T he Living Composers Project  

Risset, Jean-Claude (b. March 13, 1938, Le Puy). Esteemed French composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, vocal, piano, and electroacoustic works that have been performed throughout the world; he is also active as a writer.

Mr. Risset studied composition with Suzanne Demarquez and André Jolivet and piano with Huguette Goullon and Robert Trimaille at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris from 1957-61. There he also had studies in mathematics and physics and earned his Doctorat ès Sciences in 1967. He was later awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh in 1994 and the Universidad de Córdoba in 2000.

Among his honors are the UFAM Prix pour Piano (1963), the Prix du Groupement des Acousticiens de Langue Française (1967), a prize in the Dartmouth electronic music competition (1970, for Mutations), and the Bronze, Silver and Gold medals from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Marseille (1972, 1987, 1999). He has also received First Prize, Euphonie d'Or and the Prix Magisterium in the Concours International de Musique Électroacoustique de Bourges (1980, 1982, 1998), the Grand Prix SACEM de la promotion de la musique symphonique (1981) and the Golden NICA from the Ars Electronica competition in Graz (1987). Recent honors include the Grand Prix National de la Musique (1990), the Grand Prix Musica Nova in Prague (1995), the Ars Nova Prize in Prague (1996), and the EAR Prize in Budapest (1997). In addition, he was named an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1986 and a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the government of France in 1989.

Among the soloists who have played his works are flautists Robert Aitken, Pierre-Yves Artaud, Roberto Fabbriciani, Gérard Garcin, and Katrin Zenz, pianists Ancusa Aprodu, Christian Ivaldi, Martine Joste, Michel Oudar, Jean-Claude Pennetier, Georges Pludermacher, Jacques Raynaut, and Dimitri Vassilakis and bass Jacques Bona. Other soloists include clarinettists Serge Conte, Michel Lethiec and Michel Portal, organist Marie-Hélène Giespieler, sopranos Linda Hirst, Janice Jackson, Irène Jarsky, Rovena Koreta, Jane Manning, and Maria Tegzes, saxophonist Daniel Kientzy, violinist Mari Kimura, Celtic harpist Denise Mégevand, and percussionist Thierry Miroglio.

Mr. Risset is also active in other positions. He worked with Max Mathews at Bell Laboratories in 1965 and from 1967-69, initially on brass synthesis and later on pitch paradoxes, sonic development processes and the synthesis of new timbres. There he also had important encounters with F. Richard Moore, John Pierce, James Tenney, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and Edgard Varèse. He worked at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Marseille from 1969-72, where he has served as Directeur de recherche at the Laboratoire de Mécanique et d'Acoustique since 1985 and was named its Directeur de recherche émérite in 1999. He established the computer sound systems at the Faculté d'Orsay and the Université de Paris in 1970-71 and served as chair of the computer department at IRCAM from 1975-79. In addition, he served as composer-in-residence at the Media Laboratory at MIT in 1987 and 1989.

As a writer, he has written many articles about computer and electronic music that have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, as well as the book An introductory catalog of computer synthesized sounds (1969, second edition, 1995, Wergo).

He taught at the Université d'Aix-Marseille from 1972-75 and 1979-85, where he established its computer sound system in 1974. He has also lectured in Argentina, Australia, Finland, France, Japan, and the USA.


E-mail address: jcrisset@lma.cnrs-mrs.fr

Street address: Mr. Jean-Claude Risset, Laboratoire de Mécanique et d'Acoustique, CNRS, 31 Chemin Joseph Aiguier, 13402 Marseille, Cedex 20, France


STAGE: Music for Little Boy (incidental music, play by Pierre Halet), soprano, flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, tape, 1968 (two sections may be performed separately: Computer Suite from Little Boy; Naka); Distances (ballet music, choreography by Jean Guizerix, Wilfrid Piollet), piano, tape, 1978

ORCHESTRAL: Prélude, 1963; Mirages, small orchestra (16 players), tape, 1978; Phases, large orchestra, 1988; Reflets/Mais déjà vient la nuit, small orchestra (15 players), 1991; Triptyque, clarinet, orchestra, 1991; Escalas, large orchestra, 2001

CHAMBER MUSIC: Dialogues, flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, tape, 1975; Moments newtoniens, 2 trombones, piano, string quartet, tape, 1977; Aventure de lignes, 4 players (electric guitar, 2 ondes Martenot, various electronic instruments, percussion), tape, 1981; Passages, flute, tape, 1982; Profils, flute, clarinet, French horn, trombone, piano, 2 percussion, tape, 1982; Filtres II, flute, piano, 1986; Voilements, tenor saxophone, tape, 1987; Attracteurs étranges, clarinet, tape, 1988; Variants, violin (with digital effects), 1994; Rebonds, Disklavier, percussion, 2000

