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, attended masterclasses with a.o. Chaya Czernowin, Steven Tagasuki, Richard Barrett, Enno Poppe, Georges Aperghis and participated in live-electronics workshops with Gerhard Eckel at the IEM in Graz and with Orm Finnendahl at the Musikhochschule Freiburg. Since September 2011 Stefan divides his time between Europe and the USA (Cambridge, Massachusetts), where he started 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.
His compositions have been played in Europe, the USA, Russia, South-America and the Middle-East by a.o. Klangforum Wien, Nadar Ensemble, Champ d’Action, Ictus Ensemble, Nikel Ensemble, Ensemble Mosaik, Ensemble Recherche, Ensemble Dal Niente, Trio Accanto, Defunensemble, 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 member of the artistic board.
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. With this ensemble and/or musicians such as Matthias Koole, Richard Barrett, Karlheinz Essl, Peter Jacquemyn, Horacio Curti, Ferran Fages, Ruth Barberan, Alfredo Costa-Monteiro, Zwerm he regularly performs instant composed music in Belgium and abroad.