Ana-Maria Avram was born in 1961 in Bucharest, Romania. She attended the National University of Music in Bucharest from 1980 to 1985 then she studied aesthetics at Sorbonne Paris. She was also the co-director of Hyperion ensemble with her husband Iancu Dumitrescu, who founded the ensemble in 1976. Avram also took on an administrative role by creating Spectrum XXI festival and was an early member of the Romanian Community of electronic and computer music. She continues to have performances of her works after her death, like Issue Projects Room's "Tombeau for Ana-Maria Avram" concert.
Avram's music synthesized contemporary classical, improvisation, electro-acoustic- and electronic music. Her music tended to move between improvisation and notation. She tended to use electronics to augment her sonic palette.
Romanian composer and interpreter Ana-Maria Avram was born in Bucharest in 1961. She is one of the flag-bearers of hyperspectralism, a movement that explores the phenomenological, dynamic presence of sound and understands composition as a performative experience of constant change rather than as a contained, pre-formatted process.
In 1976, Avram founded and began conducting the Hyperion Ensemble together with her husband, collaborator, and fellow composer Iancu Dumitrescu, for the performance of their own and other hyperspectralist works. Avram has written over 90 pieces of solo, chamber, and orchestral music for instruments and/or electronics. Most of this music is inextricably linked to a deep conviction about the spirituality and soul inherent in sound space, and she views compositional techniques oriented around imposed structure and control as a kind of desacralisation. She begins the compositional process by meditating. A piece then takes gains substance and contour until it is finally sculpted and liberated live: “When Ana-Maria Avram conducts, she sometimes seems to be plucking stars from the sky, or jabbing into hives, causing thousands of tiny critters to fly up into the air like flurries of gold dust. Avram allows the moment to shape the music” (WanderingStar e.V.).
Spectralism is a tendency in contemporary art music that takes the material attributes of sound as the point of departure for composition. Originating in France and Romania in the 1970s, partly in reaction to the perceived hegemony of serialism and other high modernist styles, since the 1980s the influence of spectral ideas and techniques has spread across Europe, Asia, and North and South America. Its most prominent representatives are Gérard Grisey (1946–98), Tristan Murail (1947--), and Horatiu Radulescu (1942–2008).
Spectral music uses the acoustic properties of sound – or sound spectra – as a basis for composition.
Defined in technical language, spectral music is an acoustic musical practice where compositional decisions are often informed by sonographic representations and mathematical analysis of sound spectra, or by mathematically generated spectra. The spectral approach focuses on manipulating the spectral features, interconnecting them, and transforming them. In this formulation, computer-based sound analysis and representations of audio signals are treated as being analogous to a timbral representation of sound.
The (acoustic-composition) spectral approach originated in France in the early 1970s, and techniques were developed, and later refined, primarily at IRCAM, Paris, with the Ensemble l'Itinéraire, by composers such as Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail. Hugues Dufourt is commonly credited for introducing the term musique spectrale (spectral music) in an article published in 1979. Murail has described spectral music as an aesthetic rather than a style, not so much a set of techniques as an attitude; as Joshua Fineberg puts it, a recognition that "music is ultimately sound evolving in time". Julian Anderson indicates that a number of major composers associated with spectralism consider the term inappropriate, misleading, and reductive. The Istanbul Spectral Music Conference of 2003 suggested a redefinition of the term "spectral music" to encompass any music that foregrounds timbre as an important element of structure or language.
In France, spectralism grew out of the work conducted by the circle of composers associated with the new music ensemble l’Itinéraire, founded in 1973 by Murail and Roger Tessier. Although the “spectral” moniker was not applied to the music of Grisey, Murail, or other members of this group until 1979, when composer Hugues Dufourt coined the term for a radio program outlining their compositional philosophy, many of the basic precepts of the spectral aesthetic had already taken shape by the mid-1970s. Foremost among these was the call to return to sound. Exploring the psychoacoustic properties of sound, it was argued, would provide a more secure foundation for musical communication, pointing a way beyond the abstractions of serial technique. This renewed attention to the materiality of sound led to a heightened appreciation for the interdependence of its constituent parameters (frequency, duration, intensity, timbre), which stood in contrast to their dissociation in serial theory and practice.
The spectralist movement inspired more recent composers such as Julian Anderson, Ana-Maria Avram, Joshua Fineberg, Georg Friedrich Haas, Jonathan Harvey, Fabien Lévy, Magnus Lindberg, and Kaija Saariaho.
Some of the "post-spectralist" / "hyperspectralist" French composers include Eric Tanguy, Philippe Hurel, François Paris, Philippe Leroux, and Thierry Blondeau.
In the United States, composers such as Alvin Lucier, La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Maryanne Amacher, Phill Niblock, and Glenn Branca relate some of the influences of spectral music into their own work. Tenney's work has also influenced a number of composers such as Larry Polansky and John Luther Adams.
In the US, jazz saxophonist and composer Steve Lehman, and in Europe, French composer Frédéric Maurin, have both introduced spectral techniques into the domain of jazz.