Gérard Grisey

Gérard Grisey was born in 1946 and studied composition with Olivier Messiaen, Henri Dutilleux, Karlheinz Stockhausen, György Ligeti and Iannis Xenakis, and electroacoustics with Jean-Marie Etienne and Emile Leipp. Scholar of the Villa Medici in Rome between 1972 and 1974, he was influenced by the late Giacinto Scelsi. He later became an intern at IRCAM and then taught at the University of California at Berkeley from 1982 to 1986. In 1986, he was appointed professor at the Paris Conservatory of Music. He died suddenly on November 11, 1998, a few days after completing the Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil. Gérard Grisey is one of the most important protagonists of the movement known as “spectral music,” which he helped to create. Turning away from the serialist mentality developed after the war, he built a new spectrum between harmonics and noise that originates in natural resonance, which in themselves give color to a number of acoustical properties. Starting in the eighties, he sought to reintroduce his music representations and quasi- thematic identities, which are capable of sustaining long-term forms that renew the principle of varied repetition and development. Works like Les espaces acoustiques(1974–1985), Vortex temporum (1994–1996), and Quatre Chants pour franchir le seuil have been major successes, as have many of his other pieces, making Grisey one of the most important and original composers of his generation.