In his compositional work Prins seeks to critique received convention, to break the framework of the usual, and dispose of aesthetic axioms. He envisions a musical art form beyond the safe confines of the »scene«, wherein the connection to the larger cultural discourse has gotten lost. A central pre-condition for the making of a new music with a future is the role of the aware, critical observer, one who is prepared to exploit the technologies and mechanisms of the prefabricated media with a view to their possibilities for new music. – Stefan Prins lives up to this calling. (Michael Rebhahn, 2012)
After graduating as an engineer at the age of 23, Stefan Prins (Belgium, 1979) started to study fulltime piano and composition at the Royal Flemish Conservatory in Antwerp, Belgium, where he obtained his Masters degree in Composition with Luc Van Hove magna cum laude. Concurrently, he studied Technology in Music at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels with Peter Swinnen and Sonology at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague (2004-2005; The Netherlands). Additionally he studied “Philosophy of Culture” and “Philosophy of Technology” at the University of Antwerp. Since September 2011 Stefan divides his time between Europe and the USA (Cambridge, Massachusetts), where he currently pursues a PhD in composition at Harvard University under the guidance of Chaya Czernowin.
As a composer he received several important awards in Belgium and abroad, such as the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis 2010 for composition (Darmstadt), a Staubach Honorarium (2009, Darmstadt), the International Impuls Composition Award (Graz, 2009), “Week of the Contemporary Music” (Gent, 2006, 2nd Prize) and “KBC Aquarius Composition Award for Young Composers” (Brussels, 2001). In 2012 the Union of Belgian Music Journalists elected him "Young Belgian Musician of the Year" and in 2014 he received the "ISCM Young Composers Award". In the same year he became Laureate of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for the Sciences and Arts in the class of the Arts. In 2016 Stefan received the "Kunstpreis Berlin für Musik".
His compositions have been played world wide by a.o. Klangforum Wien, Nadar Ensemble, Champ d’Action, Ictus Ensemble, Nikel Ensemble, Ensemble Mosaik, Ensemble Recherche, Ensemble Dal Niente, Trio Accanto, Defunensemble, Athelas Sinfonietta, Zwerm Electric Guitar Quartet, Agartha, the Ensor String Quartet, Vertixe Sonora, soundinitiative, collectief reFLEXible, the Belgian Chamber Orchestra, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Frederik Croene, Matthias Koole, Tom Pauwels, Mark Knoop, Stéphane Ginsburgh, Sebastian Berweck, Séverine Ballon a.o. on festivals such as the Donaueschinger Musiktage, Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, the Darmstadt Ferienkurse (2010, 2012, 2014), Forum Neuer Musik Deutschlandfunk, Eclat Stuttgart, Ultima Festival Oslo, Festival Musica Strasbourg, Wien Modern, Ars Musica, Novembermusic, Transit Festival, Time Canvas, Musica Electronica Nova, Luzerne Festival, Tzlil Meudcan Festival, Impuls Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Musica Viva Festival (München).
Stefan Prins is closely involved with the new Belgian ensemble for contemporary music, Nadar Ensemble, both as a composer, live-electronics-specialist and, together with Pieter Matthynssens, as artistic director.
Together with Thomas Olbrechts & Joachim Devillé he was one of the founders of the long-standing collectief reFLEXible ‚ an ensemble that focuses exclusively on free improvised or instant composed music, often including dance, performance, video, film, installation.
Since 2011, Stefan plays laptop in the band Ministry of Bad Decisions, together with Yaron Deutsch (e-guitar) and Brian Archinal (drums).