Kevin Volans

Field of Practice:

Music / Sound

City, Country:

Dublin, Ireland


2005, 2006, 2007

Kevin Volans, born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 1949, completed a Bachelor of Music at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He went on to study in Cologne, principally with Karlheinz Stockhausen, later becoming his teaching assistant.

In the mid 1970’s his work became associated with the »Neue Einfachheit« (New Simplicity) – the beginnings of post-modernism in music. In 1979 following several field recording trips to Africa, he embarked on a series of pieces based on African compositional techniques which quickly established Volans as a distinctive voice on the European new music circuit.

In 1986 Kevin Volans began a productive collaboration with the Kronos Quartet. ›White Man Sleeps‹ for string quartet (1986), ›Hunting: Gathering‹ (1987) and ›The Songlines‹ (1988) were all written for them, and given performances in festivals ranging from the Salzburg Festival to the Montreal Jazz Festival, Berliner Festwoche, Tokyo Inkspot, Adelaide Festival, Next Wave Festival (New York) and New Music America, bringing his work to a very wide audience.

In the 1990’s Volans gave increasing attention to writing for dance, collaborating with Siobhan Davies, Jonathan Burrows, Shobana Jeyasingh in Britain as well as numerous other companies around the world. Latterly, he has turned his attention to writing for orchestra and as well as collaborating with visual artists such as William Kentridge. Recent new works include a double string quartet for the Duke Quartet, London; a Concerto for Double Orchestra for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a piece for the Ulster Orchestra. He is currently working on a piano concerto for Marc-Andre Hamelin and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, a new string quartet for the Kronos Quartet and a Triple Concerto for the Storioni Trio.