Marc-André Dalbavie

Born 10 February 1961
Marc-André Dalbavie
Marc-André Dalbavie

Marc-André Dalbavie Biography (BBC)

Born in 1961 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Dalbavie studied at the Paris Conservatoire, with Donatoni in Siena and at IRCAM. His teachers included Marius Constant and Pierre Boulez, who has since conducted his music in New York and Salzburg and recorded it with the Ensemble Intercontemporain. Dalbavie's compositions have also been performed at the Helsinki Festival (conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen), the Pompidou Centre, Carnegie Hall (performed by the Orchestre de Paris under Christoph Eschenbach) and at many other venues and festivals throughout the world. He has received commissions from major institutions and orchestras in the USA, Canada, the UK, Japan, Germany and elsewhere and has held several composer residencies, including positions with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris, the latter prompting his renewed interest in orchestral forms. He was appointed Professor of Orchestration at the Paris Conservatoire in 1997.

His early influences were Tristan Murail and Gérard Grisey, proponents of the 'spectralist' model. Partly as a reaction to the process-driven demands of serialism, this placed the listener's experience and perception of sound at the centre of the compositional process. The result is a compositional style that captivates audiences but which is also highly rigorous. Acknowledging Debussy and Stravinsky, accepting electronics as a logical development and deploying instrumental resources with a profound understanding of their physical existence as sound sources located in space are all factors that have brought Dalbavie to this particular point.

Dalbavie's use of electronic sound may in fact hold an important key to the way in which his music operates. Rather than aim for confrontation or exaggerated contrast, his electronics are interfaced with the sounds of natural instruments and voices so that they do indeed seem to be elements within a single sonic spectrum. When working purely with conventional instruments, Dalbavie will often distribute the performers within the performance space in unusual ways: for example, Non-lieu, a composition for four choirs and ensemble, places the performers in different locations throughout the hall but leaves the stage empty.

Profile © Roger Thomas, 2005

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