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Pierre Boulez

Pierre Boulez (born March 26, 1925) is a conductor and composer of classical music. He was born in Montbrison[?], France. He studied music at the Paris Conservatoire under Olivier Messiaen and Andrée Vaurabourg (Arthur Honegger's wife). He went on to write music in a post-Webernian serial style, serialising not only the pitches of notes, but also the durations, dynamics, accents, and so on. In later years, he experimented with aleatoricism[?] (the use of chance) and made pioneering advances in classical electronic music and computer music. His music is often described as dryly academic, without emotional content, but Boulez argues that it only sounds unemotional to somebody who does not understand the musical language it is written in.

In 1970 he became the first director of the Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique (usually shortened to IRCAM), an institution for the exploration and development of electronic and computer music.

Boulez is also a noted conductor, especially in ground breaking works from the first half of the 20th century, for example the works of Gustav Mahler, Bela Bartok, Anton Webern and Edgar Varese.

List of selected compositions

  • Piano Sonata No. 2 (1947-48)
  • Polyphonie X (1951)
  • Structures (1952)
  • Le marteau sans maître (alto, alto flute, guitar, vibraphone, xylorimba, percussion and viola, 1953-55)
  • Pli selon pli (soprano and orchestra, 1957-62)
  • Domaines (clarinet and ensemble, 1961-68)
  • Notations (piano version 1945, orchestral version 1978-80)
  • Rèpons (two pianos, harp, vibraphone, glockenspiel, cimbalom, orchestra and electronics, 1980-84)
  • Le visage nuptial (soprano, alto, female chorus and orchestra, 1951-89)
  • ...explosante-fixe... (ensemble and electronics, first version 1972-74, second version 1991-93)

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