in vain

The Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas is considered one of the leading composers of our times. Haas cannot be pigeonholed and sails a very distinct course.

In his expansive, dramatic compositions he conjures up sounds with timbres and exotic keys. In his work, one perceives the symphonic grandeur of his compatriot Anton Bruckner, but his delusional music equally evokes memories of the massive, microtonal fantasies of Giacinto Scelsi and James Tenney.

His composition for large ensemble in vain from 2000 is regarded as his absolute masterpiece. The audience is literally immersed in light and darkness, so that all concentration lies on the meticulous play of sounds. Much of the work is performed in the dark.

When the Italian magazine Classic Voice asked more than a hundred European music connoisseurs what timeless masterpiece this young century had produced so far, the answer was unequivocal: in vain by Georg Friedrich Haas.

Press quotes:

… waves of opulently strange, beautiful sounds … it often seemed that supernatural forces were at work … it was often hard to believe that these otherworldly sounds were coming from acoustic, not electronic, instrument … a masterpiece. (Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times)

Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas’s in vain was an hour-long ensemble work that made a shattering nocturnal impression … a monumental work. (Tom Service, The Guardian)

Programme & credits


Georg Friedrich Haas
in vain


notabu.ensemble neue musik
conducted by Filip Rathe (November Music Den Bosch/ deSingel Antwerpen)
conducted by Mark-Andreas Schlingensiepen (Tonhalle Düsseldorf)


Tuesday 09 November 2021, 20:30
Den Bosch (NL), Verkadefabriek
in festival November Music
Sunday 14 November 2021, 20:00
Düsseldorf, Tonhalle
Wednesday 25 May 2022, 20:00
deSingel Antwerpen