About

German-Austrian composer and conductor Kai Johannes Polzhofer, born in Munich in 1989, graduated with a diploma with high distinction from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” Leipzig in 2013, a Bachelor’s of Arts with high distinction in philosophy from the University of Leipzig, and is currently finishing his Doctorate at Harvard University under the guidance of Chaya Czernowin. He studied with Klaus Lang, Wolfram Schurig, Friedrich Schenker, Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Gösta Neuwirth, and has won several prizes and fellowships including the Austromechana Composition Prize, the Academy Schloss Solitude Fellowship, Francis Boott Prize, the Blodgett Prize, and a national scholarship (Deutschlandstipendium). Broadcast in Austria and Germany (e.g. Österreich 1, Bayern Klassik), his music has been performed both in Europe and North America by ensembles such as JACK Quartet, Ensemble Surplus, Ensemble Dal Niente, Parker Quartet, Elision Ensemble, and Ensemble Recherche. He curated conferences and panels about contemporary composition among others at Harvard University, the Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, and authored several articles on musicology, composition and philosophy. In 2016 he co-edited the book Perspectives for Contemporary Music in the 21st Century (Wolke Verlag). In 2010, Polzhofer co-founded the ensemble forma Leipzig, a group focused on linking contemporary music and literature, for which he remains music director. He also served as Music Director of the Dudley Orchestra (Symphony Orchestra of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard), as well as Assistant Conductor of the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra, and is co-founder of the Du Bois Orchestra at Harvard (a diverse group focused on social outreach and advocating for social justice and equity through classical music). Polzhofer was selected for masterclasses with Jorma Panula, Daniele Gatti, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, and Sian Edwards, and has served as assistant conductor to Federico Cortese and Ilan Volkov. Besides his work as artistic advisor for forma Leipzig e.V. Polzhofer currently volunteers as executive consultant for The Diakron Institute for Cross-Cultural Exploration and Interdisciplinary Studies. Polzhofer’s compositions are published by Edition Gravis.

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