Tristan Murail in Portrait

Happy New Ears

Tristan Murail, born in 1947, is one of the most influential contemporary composers from France. He was a student of Olivier Messiaen, winning the Prix de Rome in 1971. During his subsequent stay at the Villa Massimo, the encounter with Giacinto Scelsi was especially important to him. Starting in the 1980s, Murail dedicated himself to exploring and subsequently generating sound with the help of computers. Together with Gérard Grisey and Hugues Dufourt, he is considered a representative of ›musique spectrale‹, which is less about constructive principles (which tend to dominate serial music, especially the kind written during the post-war years) than the listening experience of the recipient as the composer’s point of departure. The spectrum of individual sound is examined in all its facets, including by electronic means; this analysis in turn results in the music, whose starting point is always sound. Having been a professor of composition at IRCAM in Paris (1991-1997) and at New York’s Columbia University (1997-2011), Tristan Murail has influenced many younger composers. Ensemble Modern dedicates a portrait concert to this idiosyncratic mind in its series ›Happy New Ears‹ at the Frankfurt Opera on September 5, 2017; the works ›Mémoire/Erosion‹, ›L’Esprit des dunes‹ and ›Les Ruines circulaires‹ offer insights into Tristan Murail’s musical output. The composer will be on hand to answer the questions of the musicologist and moderator of the evening, Lukas Haselböck.