Philippe Hurel

French composer (Domfront, 1955 - )

Philippe Hurel received his musical education in Toulouse, at the Conservatoire and at the University where he studied violin, writing and musicology. He continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire where he received the first prize of composition in the class of Ivo Malec and the first prize of analysis in the class of Betsy Jolas. After a while at the Villa Medici and a period of collaboration at the Ircam, he started a residence at the Arsenal de Metz and at the Philharmonie de Lorraine in 2000.

His pieces are played by prestigious musicians, like Pierre Boulez, Esa Pekka-Salonen, Pierre-André Valade, or Kent Nagano and high-profile formations, such as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Percussions de Strasbourg. He gets orders from the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, the Ensemble Recherche de Freibourg, the Quatuor Diotima.

Philippe Hurel, as a composer, is a heir of the spectral music created by Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail. It relies on the principle of the timbre evolution by the progressive evolution from one state to another. He included in it the counterpoint for the melodic writing, a harmony made of micro-intervals and rhythms inspired by jazz. This combination of heterogeneous elements makes him the composer of paradox. 

Six landmark dates in the life of Philippe Hurel
 • 1983: studied for two years in the composition class of Tristan Murail
 • 1986: resident at the Villa Medici in Rome until 1988
 • 1985: got involved in the works on “music research” at the Ircam
 • 1990: founded, with Pierre-André Valade, the Ensemble Court-circuit.
 • 1995: received the Siemens-Stiftung-Preis in Munich for his Six Miniatures en Trompe-l’œil
 • 2002: received the Prix Sacem des Compositeurs

Six key pieces by Philippe Hurel
 • 1991: Six miniatures en trompe l’œil, for 14 instruments
 • 1999: Tombeau in memoriam Gérard Grisey, for piano and percussions
 • 2000: Loops I, for flute
 • 2002: Aura, for piano and orchestra
 • 2006: Cantus, for soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano
 • 2011: Espèce d’espace, musical play on a text by Georges Pérec

official website

Biographie de la Documentation de Radio France (Septembre 2013)