As a composer, Iris ter Schiphorst is influenced by years of experience as a classical pianist, a bass player, percussionist, keyboard player and sound engineer in various rock and pop bands.
Her list of works covers all genres, including thirteen major orchestral works premiered by renowned orchestras in Germany and abroad (including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, the South West German Radio Orchestra, the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, the BBC Symphony Orchestra of London, the BBC Symphony Orchestra of Glasgow, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and others), numerous full-length musical theatre works, and a variety of film music. Since the late 1980s, this list has also included a range of multimedia works.
Iris ter Schiphorst has collaborated with all of the leading new music ensembles (London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Scharoun Ensemble, Ensemble Recherche, Ictus Ensemble, Ensemble Mosaik, Neue Vokalsolisten, BIT-20 Ensemble, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Ensemble Aventure, Ensemble Ascolta, Ensemble Collegium Novum Zürich, Phace Ensemble Vienna, Kammerakademie Potsdam, the Arditti Quartet, the Doelen Quartet, Quatuor Bozzini, and others).
Iris ter Schiphorst’s resounding children’s opera Die Gänsemagd (2009) was staged with great success in Vienna and Berlin, as well as at the Zurich Opera. Her music for the children’s bestseller The Gruffalo (with Stefan Lienenkämper), which was arranged for the stage by the Hans Wurst Nachfahren Puppet Theatre and premiered by the Scharoun Ensemble at the Berlin Philharmonic, has been a successful part of the children’s theatre scene for many years.
Her orchestral work Gravitational Waves (with Uroš Rojko), which was premiered at the 2016 London Proms at the Royal Albert Hall by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain conducted by Edward Gardner, received an enthusiastic critical response. The premiere of her semi-theatrical orchestral work Imaginäre nach Lacan for actor, orchestra and live electronics, featuring Salome Kammer in the lead role and conducted by Ilan Volkow at Vienna’s Konzerthaus in 2017 as part of the Wien Modern festival, was received with overwhelming enthusiasm by both audience and critics.
Iris ter Schiphorst has received numerous awards, including the Heidelberger Künstlerinnenpreis (2015). She has been a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts since 2013, a member at the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts since 2017, and a member of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts since 2021. She teaches as professor for media composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.