Denis Lorrain

(b. 29 July 1948, Ithaca, New York).

Canadian–French composer, born in the USA and now resident in Germany, of mostly chamber and electroacoustic works that have been performed throughout the Americas and Europe.

Prof. Lorrain studied with Jean-Marie Cloutier, Serge Garant, Jean Papineau-Couture, and André Prévost at the Université de Montréal from 1967–71, where he earned his BMus with distinction. He then studied with Bengt Hambraeus, alcides lanza, Bruce Mather, and Paul Pedersen at McGill University in Montréal from 1971–73, where he earned his MMus, and with Gottfried Michael Koenig, Otto Laske and Frits Weiland at the Instituut voor Sonologie of the Universiteit Utrecht in 1973–74. He later studied with Michel Guiomar and Iannis Xenakis at the Université Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV from 1977–83, where he earned his diplôme d'études approfondies (DEA) in music and musical aesthetics in 1978 and his DMus in musical aesthetics in 1983.

Among his honours are First Prize in the competition of the Canadian League of Composers (1970, for Arc), the BMI Award to Student Composers (1970, for Arc; 1973, for Suite pour deux guitares), the composition prize Prometheus in London (1977, for Extrema), the Grand Prix du Disque from the Académie Charles-Cros (1985, for the recording of 'Di mi se mai...' and works by other composers on the label Radio Canada International), a mention in the Concours International de Musique Électroacoustique de Bourges (1986, for it stood as night), and the Composition Prize of the New England Computer Arts Association (1987, for it stood as night).

He is also active in other positions. He co-founded the Groupe de recherche Informatique-Musique at the Université de Montréal in 1970, of which he was an active member from 1970–72. He worked at the Centre d'Études de Mathématiques et Automatique Musicales (CEMAMu) in Paris in 1974–75 and worked with Jean-Claude Risset at the Laboratoire d'Informatique et d'Acoustique Musicale of the Université d'Aix-Marseille in 1975–76. He was affiliated with IRCAM in Paris from 1978–2008, where he worked as an assistant in the department of pedagogy in 1978–79 and 1982–83, then as assistant master from 1984–88. He was a technical advisor and instructor at IRCAM in 1989–90, was responsible for its Cursus Annuel de Composition et Informatique Musicale in 1991–92 and served as projects coordinator in its department of production from 1998–2008.

He taught as an assistant professor at the Université de Montréal from 1980–82 and as a professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Lyon from 1987–2008, where he also served as co-director of the section of electroacoustic and computer music SONVS. He has taught as Professor für Musikinformatik at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe from 2009–15.

He lived in France from 1982–2008 and became a citizen of France in 1985, but he remains a citizen of Canada and has lived in Germany since 2008.


E-mail address:




Arc, 50 strings, 1969

Polyphrase, 1973


L'Angélus, clarinet, fixed media, 1971

Suite pour deux guitares, 2 guitars, 1972, revised 1973

Contra Mortem, clarinet, 1975

Le Talon d'Achille, flute, 1976

Extrema, organ, percussion, 1977

'Di mi se mai...' (text by Leonardo da Vinci), French horn, piccolo trumpet, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion, fixed media, 1979

The Other Shape, percussion, fixed media, 1985

Du Jour, la nuit, flute, 1995


P-A, version II, 8 speakers, 1970 (also version as P-A, version Luminy, fixed media)


Séquence, 1972


La Nuova Ricordanza, 2 harpsichords, 1986


Génériques (I, S, R), fixed media, 1974

P-A, version Luminy, fixed media, 1976 (version of P-A, version II)

Les Portes du sombre Dis, fixed media, 1979 it stood as night, fixed media, 1985

Construction 037 Gryllibus, fixed media, 2004

Construction 038 Au Plan musical, fixed media, 2004

Construction 039 Hologramas, Homenagem a KTC, fixed media, 2010

Construction 040 Treize Miniatures en formes de galaxies, fixed media, 2010

Construction 041 Toccata (prélude) et fugue, fixed media, 2012

Construction 042 Due Cose, Mille Cose, fixed media, 2013

Construction 043 Ostinata, fixed media, 2014

Construction 047 Eight Sturmian-Noll Studies, fixed media, 2015


Droite (text by Le Corbusier), fixed media, 1974–76


Petites pièces, piano, 1968 (written under the pseudonym David Laumes)


'Di mi se mai...'. Serge Garant/Ensemble de la Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (Radio Canada International: RCI-546) (LP)

Petites pièces. Elaine Keillor, piano (BR: 1336, 2001)

Séquence. Patrick Wedd, organ (Centrediscs: CMCCD 1784)

The Other Shape. Robert Leroux, percussion (Centrediscs: CMCCD 3288) it stood as night. (WERGO: 2022-50)