(1965 - )
Torsten Rasch was born in Dresden in 1965 and began piano lessons at the age of six. From 1974-82 he was a member of the renowned Dresdner Kreuzchor and subsequently went on to study composition and piano at the Carl Maria von Weber University in Dresden. In 1990 he emigrated to Japan and established himself as a successful composer of film and TV scores, completing over 40 to date. Following an orchestral commission in 1999 from the Dresdner Sinfoniker (Völuspa-Der Seherin Gesicht for narrator and orchestra), Rasch was approached once again by the orchestra in 2002 for a commissioned song-cycle based on music and lyrics by the German industrial metal band Rammstein.
DG recorded and released the disc of the resultant 65-minute cycle Mein Herz brennt with bass René Pape, voice Katharina Thalbach and the Dresden Sinfoniker conducted by John Carewe. This followed premiere performances of the work in Dresden and Berlin in late 2003. In 2004 the disc was released in Japan and the USA, and was awarded Best World Premiere Recording at the Echo Classical Awards in Munich. In March 2006 the work was performed at the Helsinki Musica Nova to great acclaim. Later that same year, Rasch was commissioned by the ICA in London to collaborate with the Pet Shop Boys on a soundtrack for the silent film Battleship Potemkin and a live, screened performance took place in London's Trafalgar Square.
Meanwhile, interest in his music grew in Great Britain when he was taken up by the publisher Faber Music, London. A Piano Trio commissioned by the BBC for the 2006 Cheltenham Festival received highly appreciative reviews; an orchestral commission for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Kurt Masur produced Wouivres. In May 2009 Vladimir Jurowski and the LPO introduced Mein Herz brennt to London, this time with the original cast of René Pape and Katharina Thalbach. In Germany his first opera, Rotter, based on a play by East German dissident Thomas Brasch, was commissioned by Cologne Opera and received its world premiere in February 2008 in a production directed by Katherina Thalbach. A new short orchestral work, Excantare fruges was premiered in Dresden by the Dresden Sinfoniker under Olari Elts in September that year.
UK performances include two commissions instigated by Andreas Haefliger for the Two Moors Festival – which resulted in a setting of Oskar Kokoschka's poem Die Traumenden Knaben using a 'Pierrot' group of players, and a String Quartet for the Kuss Quartet. These took place in September 2009.
Rasch’s most recent project was a commission from English National Opera and Punchdrunk - a setting of The Duchess of Malfi – which was given sold-out performances in July 2010 in a dis-used office block in London’s docklands. The work was presen