CHORAL: Dérives, mixed chorus, tape, 1985

VOCAL: Naka, soprano, flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, 1968 (section of Music for Little Boy; may be performed separately); Inharmonique, soprano, tape, 1977; L'autre face (text by Roger Kowalski), soprano, tape, 1983; Sola (vocalise), soprano, 1985; Un aube sans soleil (text by Nathalie Michon), soprano, percussion, 1992; Mokee, soprano/bass, piano, tape, 1996

PIANO: Trois Instantanés, 1965; Filtres, 2 pianos, 1984; Filtres IV, 1986; Rounds, 1990; Tri-IX, 2002

ORGAN: Trois Esquisses, 1988

ELECTROACOUSTIC: Computer Suite from Little Boy, tape, 1968 (section of Music for Little Boy; may be performed separately); Mutations, tape, 1969; Songes, tape, 1979; Contours, tape, 1981; Sud, 4-track tape, 1984; Duet pour un pianiste: Huit esquisses, Disklavier, computer, 1989; Electron-Positron, tape, 1989; Echo for John Pierce, tape, 1990; Trois études en duo, Disklavier, computer, 1991; Luraï, Celtic harp, computer, 1992; Saxatile, soprano saxophone, computer, 1992; Invisibles, soprano, computer, 1994 (also version as Invisible, soprano, computer, 1996); Invisible Irène, tape, 1995; Saxtractor, soprano saxophone, computer, 1996; Contre nature, percussion, computer, 1996 (also longer version as Nature contre nature, percussion, computer, 2005); Avel, tape, 1997; Elementa, 4-track tape, 1998; 5 Resonant Soundscapes, tape, 2001; 5 Resonant Sound Spaces, 8-track tape, 2002; Échappées, Celtic harp, live computer, 2004; Octant, tape, 2004

DIDACTIC MUSIC: Mixte, flute, tape, 1982; Glissements, 4-8 players (various instruments), 1982; Filtres III, flute, tape, 1987; Diptère, Distyle, alto saxophone, tape, 2002; Reprises, Rumeur, alto saxophone, tape, 2003

DISCOGRAPHY (in chronological order, but without specific dates)

Computer Suite from Little Boy. (Decca: 710180) (LP)

Mutations. (Dartmouth College) (LP)

Mutations; Dialogues; Inharmonique; Moments newtoniens. (INA/GRM: AM 564 09) (LP)

Songes; Passages; Computer Suite from Little Boy; Sud. Pierre-Yves Artaud, flute (Wergo: 2013-50)

Sud; Dialogues; Inharmonique; Mutations. Irène Jarsky, soprano; Michel Decoust/Ensemble Musique Vivante (INA/GRM: C 1003)

Contours. (Neuma: 450-71)

L'autre face. Irène Jarsky, soprano (Wergo: 2027)

L'autre face. Maria Tegzes, soprano (Neuma: 450-73)

Voilements. Daniel Kientzy, tenor saxophone (INA/GRM: C 2000)

Rounds. Michel Oudar, piano (Copsi-Empreinte Digitale: 13007)

Echo for John Pierce. (ICMA/PRCD: 1300)

Moments newtoniens (excerpt). Michel Philippot/Solistes du Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique (Radio France/Planète, Vol. 1)

Duet pour un pianiste: Huit esquisses. Jean-Claude Risset, piano (Neuma: 450-87)

Invisible. Irène Jarsky, soprano (GMEM/Effect Input: EI 06)

Triptyque. Michel Lethiec, clarinet; Philippe Bender/Orchestre de Cannes Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur (Sonpact: SPT 97020)

Mixte. Marie-Cécile Cuniot, flute (ISCM)

Saxtractor. Daniel Kientzy, soprano saxophone (Neuma: 450-99)

Duet pour un pianiste: Huit esquisses. Jean-Claude Risset, piano (Digital Rewind: 25)

Attracteurs étranges; Invisible. Irène Jarsky, soprano; Serge Conte, clarinet (IMEB)

Mutations (excerpt). (Ohm/Ellipsis Art: 3670)

Mutations (excerpt). (FTM: 002A-B)

Saxatile. Daniel Kientzy, soprano saxophone (Mode: 98-99)

Avel; Luraï; Trois études en duo; Invisible Irène; Elementa. Denise Mégevand, Celtic harp; Jean-Claude Risset, piano (INA/GRM: C 1019)

Mokee. Rovena Koreta, soprano; Rudina Ciko, piano (GMEM/Effect Input)

(Last updated on March 21, 2005)

J.C. Risset, Jean-C. Risset, Jean Risset