Film composer and virtuoso musician
Romanian born Alexander Balanescu is a prolific composer as well as one of the most visionary and exciting violinists of our time. As leader of the Balanescu Quartet, which he established in 1987, he has been instrumental in transforming the string quartet from a “classical” ensemble into a musical entity at the heart of the rejuvenation of new music, through revolutionising its repertoire and its relationship with the audience.
Throughout his career Balanescu has drawn inspiration from his collaborations. To mention a few; in the world of dance, Pina Bausch, Meryl Tankard, Jochen Ulrich, Virgilio Sieni; in the theatre, with Pippo Delbono, Matthew Dunster (for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Globe Theatre), Chiara Guidi (for Compagnia Raffaello Sanzio); in film he has twice been awarded the Gopo prize for best original soundtrack, in 2007 for How I Spent the End of the World (dir. Catalin Mitulescu) and 2016 for The Magic Mountain (dir. Anca Damian) and the FIPA prize for The Scandalous Lady W (dir. Sheree Folkson, BBC films).
Balanescu has refused to acknowledge divisions between different musical fields, consequently working with such diverse artists as Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, David Byrne, Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys, Jack De Johnette, Ornette Coleman, John Surman, Goldfrapp, Depeche Mode and Grace Jones.
His first opera, Treibgut/Flotsam, a co-production between Internationales Donaufest and Theater Ulm, was premiered in July 2016. Recordings of Balanescu’s original works, Possessed, Luminitza, Angels and Insects, Maria T, An Introduction to the Balanescu Quartet, were released by MUTE records. Balanescu recently signed to UNIVERSAL records and a new album is imminent.
Other recordings include his tribute to the Yellow Magic Orchestra, East meets East (Con-Sipio), his score for the Italian war film Il Partigiano Johnny (Virgin, Italy), The Island with Ada Milea (Blue Kapibara), and his collaboration with electronica artists, Lume, Lume (Staubgold). He is also featured on Carla Bley’s Big Bang Theory, as well as guesting on albums by Goldfrapp, Gianna Nanini, Malika, To Rococo Rot, Stateless, Spiritualized, Rabih Abou Khalil, The Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush and Grace Jones.