Allain Gaussin

(b. 6 November 1943, Saint-Sever-Calvados).

French composer of mostly orchestral and chamber works that have been performed throughout the world; he is also active as a poet.

Prof. Gaussin initially studied chemistry, mathematics and physics, but switched to music at age 20. He studied composition with Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris from 1966–76, where he graduated with premier prix in analysis, composition and writing. He also studied piano privately with Hélène Boschi from 1964–66 and conducting privately with Louis Fourestier in 1966–67, as well as electroacoustic music with Pierre Schaeffer at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris in 1974–75 and at IRCAM in Paris in 1984.

Among his honours are a scholarship to stay at the Villa Medici in Rome (1977–79), two prizes from SACEM (1983, 1989), a scholarship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (1985), a sponsorship from the Association Beaumarchais–SACD (1991), a sponsorship from the Association Orcofi (1992), a scholarship from the Villa Kujoyama in Kyōto (1994), the Grand Prix du Disque from the Académie Charles-Cros twice (1995, for his portrait recording on the label Éditions Salabert; 2014, for his portrait recording on the label Ame Son), and the Premio ICONS in Turin (1998, for Mosaïque céleste). He is the subject of the collection of interviews Musique de l'imaginaire. Entretiens avec Allain Gaussin (2014, edited by Michèle Tosi, Éditions mf).

As a poet, he has written many poems for his own musical use, most of which appear in the books Transes et Lumière (1976, unpublished) and L'Attente...L'Absolu (2004, éditions d'écarts).

He taught composition and orchestration at the Schola Cantorum in Paris from 1981–92 and taught as Professeur de Composition et d'Orchestration at the Conservatoire Louis Kervoërn of the Espace François-Mauriac in Sevran from 2000–08. He taught as a professor of composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in 2003–04. In addition, he gave seminars at the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt in 1986 and 1988, Ōsaka University in 1994, the Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Lyon in 1998, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in 1998 and 2001, Kyōto University in 2003, and the University of Tōkyō in 2003. Moreover, he participated in the research group on rhythm at IRCAM in 2004–05 and has given an annual seminar in composition at the Conservatoire Américain de Fontainebleau since 2004.

His primary publishers are Éditions Alphonse Leduc and Éditions Durand-Salabert-Eschig.





Désert (metaphysical tale, texts by Laozi, Attar of Nishapur, Blaise Pascal, Edmond Jabès), countertenor, 2 male actors, 2 dancers, clarinet, 2 MIDI-keyboards, 2 percussion, fixed media, 1995–2000


Ogive, harpsichord, 12 strings, 1977 (also version for 12 strings, 1977; versions for flute, harpsichord; flute, piano; violin, piano)

Éclipse, 2 pianos, small orchestra (16/24 players), 1979

Années-lumière, large orchestra (98 players), 1992–93


Ogive, flute, harpsichord, 1977 (version of work for harpsichord, 12 strings; also versions for flute, piano, 1987; violin, piano, 1992)

Colosseo, 6 percussion, 1978

Eau-forte, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 1982

Camaïeux, electric guitar, 3 synthesizers, percussion, fixed media (4 tracks), 1983

Chakra, string quartet, 1984

Ariane, bass clarinet/cello, fixed media (2 tracks), 1987

Mosaïque céleste (concerto de chambre), flute (+ piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), 2 clarinets (both + bass clarinet), French horn, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, double bass, 1997

Satori, clarinet, 1998

Jardin Zen, clarinet, fixed media (2 tracks), 1999 (one section may be performed separately: Méditation tendue, clarinet)

Envol nuptial, clarinet/violin, piano, 2004

L'Harmonie des Sphères, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 2006

Le Vent se lève..., flute, clarinet, harp, 2 violins, viola, cello, 2011–14

Philae, violin, 2015

Les Céphéides, violin, cello, piano, 2016


Source 4 (text by the composer), any 4 equal female voices, 1973

Vent solaire (text by the composer), soprano, speaker, mixed chorus (minimum 100 voices), 3 French horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, piano, 3 percussion, fixed media (2 tracks), 1974

Solstice (text by the composer), mixed chorus, 1975


Irisation-Rituel (text by the composer), soprano, speaker ad libitum, flute, large orchestra (78 players), 1980

Les Voix de la mémoire (text by the composer), voice, 1985

L'Aphorisme de Cioran (text by the composer), speaker, piano, 1991

Au-delà du Temps (text by the composer), mezzo-soprano, harp, 2018


Arcane, 1981, revised 1988

Tokyo-city, 2008


Nature et Apocalypse selon Ouhi Cha (sound installation), 1985 (collaboration with Ouhi Cha)

Poussières d'étoile, fixed media, 1994

Xebec Hall, fixed media, 1996


Saint-Guilhem-le-désert, 3 guitars, 1989

La Chevelure de Bérénice, flute/oboe/clarinet/soprano saxophone, 1990

Io, piano, 1991


J'ai voulu rire comme les autres, 1980 (Bernard Dubois)


Éclipse; Ogive (version for flute, harpsichord); Eau-forte. Pierre-Yves Artaud, flute; Elisabeth Chojnacka, harpsichord; Jean-Louis Petit/Atelier Musique de Ville d'Avray; Péter Eötvös/Ensemble Intercontemporain (Disques Arpège–Calliope, 1983)

Chakra. Arditti String Quartet (Montaigne Auvidis: MO 782002, 1991)

Irisation-Rituel; Arcane; Camaïeux. Irène Jarsky, soprano; Pierre-Yves Artaud, flute; Jay Gottlieb, piano; Yves Prin/L'Itinéraire; Péter Eötvös/Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique (Éditions Salabert, 1995)

Ogive (version for flute, piano). Chiharu Tachibana, flute; Takehiko Yamada, piano (Disques REM, 1996)

Ogive (version for flute, harpsichord). Mie Ogura, flute; Fuminori Tanada, harpsichord (Centre de Documentation de la Musique Contemporaine, 1997)

La Chevelure de Bérénice. Ivan Bellocq, flute (Galun Records, 2005)

L'Harmonie des Sphères; Satori; Ogive (version for flute, piano); Jardin Zen; Tokyo-city; Chakra. Sophie Deshayes, flute; Jean-Marc Fessard, clarinet; Alexandra Greffin Klein, Lyonel Schmit, violins; Gilles Deliège, viola; Séverine Ballon, cello; Vincent Leterme, piano; Renaud Déjardin/Ensemble Sillages (Ame Son: ASCP 132, 2014)