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Manoury, Philippe

Born in 1952 in Tulle, France, he began studying music at the age of nine. He studied piano under Pierre Sancan and harmony, counterpoint and musical analysis at the École Normale de Musique in Paris. Initially he studied composition with Gérard Condé, then with Max Deutsch at the same music school. He achieved the highest distinction in composition in the class of Ivo Malec and Michel Philippot at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris, where he also attended Claude Ballif ’s analysis class. From the age of 19 he was a regular participant in many festivals and concerts of contemporary music (including those in Royan, La Rochelle, Donaueschingen, and London), but became known to a wider audience only when his composition Cryptophonos was performed by the pianist Claude Helffer at the Metz Festival. In 1978 he settled in Brazil, where he lectured at universities in São Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador. After his return to France, he was invited in 1981 to work with IRCAM. Since then he has been a constant participant in the activities of the Institute as composer and lecturer, as well as running research into the interaction in real time between acoustic instruments and new information technologies applied to music, working together with the mathematician Miller Puckette. This work resulted in the creation of Sonus ex machina, a cycle of interactive works for various performing forces (Jupiter, Pluto, La Partition du Ciel et de l’Enfer, Neptune). During the years 1983–87 he engaged in teaching activity at the Ensemble intercontemporain, and in 1987–97 he held the post of professor of composition and electronic music at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Lyon. In 1995–2001 he was composer-in-residence with the Orchestre de Paris, and in 2001–3 with the Scène Nationale in Orléans. In 1998–2000 he directed the European Academy of Music at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. He has also conducted a number of seminars on composition in France, the United States, Japan, Finland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Canada. Since the autumn of 2004 he has divided his time between Europe and the United States, where since 2013 he has taught at the University of California in San Diego. He resides in Strasbourg.

He has received a number of prizes, including the Grand Prix for composition awarded by the City of Paris (1998), SACEM French Authors’ Association chamber music prize (1976), prize for the best musical realisation (Jupiter, 1988), and Grand Prix in the category of symphonic music (1999). His opera, K..., won the Grand Prix of the SACD association in 2001, French music critics’ prize, and Prince Pierre de Monaco Prize in 2002. In 2014 the French Ministry of Culture honoured Philippe Manoury with the title of Officier des Arts et des Lettres.


Major works (since 1995): Prelude and Wait for orchestra (1995), Sound and Fury for orchestra (1998–99), Sonata for two pianos (1972–94), Passacaille pour Tokyo for piano and instrumental ensemble (1994), Chronophonies I–II (1994), Épitaphe for ensemble (1995), Métal for sixxen sextet (1995), Ultima for clarinet, cello and piano (1996), 60e Parallèle, opera for nine singers, orchestra and electronics (1995–96), Last for bass clarinet and bass marimba (1997), Fragments pour un portrait for ensemble (1997–98), Toccata for piano (1998), Douze moments for orchestra (1998), K..., opera for 16 singers, orchestra and electronics (2000), La ville (...première sonate...) for piano (2001–2), Slova for chamber choir (2001–2), Fragments d’Héraclite for chamber choir (2002–3), La frontière, opera for six singers, ensemble and electronics (2003), Noon for soprano, chamber choir, orchestra and electronics (2003), Blackout for voices and ensemble (2004), Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man for ensemble (2004), Identités remarquables for ensemble (2004–5), Strange Ritual for ensemble (2005), On Iron for four singers, chamber choir, percussion and electronics (2005), Trakl Gedichte for chamber choir (2006), Partita I for alto and electronics (2006), Terra ignota (in memoriam Karlheinz Stockhausen) for piano and ensemble (2007), Veränderungen (...deuxième sonate...) for piano (2007), Abgrund for orchestra (2007), Cruel Spirals for voices and ensemble (2008), Instants pluriels for two instrumental groups (2008), Gesänge-Gedanken mit Friedrich Nietzsche for alto and ensemble (2009), Synapse for violin and orchestra (2009), Spins for piano (2009), Stringendo for string quartet (2010), Tensio for string quartet with electronics (2010), La nuit de Gutenberg, opera (2011), Hypothèses du sextuor for sextet (2011), Partita II for violin and electronics (2012), Echo-daimónon for piano, electronics and orchestra (2012), Illud etiam for soprano and electronics (2012), In situ for orchestra (2013), Zones de turbulences for two pianos and orchestra (2013), Melencolia for quartet (2013), Le temps, mode d’emploi for two pianos and electronics (2014).