Gilbert Amy

Composer, conductor and teacher (born 1936 in Paris)

Gilbert Amy studied at the Paris conservatory, where his composition teachers were Simone Plé-Caussade (counterpoint and fugue), Darius Milhaud (composition) and Olivier Messiaen (analysis). He also studied accompanying with Henriette Puig-Roget and piano with Yvonne Loriod. In 1957, his met Pierre Boulez, who would have a decisive influence on the course of his career as a composer and conductor. He worked with Boulez on his Piano Sonata, which he premiered in Darmstadt. Pierre Boulez also taught him conducting and in 1967 Gilbert Amy succeeded him as director of the Domaine musical on his departure. The doors to success opened onto the leading centres of musical creation:  Donauschingen, Darmstadt, Royan, Berlin, Venice and Warsaw. From 1973 to 1976, he was director of music programming at ORTF radio, then from 1976 to 1981, director of the Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique. During his time at Radio France, he conducted works by Messiaen and Debussy, many contemporary works and also his own works. He conducted a large number of contemporary music concerts in two series called "Perspectives 20ème siècle" and "Musique au présent". After a short stay at Yale University (USA) in 1982, where he taught composition and analysis, he returned to France to take up the position of director of the Lyon conservatory in 1984, which he held until 2000. Gilbert Amy has conducted many French orchestras, including the Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris, the Orchestre de Paris and the two radio orchestras, along with the Chicago Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the orchestras of the Hamburg radio and the Bavarian radio Gilbert Amy has received numerous prizes, including the Grand Prix du Disque de l'Académie Charles Cros in 1971 and 1987, the Grand Prix de la SACEM in 1983, and the Prix Cino del Duca in 2004  for his lifetime achievement. On 6 March 2013, he was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in the musical composition section, taking over the chair previously occupied by Serge Nigg. On 5 and 6 November 2016, for his 80th birthday, he was invited for a weekend at Radio France.

Six landmark dates in the life of Gilbert Amy:

1954: First prize in the Concours Général de philosophie (an essay on a philosophical question)
1962: began a career as a conductor
1967-1973: Succeeded Boulez as Director of the Domaine musical
1976: Founded the Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, of which he was the first conductor and the artistic director
1982: Taught composition and analysis at Yale University
1984-2000: Director of the CNSM (music and dance conservatory) in Lyon 

Seven key works by Gilbert Amy:

1960: Piano Sonata, premiered in Darmstadt by the composer on 10 July 1960 and in Paris on 1 February 1961 by Yvonne Loriod at the Domaine musical
1965: first performance of Antiphonies for two orchestras by the Orchestre National on 2 February 1965, conducted by Bruno Maderna and the composer
1968 and 1969: first performance of Trajectoires for violin and orchestra, commissioned by the ORTF: first performance at the Royan festival on 5 April 1968 with Claire Bernard and the Orchestre National conducted by Bruno Maderna and first performance in Paris on 25 October 1969 with Gerard Jarry and the Orchestre National, conducted by the composer
1973: D’un espace déployé, for soprano, 2 pianos and 2 orchestras; world premiere by the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Georg Solti and the composer
1979: Adagio et Stretto, final version, world premiere in Jerusalem by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra on 29 May, followed by the French premiere in La Rochelle by the Radio France  Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique in July
1986: On 7 May, first performance of Praeludium, for orchestra, with the Radio France Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique for the orchestra's 10th anniversary
1999: First performance of his opera, Le Premier cercle, based on the novel In the First Circle by Solzhenitsyn