Born: July 6, 1949
Country: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; immigrated to Ireland
Studies: University of Witwatersrand, University of Aberdeen
Kevin Volans was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel in Cologne. He now is an Irish citizen and lives in Co. Cork In the mid-seventies his work was associated with the New Simplicity - the beginnings of Post-Modernism in Germany. In 1979 after several research trips to South Africa, he began a series of pieces based on African composition techniques, which occupied him for the next 10 years.
After a productive collaboration with the Kronos quartet in the 1980s his work, principally in the field of chamber and orchestral music, has been regularly performed worldwide. The Kronos discs, White Man Sleeps and Pieces of Africa broke all records for string quartet disc sales.
In 1999 the South Bank in London hosted a 50th birthday celebration of his work and for his 60th the Wigmore Hall in London organized a “Kevin Volans Day” of concerts. He has been the featured composer in several European festivals of contemporary music.
In the last decade he has turned his attention to writing for orchestra and as well as collaborating with visual artists. Principal performances in the last years include the Berliner Musikfest, Vienna State Opera, the Salzburger Festspiele, the Lincoln Center New York, Dokumenta Kassel, the Pompidou Centre Paris, Kunstmuseum Bonn, the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts, the Edinburgh Festival, the Barbican London and the BBC Proms.
Barry Douglas and the BBC Symphony Orchestra premiered his 3rd Piano Concerto at the Proms in London last year. The piece was commissioned to commemorate the Liszt bicentenary as well as Barry Douglas’s 50th birthday.
Works for Percussion
Akrodha - Multiple Percussion
Asanga - Multiple Percussion
Chakra - Percussion Trio
Chakra for 3 percussionists and orchestra (Volans) - Percussion Trio; Orchestra
Concerto for Solo Percussion and Ensemble (Volans) - Multiple Percussion; Chamber Ensemble
She who sleeps with a small blanket - Multiple Percussion