103. David Philip Hefti [365 Composers for 2013]


13th April – David Hefti

Hefti (13th April 1975) is our composer for 13th April, to mark the day of his birth.
Nationality: Swiss
Lifespan: Still alive
Genre: 20th Century
Education: Conservatoires in Zurich and Carlsruhe
Fame Ranking: 5

David Hefti is a young, contemporary composer who has won an enormous number of prizes and competitions in his short career. He studied composition, clarinet, chamber music and conducting at the prestigious conservatoires in both Zurich and Carlsruhe, and can count respected names such as Wolfgang Rihm amongst his teachers.

Hefti has enjoyed considerable success, and is frequently invited to take part in international music festivals both as a composer and a conductor. His website http://www.davidphiliphefti.com gives details of his current projects and recordings, as well as his own personal commentary on each of his compositions.


rotas square

Hefti is an experimental composer. When writing for a particular solo instrument, he exploits every possible technique, making his works challenging and unusual. For example, he frequently employs quarter-tones (notes in between semitones) and even microtones (notes in between quarter-tones) to produce mysterious effects. In “ROTAS”, which is a concerto for oboe, he requires the player to use no less than 3 different instruments, to play with the reed alone, and to play the instrument without its reed. “ROTAS” is inspired by an ancient palindrome inscribed in Latin square which reads “SATOR – AREPO – TENET – OPERA – ROTAS” – its precise meaning is unknown. Hefti has written a work for each word in the palindrome

Here is the first part of Hefti’s “ROTAS” oboe concerto:


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