Jacques Lenot

French composer (born 1945 in Saint Jean d'Angély)

Jacques Lenot derives from serialism, but has managed to build a distinctly personal musical universe in which his extremely precise writing underscores instrumental virtuosity and reveals the full poetry of his inspiration.

Jacques Lenot began composing at the age of eight in a home that was not musically inclined. He initially intended to become a primary-school teacher and entered the teacher training school in La Rochelle. At the inaugural Royan Festival in 1963, he met Cécile Midas and Maurice Fleuret. In 1966, he took György Ligeti's course at Darmstadt, where he met Karlheinz Stockhausen and Maurizio Kagel. Following the course, he composed Diaphaneïs, for strings and percussion, which was first performed the year after by Maurice Leroux and the ORTF Orchestra at the Royan Festival.

Jacques Lenot continued to train with Sylvano Bussotti, who introduced him to Goffredo Petrassi, Franco Donatoni and later Giuseppe Sinopoli. In 1973, he left his teaching job to take up music on a full-time basis. The following year, after being awarded a vocational scholarship by the Fondation de la Vocation, he took Franco Donatoni's course at the Accademia Chigiana in Sienna. From 1977 onwards, he lived in Paris on a research grant from the French Ministry of Culture. In 1980, Dolcezze ignote all'estasi for orchestra was given its first performance by Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble Intercontemporain at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris. Three years later, in 1983, Jacques Mercier premiered Pour mémoire II with the Orchestre National as part of the Perspectives du XXè siècle (Twentieth-Century Perspectives) festival at Radio France.

After a few years spent in residence at Plaisance-du-Gers, Jacques Lenot moved to the Pas-de-Calais region in 1997. He was commissioned by the Opéra de Nancy to write J’étais dans ma maison et j’attendais que la pluie vienne, based on the play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, which was first performed in 2007 at the Grande Théâtre in Geneva. The 2000s represented the culmination of the composer's career. He founded a publishing company in 2003, L'Oiseau prophète, which publishes his music, then began working with the Intrada label, which produces CDs of his works. In 2012, he composed D’Autres murmures for trumpet and orchestra, which was first performed the following year for the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth. Since then, he has been working with the Ensemble Multilatérale.

Six landmark dates in the life of Jacques Lenot:
• 1966: took György Ligeti's course in Darmstadt
• 1973: put an end to his teaching career
• 1997: moved to the Pas-de-Calais region
• 2003: founded his publishing company, L'Oiseau prophète
• 2005: Was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in France
• 2013: first performance of D'autres murmures for the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth

Six key works by Jacques Lenot:
• 1966: Diaphaneïs, for strings and percussion
• 1980: Pour mémoire II, for soprano and full orchestra
• 2004: Quartet No. 4, first performed by the Quatuor Arditti in Strasbourg in 2008
• 2003: J’étais dans ma maison et j’attendais que la pluie vienne, opera
• 2010: Effigies, quintet for piano and strings
• 2012: D’autres murmures, for trumpet and orchestra

Official website: http://www.jacqueslenot.net/index.html

Biography compiled from Radio France documentation, April 2015