Biography

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 Katharina Thalbach.

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 Träumenden Knaben" using a 'Pierrot' group of players, and a String Quartet for the Kuss Quartet. These took place in September 2009.

Following a commission by English National Opera and Punchdrunk the opera" The Duchess of Malfi "had it's premiere and was given 14 sold-out performances in July 2010 in a disused office block in London’s docklands. The work was presented in Punchdrunk’s customary ‘immersive’ style.

In November 2010 the premiere of an extensive song-cycle, Le Serpent Rouge by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andre de Ridder took place in London.

Also in 2010 Rasch produced the soundtrack for Jens Neubert's film version of Carl Maria von Weber's opera "Der Freischütz" entitled "Hunter's Bride".The recording with the LSO und Daniel Harding and soloists(among them Juliane Banse,Michael Volle,Rene Pape)took place at Abbey Road Studios,London.

In summer 2011 Rasch was 'Composer in residence' at the chamber music festival in Moritzburg near Dresden.

A new production of the "Duchess of Malfi"had it's premiere at Chemnitz Opera in March 2013(dir. by Dietrich Hilsdorf,cond.by Frank Beermann).

In 2014 a commissioned work for soloists,choir,boy's choir and orchestra commemorating the outbreak of World War I was performed during the Three Choirs Festival at Worcester Cathedral/UK and broadcasted on BBC3.