Pierre Boulez, celebrated French composer and conductor, is the focus of “Boulez Legacies,” this year’s exciting School of Music Prisms Contemporary Music Festival
In honor of his 90th birthday, the School of Music celebrates Boulez’s life and innovations in the music world. A renowned composer and conductor, Pierre Boulez is one of the most important living musical avant-gardists. He is the founder of IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), housed at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which is the most-cutting edge, non-profit research center in the field of music technology and media arts.
Offering the highest-quality performances of experimental music in the Phoenix metropolitan area, the annual Prisms Festival is comprised of themed concerts and showcases music that is rarely performed, along with pre-concert talks, round tables, film screenings, and workshops. The goal of the festival is to promote the view that music is a living tradition – an exciting and vibrant part of modern life – and to pass on that belief by combining performances with informative lectures and discussions for ASU’s students, the local art and music communities and the general public.
The festival will take place from November 4 through 7, 2015, on the Tempe campus, and is organized by Simone Mancuso, faculty associate of percussion; Sabine Feisst, professor of musicology and Garth Paine, associate professor of music composition and faculty in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.
Boulez’s works are musically and technically very demanding and thus few pieces by Boulez have been heard in Arizona. This year’s festival seeks to introduce local audiences to two of his works: the rarely heard Sonatine for flute and piano, performed by ASU graduate music students Sarah Hartong and Dongfang Zhang as well as the Arizona premiere of his masterpiece, Le Marteau sans maître for voice and chamber ensemble, performed by eight members of the San Diego New Music Ensemble and directed by Mancuso.
“Pierre Boulez is a multi-talented musician, a five-star composer and conductor,” says Mancuso. “For me it is very interesting how he integrated conducting techniques in his compositions. His conducting gestures are part of his music.”