A native of Fribourg, Switzerland, Dominique Schafer is a composer whose breadth of musical expression encompasses both the acoustic instrumentations and the electroacoustic media. Schafer’s music has been performed in the US, Asia, Latin America and Europe by ensembles and performers such as the Ensemble Contrechamps, Dinosaur Annex Ensemble, Ensemble Fa, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), Talea Ensemble, Frances Marie Uitti, Alarm will Sound, the Callithumpian Consort, Cottbus State Theater Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine, E-Mex Ensemble (Germany), Modern Art Sextet (Berlin), Taipei Chinese Orchestra (TCO), Garth Knox, Vicki Ray, and the California EAR Unit, and at festivals such as Slowind Festival Slovenia, ReMusic Festival St. Petersburg, Musica Nova Finland, June in Buffalo, Acanthes Festival, Piano Spheres Concert Series, and Festival Archipel Geneva.
Recent projects include commissions by Ensemble Proton Bern performed at multiple occasions in Europe as well as on the ensemble’s 2018 West Coast tour and a new work with live electronics for clarinetist Richard Haynes. Ensemble Proton also presented Schafer’s portrait concert in Bern, Switzerland, and subsequently recorded in studio Schafer’s portrait CD which was released in December 2018 on the prestigious Austrian label KAIROS. Previously, Schafer’s saxophone and percussion duo piece Triplex Unity was released by the Yesaroun’ Duo on CD on GM Recordings.
His compositions have received international recognition, and he is the recipient of numerous awards, which include a Fromm Music Foundation Commission Award, second place at the Kempten Orchesterverein composition competition in Germany, the Adelbert Sprague Composition Award, George Arthur Knight Composition Prize, 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. His collaboration with Marco Fusi to write a new work for viola d’amore was awarded a grant from New Music USA. In 2011-12 Schafer was awarded a 12-month fellowship from Switzerland to reside at the Atelier Jean Tinguely of the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France.
Schafer’s primary mentors in composition include Mario Davidovsky, Magnus Lindberg, Julian Anderson, Helmut Lachenmann, Brian Ferneyhough, Paul Reale, 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 scoring 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. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music of Chapman University, California.