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Classical Composers A-Z: Pierre Boulez

Peter Wintersgill tells something of Pierre Boulez, one of the leaders of the European avant garde musical scene.

Born
26th March, 1925, in Montbrison, near Lyons.

Adolescence
Attended Paris Conservatoire 1942 – 1945, taught by Messiaen. The clash of two contrasting influences, Messiaen and Schoenberg, gave rise to disruptive works, e.g. the first two piano sonatas and the first string quartet.

Adult Life
He developed more rhythm control in works for two pianos. Met Stockhausen and became with him the leader of the European avant garde movement. He studied conducting in the mid 1950’s and became Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1971. He has many works ‘in progress’ i.e. unfinished. He became the Director of the Institute of Research and Coordination (i.e. computer studies). He conducted at the centenary of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at Bayreuth in 1976.

He is still alive.


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