David Philip Hefti is one of the most fascinating composers on the continental scene today. His music belongs audibly to the Modernist tradition, but possesses a directness of emotional impact that elicits praise from performers, press and audiences alike and has made him one of the most often-performed Swiss composers of recent years. Critics have lauded the ‘sensuousness' of his music and its ‘filigree' instrumentation. Hefti attended the Music Academies of Zurich and Karlsruhe, studying composition with Rudolf Kelterborn, Wolfgang Rihm and Cristóbal Halffter. He today pursues a dual career as composer and conductor from his homes in Switzerland and Germany.
Hefti has composed some 50 works encompassing almost all genres, but focussing primarily on chamber and orchestral works. He has won many prizes, including the Gustav Mahler Competition, the Composer Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Foundation and the Hindemith Prize. His works are featured on a dozen CDs and are regularly programmed by the world's great festivals, from Lucerne to Beijing. He is performed by orchestras such as the Zurich Tonhalle, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Bamberg Symphony, the Tokyo Sinfonietta and the Montreal Symphony under conductors ranging from Peter Eötvös to David Zinman and Kent Nagano and by soloists such as Viviane Hagner, Baiba Skride, Antje Weithaas, Hartmut Rohde and Jan Vogler.
Hefti's conducting career is central to his composing. Both roles can be heard in perfect balance on his orchestral CD Changements, where he conducts the Ensemble Modern, the Viennese Radio Symphony Orchestra, the German Radio Symphony Orchestra of Saarbrücken and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in several large-scale orchestral works, and which was praised by the critics for his ‘mastery of the orchestral apparatus' as composer and conductor alike.