First Steps

Ramon Lazkano (Donostia-San Sebastián, 1968) studied composition in San Sebastian, Paris and Montreal. He was awarded a First Prize of Composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique of Paris and received a DEA degree in 20th Century Music and Musicology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

He has been awarded the Prince Pierre de Monaco Foundation Prize, the Georges Bizet Prize of the French Academy of Fine Arts, the Leonard Bernstein-Jerusalem Prize and the Musika Bulegoa Prize of the Basque Bureau of Music twice.

His residencies include the Joven Orquesta Nacional de España, the Musica Festival in Strasburg, the Ensemble 2e2m in Paris and the Civitella-Ranieri Foundation.

an orchestra trilogy

His residences in Rome (at the Royal Academy of Spain and at the Academy of France Villa Medici) allowed him to carry out a reflection on composition and its meaning, focusing mainly on intertextuality, silence and the experience of sound, all of which gave birth to emblematic pieces as Ilunkor (commissioned by the Euskadiko Orkestra Sinfonikoa), Hauskor (a commission by the Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid) and Ortzi Isilak (commissioned by the Orquesta Nacional de España). 

In June 2012, Peter Eötvös conducted Ilunkor with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester at the Munich Musica Viva series, while the Venice Biennale programmed Ortzi Isilak with Shizuyo Oka and the Basque National Orchestra conducted by José Ramón Encinar in 2014. Kairos Music published a cd with these three orchestral works (Ilunkor, Ortzi Isilak, Hauskor).

the laboratory of chalks

Between 2001 and 2011, Ramon Lazkano worked on Igeltsoen Laborategia (Chalk Laboratory), a large collection of chamber music pieces divided into various cycles, which echo sculptor Jorge Oteiza’s «experimental laboratory» and more particularly the concept of chalk as a matter of inscription, erosion and memory linked to childhood. The aesthetic purpose of the Laboratory led to Mugarri (2010), commissioned by the Spanish Association of Symphony Orchestras and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra. 

The pieces of the Laboratory were premiered in Austria, Germany, Poland, Mexico, France and Spain; the ensemble recherche in Frankfurt, Ensemble 2e2m in Paris, Ars Musica in Brussels and Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles programmed portrait concerts of the Laboratory, and two monography cd’s were recorded by ensemble recherche and Smash ensemble.

words and sediments

His following works not only pay new attention to architecture and duration as in Lurralde, written for the Quatuor Diotima, but also adopt engaged texts by Rosa Luxemburg (Eine Ehrenpflicht) and Edmond Jabès in the vocal works written for the Neue Vocalsolisten (Main Surplombe at Ars Musica Brussels 2013 and Ceux à Qui at Stuttgart Éclat Festival 2015). The latter got its USA premiere with the Neue Vocalsolisten and Ensemble Talea in New York in 2016, while the Paris Festival d’Automne offered a portrait in several concerts including the commission and the premiere of Ravel (Scènes) based on Jean Echenoz’s book. The festival Présences at Radio France completed this portrait in 2017 with the premiere of Etze by the Quatuor Diotima and the Diptyque Jabès.

In June 2015, the Ensemble Musikfabrik conducted by Peter Rundel premiered Erlantz (commissioned by the Siemens Foundation and the Goethe Institut), and in 2017 the Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo commissioned Hondar for orchestra, premiered that same year and recorded with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic and Pierre-André Valade.

as of 2018

Ziaboga for 29 musicians summarizes his ideas on flow, trajectory and unveiling of the matter in an instrumental environment. Conducted by Matthias Pintscher at its premiere in 2019, this work was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain. Actual sound residue, the weight of ergonomics in the instrumental playing as well as the obsolescence of the tools as a reflector of the fossilisation of the musical memories: these are the main ideas found in recent works as the trio Irarki (commissioned by the Witten Musiktage) and the Préludes, a series of 19 chamber music pieces intertwined with Chopin’s opus 28 written for the Ensemble Cairn.

Mare Maginis, a piano concerto commissioned by Radio France, Euskadiko Orkestra and WDR Köln for Alexandre Tharaud, explores an acoustic territory where one reckons on familiar signs. The virtuosity, the dialogues, the dramatic display are set in two mirroring versions with differently sized orchestras (Pleine Lune and Nouvelle Lune) where the same trajectory and sound content show the heads and tails of the proposal. A Glitch at the Edge for the Grossman Ensemble and ZIlarbizi for saxophonist Don-Paul Kahl are the last additions to the catalogue up to date.


Ramon Lazkano currently holds a composition and orchestration professor position at the Music Academy of the Basque Country Musikene where he has been its International Relations Coordinator since 2018 and is a former Head of the Composition, Conducting and Technologies Department.  From 2003 to 2015, he programmed the contemporary music series of the Quincena Musical festival in San Sebastián.

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