Jean-Louis Florentz was awarded the Musical Grand Prix of the City of Paris, in 1989, in recognition of his work. He left behind a large, fifteen piece repertoire.
After studying Natural Sciences, Arabic Literature and Ethnomusicology at university level, Jean-Louis Florentz took classes at the Conservatoire de Paris from Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Schaeffer. In 1978 he won the Lili Boulanger Composition Prize and stayed at the Villa Médicis, The French Academy in Rome, until 1981. He made several trips to Africa, mostly to Kenya where he taught composition and music at Kenyatta University College in Nairobi. Jean-Louis Florentz continued to travel the world, from Velasquez’s house in Madrid he went to Israel. His successive visits here allowed him to come into very close contact with the Orthodox West Jerusalem Ethiopian community. He brought back a recording of the Assumption liturgy that was published in the OCORA, Radio France Collection. On returning to France he was made Professor of Musical Analysis focusing on the oral tradition at the Conservatoire supérieur de Lyon. He was elected as a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1995, that same year he became composer in residence for the Orchestre National de Lyon then, in 2000, at the Orchestre National des Pays de Loire. After a last research trip to Saharan Tunisia in 2002, Jean-Louis Florentz died from cancer, in Paris, on the 4th of July 2004.
His symphonic works are part of the repertoire of many orchestras, including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre National de France and l’Orchestre de Lille – conducted by great masters such as Armin Jordan, Semyon Bychkov and Emmanuel Krivine.
Six Landmark Dates in the Life of Jean-Louis Florentz
1978: Wins the Lili Boulanger Composition Prize
1979-1981: Resident at the Villa Médicis in Rome
1983-1985: Resident at the Casa Velasquez in Madrid and Palma de Mallorca
1990: Wins the Grand Prix Musical of the Prince Pierre of Monaco Foundation for his piece Asùn op.7
1995: Elected as a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts
2005: The Organ Prize at the École supérieure des beaux-arts d'Angers is renamed the Grand prix d'orgue Jean-Louis Florentz after the composer’s death
Six Key Works by Jean-Louis Florentz
1980: Magnificat, Antiphone pour la visitation for tenor, mixed choir and orchestra.
1988: Asùn, conte liturgique pour l'assomption de Marie, for soprano, tenor, baritone, children's choir, mixed choir and orchestra.
1990: Debout sur le soleil, Resurrection Song for organ.
1998: The Ring of Solomon, symphonic dance for large orchestra.
2000: The Southern Cross, symphonic poem for organ.
2003: Qsar Ghilâne (the palace of the Djinns), symphonic poem for large orchestra.