Richard Dünser was born in Bregenz, Austria, in 1959. After finishing school and the conservatory he studied composition with Francis Burt at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Having received his diploma, he took up postgraduate studies with Hans Werner Henze in Cologne and summer classes as a recipient of a composition scholarship in Tanglewood (USA), where he found valuable stimulation when he met Leonard Bernstein.
Dünser has been awarded numerous scholarships and prizes (Appreciation Award of the Ministry of Education and Arts, Young Artist Scholarship of the Theodor Körner Foundation, Scholarship of the City of Vienna, Austrian State Scholarship for Composition, Young Artist Scholarship of the City of Vienna, Ernst Krenek Prize of the City of Vienna, among others) and has been commissioned to write numerous pieces (for instance by the Bregenzer Festspiele, Festival “styriarte” Graz, Festival Steirischer Herbst, Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, Austrian Federal Ministry of Arts, among others).
His compositions have been performed all over the world by major artists (Doris and Karin Adam, Christian Altenburger, Peter Bruns, Sylvain Cambreling, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Anna Magdalena Kokits, Ernest Hoetzl, Johannes Kalitzke, Peter Keuschnig, Walter Kobéra, Donald Runnicles, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Benjamin Schmid, John Storgards, Franz Welser-Möst,among others), ensembles (Ensemble Kontrapunkte, Ensemble Plus, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Klangforum Wien, Plural Ensemble Madrid, die reihe, Studio for New Music Moscow, Artis Quartett Wien, Hugo Wolf Quartett Wien, etc.) and orchestras (Wiener Symphoniker, Wiener Concert-Verein, Wiener Kammerorchester, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Tonkünstler-Orchester NÖ, Nürnberger Symphoniker, SO des Bayerischen Rundfunks, SO des NDR Hannover, SO Vorarlberg, Slowakische Philharmonie, Philharmonie Kiev, Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, Festival Strings Lucerne, Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Mendelssohn KO Leipzig, Tapiola Sinfonietta, etc.) and are available on CD (Camerata Tokyo, Caprice, Oehms, ONDINE, ORF, Sony, VMS).
Dünser received international acclaim with his version of the opera fragment Der Graf von Gleichen after Franz Schubert, which was premièred in concert at the Festival “styriarte” Graz in 1997 and first performed in a concert version at the Festspielhaus Bregenz at Easter 2003. At the same venue, the Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste premièred his orchestra piece The Waste Land at the Bregenzer Festspiele 2003. Commissioned by the Bregenzer Festspiele, Dünser’s opera Radek was premièred in co-production with Neue Oper Wien in 2006 and first performed in Vienna in January and in the Netherlands in Zwolle in April 2007. Works for chamber orchestra and chamber ensemble, song cycles, and chamber music for various instruments complete Dünser’s catalogue of works.
Apart from his compositional activity, Richard Dünser holds a full professorship in music theory at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz and leads a composition class. He lives in southern Styria and in Vienna.