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B i o g r a p h y

Julia Purgina


Julia Purgina studied concert viola (Wolfgang Klos/MDW and Ulrich Knörzer/UdK) and composition (Erich Urbanner and Chaya Czernowin/both MDW, as well as electroacoustic composition with Karlheinz Essl/MDW). In addition, she studied German and Slovak Philology at the University of Vienna. She completed all studies with excellent results.


With her experience as an orchestral musician (RSO Vienna, Vienna Chamber Orchestra and as a substitute at the Volksoper Vienna and the Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra), Purgina decided to specialize in the field of contemporary music and to combine her solo and chamber music ambitions with her compositional interests. Together with Roland Freisitzer, she co-directed Ensemble Reconsil until 2016 and was a founding member of the composer-interpreter group Ensemble Lux, has performed with Klangforum Wien as well as at exxj, Phace and Ensemble Wiener Collage. She has an intense musical relationship with the jazz ensemble Studio Dan.


She performed Roland Freisitzer’s Viola Concerto as a soloist with Ensemble Reconsil in Vienna and composers such as Erich Urbanner, Ivo Nilsson and Thomas Heinisch have written viola concertos (or double concertos including the viola as solo instrument) which are dedicated to her. In Spring 2010, Ms. Purgina performed her own viola concerto and a composition for viola and ensemble by Bruno Stobl with Studio New Music Moscow in the Rachmaninov Hall in the Tschaikovsky Conservatory.


As a composer, Julia Purgina has had commissions and performances from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Wien Modern, Hugo Wolf Quartet, Ensemble Kontrapunkte, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, Ljubljana Festival, oenm, Aspekte Festival, Ensemble Itineraire, Ensemble XXI. Jahrhundert, sirene operntheater, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Synchronos Ensemble Zagreb, Platypus Ensemble, Studio Dan, Ars Electronica Festival, Shanghai New Music Festival, Ensemble Quasars Bratislava, Ensemble Wiener Collage, Zeitfluss Ensemble, the Theater in Kempten (Germany) and the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt, among others.


Her work has been conducted by conductors like Sylvain Cambreling, Andrew Manze, Stefan Solyom, Roland Freisitzer, Marin Alsop, Peter Keuschnig, Antanina Kalechyts, Peter Burwik, Mei-Ann Chen, Cecilia Martin-Löf, Eugene Tzigane, Gemma New, Kerem Hasan and others.

She has been a composer in residence at the Mittersill Composer Forum (KOFOMI). During the 2013/2014 seasons she was "Composer-in-Residence" with the "Wiener Concertverein". In October 2014, she is one of three featured composers at Soundings Festival in London. 

Her orchestra piece "Akatalepsia"  (performed by Vienna Symphony Orchester and Sylvain Cambreling at Wien Modern 2018) was entered for the Rostrum of composers 2019 by the Austrian broadcast corporation and was enthusiastically reviewed as a big success for the composer.

Julia Purgina has received numerous prizes and scholarships including the Theodor Körner Prize, the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra Stipend, the Viktor Fohn Stipend, the Antonio Salieri Composition Prize, the funding support award of the state of Lower Austria in 2001, the Startstipendium 2009 and the Staatsstipendium for composers 2013 from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture.

Her first composer-portrait CD "musique noire" has been released by KAIROS in 2023 and gained international recognition. Her second portrait CD "Hydra" is released in 2024 by the Austrian Label ROS and Studio Dan, featuring Martin Siewert. Other recordings include Purgina's ensemble pieces, chamber music and solo pieces on labels such as paladino (AT), Spektral Records (GER), Sub Rosa (BE), Klangbauhaus (VEN);

Critics attest her work to create "an atmosphere of an almost surreal expressivity between exaltation and pessimism", "wohliges Unwohlsein / comfortable discomfort" (Walter Weidringer) and "magische Vagheit / magical vagueness" (Christoph Irrgeher).

From September 2016 until August 2022, Julia Purgina was appointed University Professor and Head of Strings at the MUK (Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien). Her teaching focus is contemporary music (practical and theoretical), analysis and arranging techniques. Currently she is holding a professorship for music theory at the MUK. 

In June 2022 Julia Purgina was appointed Vice-President for the arts, teaching and learning at the Anton Bruckner Private University Upper Austria in Linz and became a lecturer for contemporary music.

Her compositions are published by paladino media, Apoll Edition or are self-published. Her arrangement of Zemlinskys "Sinfonische Gesänge" is published by Universal Edition.

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