Pierre Boulez

~ Person


Pierre Louis Joseph Boulez CBE (French: [pjɛʁ bu.lɛːz]; 26 March 1925 – 5 January 2016) was a French composer, conductor, writer and organiser of institutions. He was one of the dominant figures of the post-war classical music world.

Born in Montbrison in the Loire department of France, the son of an engineer, Boulez studied at the Conservatoire de Paris with Olivier Messiaen, and privately with Andrée Vaurabourg and René Leibowitz. He began his professional career in the late 1940s as Music Director of the Renaud-Barrault theatre company in Paris. As a young composer in the 1950s he quickly became a leading figure in avant-garde music, playing an important role in the development of integral serialism and controlled chance music. From the 1970s onwards he pioneered the electronic transformation of instrumental music in real time. His tendency to revise earlier compositions meant that his body of completed works was relatively small, but it included pieces regarded by many as landmarks of twentieth-century music, such as Le Marteau sans maître, Pli selon pli and Répons. His commitment to the modernist project and the trenchant, polemical tone in which he expressed his views on music led some to criticise him as a dogmatist, a reputation which softened in later years.

In parallel with his activities as a composer Boulez became one of the most prominent conductors of his generation. In a career lasting more than sixty years he held the positions of Chief Conductor of the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Principal Guest Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra. He made frequent guest appearances with many of the world's other great orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. He was particularly known for his performances of the music of the first half of the twentieth-century—including Debussy and Ravel, Stravinsky and Bartók, and the Second Viennese School—as well as that of his contemporaries, such as Ligeti, Berio and Carter. His work in the opera house included the Jahrhundertring—the production of Wagner's Ring cycle for the centenary of the Bayreuth Festival—and the world premiere of the three-act version of Alban Berg's Lulu. His recorded legacy is extensive and he received 26 Grammy Awards.

He founded a number of musical institutions in Paris, including the Domaine Musical, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Cité de la Musique, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland.

Pierre Boulez died at his home in Baden-Baden on 5 January 2016, aged 90.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2006 Symphony no. 2 in C minor Mahler; Wiener Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez 1
2007 Symphonie no. 8 Mahler; Staatskapelle Berlin, Pierre Boulez 1
2008 Concertos Bartók; Aimard, Stefanovich, Kremer, Bashmet, London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Boulez 1
2008 Mozart: "Gran Partita" / Berg: Kammerkonzert Mozart, Berg; Ensemble InterContemporain, Pierre Boulez, Christian Tetzlaff, Mitsuko Uchida 1
2009 Wozzeck Alban Berg; Pierre Boulez, Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris, Chœur de l’Opéra de Paris, Walter Berry, Isabel Strauss, Fritz Uhl, Carl Doench 1
2010 Des Knaben Wunderhorn / Adagio From Symphony no. 10 Mahler; Kožená, Gerhaher, The Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez 1
2011 Boulez: Structures / Cage: Music for Piano Pierre Boulez, John Cage; Pi-Hsien Chen, Ian Pace 1
2011 Mémoriale / Dérive 1 / Dérive 2 Pierre Boulez; Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Daniel Kawka 1
2012 Solo Violin Works Berio, Schnittke, Boulez; Mari Poll 1
2012 Pierre Boulez und das Klavier Pierre Boulez; Dimitri Vassilakis 1
2012 The Firebird / Petrushka / The Rite of Spring Stravinsky; Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez 1
Boulez: Le marteau sans Maître / Sonatine / Messiaen: 7 Haïkaï Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen; Pierre Boulez 2
Cantata Profana / The Wooden Prince Béla Bartók; Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez 1
Domaines Pierre Boulez 1
Messiaen: 7 Haïkaï / Eloy: Équivalences / Pousseur: Madrigal III Messiaen, Eloy, Pousseur; Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Pierre Boulez 1
Pelleas and Melisande Schoenberg; Boulez, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester 1
Pierrot Lunaire / Melodrama, Op. 21 Arnold Schoenberg; Domaine Musical Ensemble, Pierre Boulez 1
Pierrot Lunaire / Serenade Schoenberg; Boulez, Helga Pilarczyk 2
Symphony no. 1 "Titan" / Totenfeier Mahler; Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez 1
The Orchestral Works Ravel; Boulez 1
Water Music / Royal Fireworks Music Handel; Pierre Boulez, New York Philharmonic 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1986 Stravinsky: Pétrouchka / Prokofiev: Sonate No. 7 / Webern: Variationen, op. 27 / Boulez: Sonate No. 2 Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Webern, Boulez; Maurizio Pollini 2
1987 Le Sacre du printemps / Petrushka Stravinsky; Boulez, The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic 4
1988 Chamber Concerto / Ramifications / String Quartet No. 2 / Aventures / Lux aeterna György Ligeti; Ensemble InterContemporain, Pierre Boulez, LaSalle Quartet 1
1989 Orchestral Works Debussy; Pierre Boulez, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra 2
1990 Wien Modern Ligeti, Nono, Boulez, Rihm; Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Jeunesse-Chor, Claudio Abbado 1
1990 Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F / Ravel: The 2 Piano Concertos Gershwin, Ravel; Philippe Entremont, Eugene Ormandy, Pierre Boulez 1
1991 Complete Works, opp. 1-31 Webern; Pierre Boulez 1
1991 Koechlin: Les Bandar-Log / Boulez: Le Soleil des eaux / Messiaen: Chronochromie / Et expecto resurectionem mortuorum Charles Koechlin, Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen 1
1994 Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts, II Schnittke, Lutosławski, Ligeti; Heinrich Schiff, Witold Lutosławski, Pierre Boulez 1
1995 Berg: Kammerkonzert / Stravinsky: Ebony Concerto / Dumbarton Oaks / 8 Miniatures Berg, Stravinsky; Ensemble InterContemporain, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman 1
1995 Boulez Conducts Bartók - Debussy - Ravel - Stravinsky - Webern Béla Bartók, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, Anton Webern; Pierre Boulez 1
1995 Pli selon Pli / Le visage nuptial / Notations / Sonatine / Sonate Pierre Boulez; Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris 1
1995 Schoenberg / Berio / Carter / Kurtág / Xenakis Schoenberg, Berio, Carter, Kurtág, Xenakis; Pierre Boulez 1
2000 Complete Webern Anton Webern; Pierre Boulez 1
2000 Boulez Conducts Ravel Ravel; Boulez, Camerata Singers, New York Philharmonic 1
2002 Le sacre du printemps / Firebird Stravinsky; The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez 1
2003 Piano Concertos 1 & 3 / Rhapsodies 1 & 2 Bartók; Daniel Barenboim, Yehudi Menuhin, Pierre Boulez, New Philharmonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra 1
2005 The Piano Concertos Bartók; Zimerman, Andsnes, Grimaud, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra, Boulez 2
2005 Mahler: Symphony no. 9 / Boulez: Rituel / Notations I-IV, VII Gustav Mahler, Pierre Boulez; Michael Gielen, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden‐Baden und Freiburg 1
2009 Boulez conducts Bartók Bartók; Boulez 1
2009 Boulez Conducts Ravel, Roussel Ravel, Roussel; Pierre Boulez, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Ensemble intercontemporain, New York Philharmonic 1
2009 Boulez Conducts Webern, Carter, Varèse, Berio Webern, Carter, Varèse, Berio; Pierre Boulez, Ensemble intercontemporain, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic 1
2009 Boulez Conducts Debussy Claude Debussy; Pierre Boulez, New Philharmonia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House 1
2010 Boulez Conducts Stravinsky Stravinsky; Pierre Boulez 1
2010 New Directions in Music Stockhausen / Boulez 1
2010 The Piano Concertos / Miroirs Ravel; Pierre‐Laurent Aimard, The Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez 1
2011 Boulez Conducts Ravel, Vol. 3 Maurice Ravel; Pierre Boulez, New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra 1
2012 Ravel / Debussy Ravel, Debussy; Boulez 1
2012 Collectors' Edition: Messiaen: Orchestral Works Olivier Messiaen; Pierre Boulez, Mung-Whun Chung 1
2013 Œuvres complètes - Complete Works Pierre Boulez 1
2013 Boulez Conducts Mahler: Complete Recordings Mahler; Pierre Boulez 2
2013 Pierre Boulez Conducts Schoenberg Arnold Schönberg; Pierre Boulez, Ensemble InterContemporain, BBC Singers & BBC Symphony Orchestra 1
2014 Pierre Boulez conducts Bartók Bartók; Pierre Boulez, New York Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Nimsgern 1
2014 The Complete Columbia Album Collection Pierre Boulez 1
2015 20th Century Pierre Boulez 1
2015 The Complete Erato recordings Pierre Boulez 1
Concerto for Orchestra / Music for Strings, Percussions & Celesta Bartók; Pierre Boulez 1
Dufourt: Antiphysis / Ferneyhough: Funérailles / Harvey: Mortuos plango, vivos voco / Höller: Arcus Dufourt, Ferneyhough, Harvey, Höller; Ensemble intercontemporain, Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös 1

