Learn more about Hector Parra

Hèctor Parra © Elisabeth Schneider
Hèctor Parra was born in Barcelona (1976) and first studied music at the Conservatory there, receiving prizes with distinction in composition, piano and harmony. He studied piano with Jesús Crespo and composition under David Padros, Brian Ferneyhough and Jonathan Harvey, as well as with Michael Jarrell in Geneva.
Parra also holds a Masters degree in Science and Arts Technology from the University of Paris VIII and a postgraduate qualification in composition and computer music from IRCAM, as well as having completed a postgraduate residency at the Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse in Lyon in 2004 - 2005.
Premieres of Parra’s works have been performed by Ensemble Intercontemporain, Klangforum Wien, the Arditti Quartet, ensemble recherche, Ensemble Contrechamps, musikFabrik, KNM Berlin, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège, Holland Symfonia, National Orchestra d’Ile-de-France and Barcelona National Orchestra.
Parra has received commissions from numerous institutions (including the French Ministry of Culture, the Spanish Ministry of Culture and the Berlin Academy of Arts). Following Strette for soprano with real-time video (created at the end of his course there), IRCAM commissioned L'Aube assaillie (2004-2005), a choreographed piece which stated Parra’s artistic ideal – the use of energetic impulses resulting from the friction between different temporal flows. IRCAM commissioned work from Parra again in 2005 (Chamber Symphony - Quasikristall), this time a joint commission with Ensemble Intercontemporain.
Hèctor Parra has also received commissions from several high profile ensembles, with Abyss - Antigone IV and Stasis - Antigone 1 (two parts of his 2002 cycle Antigone) being commissioned by ensemble recherche and the Arditti Quartet respectively. A second string quartet (Fragments on Fragility, 2009) was written for the Arditti Quartet, and another commission from ensemble recherche was behind the piece Love to Recherche (2010). Parra also dedicated the piece Early Life to ensemble recherche in 2010.
Parra’s works have received numerous awards – the INAEM Prize for Musical Composition (The National Institute for Performing Arts and Music of Spain) (2002), the Earplay Donald Aird Memorial International Composition Prize (San Francisco, USA) (2007), the Impuls Graz Composition Prize (2008), the Tendencies Prize (from Spanish newspaper El Mundo) (2009) and the Ernst von Siemens Composition Prize (2011).
His works are published by Durand (Universal Music Publishing Classical, Paris) and by Editorial Tritó (Barcelona). A monographic CD of his trios and chamber music pieces performed by ensemble recherche was published by KAIROS (Vienna) in 2008. In 2010 KAIROS published Parra’s chamber opera Hypermusic Prologue, using a libretto written by the renowned Harvard physicist Lisa Randall, and played by Ensemble Intercontemporain and IRCAM.
More recently Parra has been Professor of Electroacoustic Composition at the Conservatorium of Aragon, Spain (2005- 2011), Professor of the Manuel de Falla Composition Course 2010 in Cádiz (Andalucia), and has taught composition at the Academy Voix Nouvelles 2011 of Fondation Royaumont. He has lived in Paris since 2002.