Portrait of Pierre Boulez
A Portrait of Pierre Boulez showing the composer and conductor in full rehearsal. Interview of Boulez and statements from musicians who work with him.
Born in 1925, Pierre Boulez has been the main representative of new music for over 50 years. He studied music in Lyon and then in Paris where he was a student of Andrée Vaurabourg, Olivier Messiaen and then René Leibowitz, who introduced him to serial music. His first pieces,Le visage nuptial, Le soleil des eaux, cast him amongst the up-and-coming young composers. He defended integral serialism: to apply the principle of series (12 notes in a scale in a tone row) to other musical settings such as duration, intensity and attack. In 1954 Boulez founded the Domaine Musical, a melting pot of new music for over 20 years. He worked with aleatoric composition (Structures). He was professor in Darmstadt for over 10 years, then in Harvard. In 1962 Pierre Boulez presented Pli Selon Pli, his most famous piece.
In 1974 he founded IRCAM which applied new technologies to music and looked after the Ensemble Intercontemporain. He also led a very long career as a conductor in Cleveland, London, Chicago and New York. He directed 20th century music, as well as contemporary, including his own works, but also that of Berlioz and Mahler and his participations in the Bayreuth festival are famous. His most recent pieces, often reworked, Eclat/Multiples, Messagesquisse, ...Explosante/fixe..., Cummings ist der dichter, Sur Incises..., mysterious, wild, often lyrical, are passionate and bear witness to the vitality of this rounded musician.