Album + Compilation + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1993 Mahler: Symphony N. 3 in D minor / Berlioz: Romeo et Juliette (excerpts) Gustav Mahler, Hector Berlioz; Pierre Boulez, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus, New York Philharmonic Orchestra 1
1999 Beethoven: Piano Concerto no. 5 "Emperor" / Mozart: Piano Concerto no. 26 "Coronation" Beethoven, Mozart; Clifford Curzon, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1971 Parsifal Wagner; Pierre Boulez 2
1991 Sinfonia n.9 in Re Maggiore / Sinfonia n.5 in Do diesis minore Gustav Mahler; Boulez 1
1991 Symphonie n.5 in Do diesis min. Gustav Mahler; Boulez 1
1993 Berlioz: Les Nuits d’été / Mahler: Symphony no. 8 in E-flat major Hector Berlioz, Gustav Mahler; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez 1
1993 Symphony N. 6 Gustav Mahler; Pierre Boulez, BBC Symphony Orchestra 1
2000 Symphony No. 8 in C minor Anton Bruckner; Wiener Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez 1
2000 Sept haïkaï / Couleurs de la cité céleste / Un Vitrail et des oiseaux / Oiseaux exotiques Olivier Messiaen; Yvonne Loriod, Ensemble intercontemporain, Pierre Boulez 1
2004 Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder / Capriccio (excerpt) / Ravel: Shéhérazade / Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro Strauss, Ravel, Mozart; Elisabeth Söderström, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Antal Doráti, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir John Pritchard 1
2005 Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen Pierre Boulez, Patrice Chéreau, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele 1
2011 The Liszt Concertos Franz Liszt; Staatskapelle Berlin, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim 1
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Höhepunkte Richard Wagner; Bayreuther Festspiele, Pierre Boulez 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1967 Schoenberg: Transfigured Night / Eloy: Equivalences / Schoenberg, Eloy / Pousseur: Madrigal III Schoenberg, Eloy, Pousseur; Pierre Boulez, The Domaine Musical Ensemble 1
1984 Ecuatorial / Déserts / Intégrales / Hyperprism / Octandre / Offrandes / Density 21.5 Varèse; Boulez, Ensemble intercontemporain 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2003 Great Orchestral Works Ravel; Pierre Boulez 1
2010 Symphony no. 3 "Song of the Night" / Violin Concerto no. 1 Szymanowski; Christian Tetzlaff, Wiener Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez 2

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