A native of Fribourg, Switzerland, Dominique Schafer is a composer whose breadth of musical expression encompasses both the acoustic instrumentations and the electro-acoustic media. Schafer’s music has been performed in the US, Asia, Latin America and Europe by ensembles and performers such as the Arditti String Quartet, Dinosaur Annex Ensemble, Ensemble Fa, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), Talea Ensemble, Frances Marie Uitti, Alarm will Sound, the Callithumpian Consort, Orchestre National de Lorraine (France), E-Mex ensemble (Germany), Modern Art Sextet, Garth Knox, and the California EAR Unit, and at festivals such as Musica Nova Finland, June in Buffalo, Acanthes Festival, and Festival Archipel Geneva. Recent projects include a commissioned work for the Taipei Chinese Orchestra (TCO), a chamber work for the New York Washington Square Contemporary Music Series, and a new orchestra work for the Cottbus Philharmonia for the 2013/14 season.
In 2012 Schafer was awarded a 12-month Swiss fellowship to reside at the Atelier Jean Tinguely of the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France. His compositions have received international recognition, and he is the recipient of numerous awards, which include a 2nd place of the Kempten Orchesterverein composition competition in Germany, the Adelbert Sprague Composition Award, the George Arthur Knight Composition Prize, twice regional winner of the ASCAP/SCI commission competition, and grants from the American Music Center. He was also a finalist of the Queen Marie José International Composition Competition, of the 33rd and 36th International Competition in Electroacoustic Music (Trivium) Bourges, France, and of the Fifth Seoul International Competition for Composers. At Festival Archipel Geneva, his Ashes in the Air II for tenor recorder and electronics, a work composed to be projected into an eight-channel surround space, was premiered. The saxophone and percussion duo piece Triplex Unity was released by the Yesaroun’ Duo on CD. Schafer has been a repeat participant at the Acanthes summer festival in France where his chamber orchestra piece Am Rande des Schattens was premiered in 2005. He gave formal presentations about his work at, among others, the Darmstadt International Courses for New Music, Yonsei University (Seoul), the Etchings Festival (France), and at the Paris Conservatory (CNSMDP).
Schafer’s primary mentors in composition include Paul Reale, Mario Davidovsky, Magnus Lindberg, Julian Anderson, Helmut Lachenmann, Brian Ferneyhough, and Chaya Czernowin. Schafer holds a PhD degree in Composition from Harvard University, and BA and MA in Composition from University of California, Los Angeles. Other studies include electronic music (with Hans Tutschku), computer-assisted composition (with Joshua Fineberg), jazz performance (with Max Jendly), and film score and conducting (with Jerry Goldsmith). An avid advocate for teaching and communicating knowledge to young students, he was awarded the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching at Harvard University two years in a row.