Québec City born composer and pianist, currently living, performing and teaching in Brussels and Mons (Belgium), A. Ristic was raised in an immigrant family of Polish and Montenegrin cultures and studied music at the Québec and Montréal Conservatoires, mathematics at the UQÀM in Montral. In his early career he is the pianist at ECM (1997) then co-founds (1998) the concert- and tour-prolific Trio Fibonacci, with which he played until 2006. During this period, he also builds a solid reputation as an instrumental music composer, winning prizes in numerous young composer competitions, and is recognized with the Jules-Lèger Prize for New Chamber Music and the Composer of the year in Québec OPUS prize in the year 2000.
Since the very beginning of his composing endeavours, the pieces contain mixes of styles and aesthetics, are rather long in duration (often more than twenty minutes) and often include the use of non-classical instruments (e.g. samplers in Projets d'opèra, Trigger-partita, Cinq moments à Luötica, construction tools and megaphone in Catalogue de bombes occidentales, or simply combinations of 'not so usual' percussion instruments such as bowed saw, car horns, pistols and whips). Humor, a taste for repetition, and the use of virtuosity (what he calls ìinstrumental phantasmsî) are the other ingredients that make up the fundamental traits of Ristic's compositions.
From 1997 until 2006 one can witness (looking at the scores of Environnements Improvisés, Sonate de Carnaval, Projets d'opéra) a slip from mathematical models used for composition to a progressively increasing use of graphical notations (quite the opposite idea), culminating with works like the Symphony Sublimations, a developed piece for orchestra with almost no pitches specified, resulting in unpredictable harmonic results and cluster-rich tuttis. Ristic's compositions in the following years (2008-2013) typically keep some of this graphical notation, but trend to return to traditional notation as well, with a taste for the contrast between simple, even clearly tonal harmonies and somewhat random or deliberately dissonant pitch systems.
His first opera (les Aventures de Madame Merveille) is premiered in Montreal in 2009, and following the success is re-played and toured a year later in Montreal. This work, a mixture of comic book culture, 'Main Street' musicals, electronic art and typical contemporary music is a valid example of where all the musical elements and techniques developed over the years had led the forty-year old composer; chamber opera is a medium that revealed to be very naturally fit for the composer's ideas, who is currently working on two future such projects.
After quitting the Trio Fibonacci, A.R. was already partly living in Belgium and performed as a soloist and chamber musician in that country, and was hired as a teacher at the Dalcroze Institute in Brussels and the Musiques Nouvelles ensemble in Mons (2007), and has been pursuing these activities since. He is also pianist for the European Contemporary Orchestra (since 2013), a grouping of musicians from leading contemporary music orchestras from different EU countries. His recent pieces (2011-14) mark a reintegration of some mathematical techniques (Uskok Rhapsody) in the compositions, mostly chamber music or solo works (String quartets nos. 4-5-6, pieces for piano, solo guitar, baroque instruments...) with the exception of Boiling Song (10-performer ensemble, 2013). Generally speaking, the multiplicity of techniques found in his compositions (generated musical systems, use of radically opposed musical materials, repetition) makes an argument to place his music in line with the turn-of-the-century post-modern Québec school; according to himself, it is a music of a narrative character, but in tongues. Typically, it sports a beginning, a middle, and an end. In 2014 he was honored with the Victor-Martin-Lynch-Staunton Prize (Canada Council for the Arts) recognizing outstanding mid-career Canadian artists in each of the seven art disciplines. André is a member of AMP (artmusicpromotion.org) since 2009.