Stefan Prins

In his compositional work Prins seeks to critique received convention, to break the framework of the usual, and dispose of aesthetic axioms. He envisions a musical art form beyond the safe confines of the »scene«, wherein the connection to the larger cultural discourse has gotten lost. A central pre-condition for the making of a new music with a future is the role of the aware, critical observer, one who is prepared to exploit the technologies and mechanisms of the prefabricated media with a view to their possibilities for new music. – Stefan Prins lives up to this calling. (Michael Rebhahn, 2012)

After graduating as an engineer, Stefan Prins (Belgium, 1979) started to study fulltime piano and composition at the Royal Flemish Conservatory in Antwerp, Belgium, where he obtained his Masters degree in Composition with Luc Van Hove magna cum laude. Concurrently, he studied "Technology in Music" at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels with Peter Swinnen, "Sonology" at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague (2004-2005; The Netherlands), “Philosophy of Culture” and “Philosophy of Technology” at the University of Antwerp. In May 2017 Stefan obtained a PhD in composition at Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) under the guidance of Chaya Czernowin.

Copyright Stefan Prins 2020
(Copyright Stefan Prins, 2020)

As a composer he received several important awards in Belgium and abroad, such as the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis 2010 for composition (Darmstadt), a Staubach Honorarium (2009, Darmstadt), the International Impuls Composition Award (Graz, 2009), “Week of the Contemporary Music” (Gent, 2006, 2nd Prize) and “KBC Aquarius Composition Award for Young Composers” (Brussels, 2001). In 2012 the Union of Belgian Music Journalists elected him "Young Belgian Musician of the Year" and in 2014 he received the ISCM Young Composers Award. In the same year he became Laureate of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for the Sciences and Arts in the class of the Arts. In 2016 Stefan received the Kunstpreis Berlin für Musik.

His compositions have been played world wide by a.o. Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Nadar Ensemble, Klangforum Wien, Champ d’Action, Ictus Ensemble, Nikel Ensemble, Ensemble Mosaik, Ensemble Recherche, Musikfabrik, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Dal Niente, Trio Accanto, Decoder Ensemble, Defunensemble, ASKO|Schönberg, Ensemblekollektiv Berlin, Athelas Sinfonietta, IEMA, Ensemble Courage, Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej, Zwerm Electric Guitar Quartet, Agartha, the Ensor String Quartet, Vertixe Sonora, soundinitiative, collectief reFLEXible, the Belgian Chamber Orchestra and musicians such as Yaron Deutsch, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Frederik Croene, Matthias Koole, Tom Pauwels, Mark Knoop, Stéphane Ginsburgh, Sebastian Berweck, Gwen Rouger, Malgorzata Walentynowicz, Séverine Ballon, Rei Nakamura a.o. on festivals such as the Donaueschinger Musiktage, Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, the Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Münchener Biennale für Neues Musiktheater, Warsaw Autumn, Forum Neuer Musik Deutschlandfunk, Eclat Stuttgart, Ultima Festival Oslo, Klang Festival Copenhagen, Festival Musica Strasbourg, Wien Modern, Ars Musica, Novembermusic, Transit Festival, Time Canvas, Musica Electronica Nova, Luzerne Festival, Tzlil Meudcan Festival, Impuls Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Musica Viva Festival, Time Spans New York, Ultraschall Berlin, Festival NOW! Essen ...

Together with Pieter Matthynssens, Stefan Prins is artistic director of the Belgian ensemble for contemporary music, Nadar Ensemble.

Performing improvised music is an important part of Prins's musical activities. Together with Thomas Olbrechts & Joachim Devillé he was one of the founders of the long-standing collectief reFLEXible‚ an ensemble that focuses exclusively on free improvised or instant composed music, often including dance, performance, video, film, installation.

Since 2011, he plays laptop in the band Ministry of Bad Decisions, together with Yaron Deutsch (e-guitar). Stefan also regularly plays together with double bass player Peter Jacquemyn, guitarist Matthias Koole or in ad-hoc formations.

Stefan Prins teaches composition, interdisciplinary collaborations and improvisation in Academies (Impuls Academy Graz 2017 & 2021, Syntetis Academy for Composers Radziejowicze 2016, Lucerne Academie für Zeitgenössische Musik 2020), festivals (Mixtur Festival 2019, Warsaw Autumn 2019), summer courses (Darmstadt Summercourses 2016, 2018, 2021, 2023) Klexoslab 2019, Nadar International Summer School 2017, 2019, Champdaction Labo 2015) & music/art universities (Scuola Civica Claudio Abbado Milano 2019, Kunitachi College of Music Tokyo & Osaka College of Music 2018, San Sebastian Conservatory of Music “Musikene” 2019, Performing Arts Research & Teaching School (P.A.R.T.S.) Brussels 2017-18, Musikhochschule Basel 2016).

He was guest-professor composition at the Hochschule für Kunste Bern , the Norwegian Academy for Music Oslo and, since March 2020, he's appointed Professor of Composition and director of the Hybrid Music Lab at the Hochschule für Musik "Carl Maria Von Weber" Dresden.