • "From the book of Nature" 1987 - Soprano, 2 Flutes, 2 Violins, Viola and Violoncello[78]
  • "Sieben sind es" 1987 - Alto, Tenor and Bass soli, Discant,
  • "Canti di St. Francesco" 1989 - Soprano and Piano
  • "Puer natus est nobis" 1989 - Bass and Organ
  • "Lev Tahor"1993 - Counter Tenor, Trumpet (or Zink[79]), Organ
  • "Du bist es" 1999 - Soprano and String Quartet
  • "A Silver Dove" 2004 - Soprano and Piano
  • "According to Juliet" 2005 - Soprano, Fllue and Accordion
  • "Children of Earth" 2006 - Bass and Theorba
  • "Kol Dodi" 2007 - Soprano and Theorba (or Harpsichord)

Educational works[edit]

  • "Concert Pieces" for Violin Students 1988 Doblinger 03123 - 2 to 4 Violins
  • "Concert Debut" 1989 Doblinger 18069 - Violin (open Strings) and Piano
  • "Genius at Play"1990 Doblinger 03318 - Violin (1-4 finger) and Piano
  • "Sonata Granda" 1988 - Guitar
  • "The Musical Zodiac" 1992 12 easy Pieces - Piano
  • "Was in aller Welt?" 1997 Melodrama - String Ensemble (easy), Piano and spoken parts
  • "Bio Trio" 2007" - 3 Violins


  • Grants from the Austrian Federal Department of Arts and Research (1977–78 and 1979–1980)
  • Award of the provincial government of Salzburg in 1979
  • Composition Prize of the 1978 ORF
  • Hausmuikpreis the Bärenreiter Verlag 1987
  • International Competition for Choral Music of Spittal / Drau 1991
  • Kunstförderung der Landregierung Tirol 1995


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  4. ^ Komponisten
  5. ^ Müllheim: "Das Akkordeon hat einen Wandel durchlaufen" -
  6. ^ AbelDuo » Press Reviews
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  8. ^ "ltraiger - Rhapsody in Bluegrass". Retrieved 2018-11-03.
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  18. ^ Die nächsten Konzerte | MDR.DE[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Review: Gewaltsam Wie Der Tod Ist Die Liebe: Das Hohelied Salomos - MDR Choir And Orchestra | Cross Rhythms
  20. ^[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Isabel Siewers profile
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  23. ^ Komponisten unserer Zeit XII - Tiroler Kammerorchester Innstrumenti - Veranstaltung -
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  25. ^ Danes naokoli: torek, 06.09.2011 | Dnevnik
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  37. ^ Richard Voss & Laurence Traiger, O'Carolan's Tunes for Piano
  38. ^ VOSS RICHARD + TRAIGER LAURENCE - Noten - Musiknoten - Songbook
  39. ^ ACCORDING TO JULIET, Monodram über Romeo und Julia aus der Sicht der Julia
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  41. ^ schwere reiter - Programm
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  47. ^ [ orpheus chor münchen ] chronik 2000- 2009
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  49. ^ Zwischen Mars und Venus - Joel Frederiksen/ Ensemble Phoenix Munich - Projekt Martinelli, Sonntag, 25.04.2010 Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Mars-Venus-Saal - München Ticket
  50. ^ a b
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  53. ^
  54. ^ "Till the Night".
  55. ^ Award winning documentary
  56. ^ Fukushima documentary
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  60. ^ Lev Tahor - A Pure Heart
  61. ^
  62. ^ Original text - Hebrew - Kol dodi Hine ze ba Ani Shomea et kol dodi
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  71. ^ Guitares §
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External links[edit]