Tristan Murail

French composer (Le Havre, 1947 -)

After his studies of classical Arabic and his diploma from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Tristan Murail joined in 1967 the Paris Conservatoire in the class of Olivier Messiaen. Four years later, in 1971, he got the first prize in composition but also the Prix de Rome. This would open to Murail the doors of the Villa Medici for a period of two years. Mainly influenced by electroacoustic music, his models are Iannis Xenakis and György Ligeti.

Back in Paris in 1973, he founded L’Itinéraire with Michaël Lévinas and Roger Tessier. This collective wishes to experiment and do research on composition assisted by computer. At the same time, Tristan Murail composed a lot for orchestras and acoustic instruments before discovering musical IT while a intership at the Ircam in 1980. This discovery would considerably influence his music: afterwards he experimented within his pieces the encounter between synthetic and instrumental sounds. From the beginning of the 1990’s, he stepped in as a teacher for the summer school in Darmstadt and taught in several institutions like the Ircam or the Centre Acanthes. Settled in the US from 1997 until 2011, Tristan Murail also taught composition at the Columbia University in New York.

Five landmark dates in the life of Tristan Murail

1971: Got the Prix de Rome, moved to the Villa Medici and met Giacinto Scelsi.

1980: Discoverzs musical IT whilde doing an internship at the Ircam. Beginning of a new period of his work.

1997: Moved to New York and taught composition at the Columbia University.

2010: Member of the jury for the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award in Tokyo.

2011: Guest of honor at the 14th edition of the Messiaen Festival in La Grave.

Six pieces by Tristan Murail

1970: Altitude 8000, for small orchestra

1977: Tellur, for guitar

1982: Désintégrations, for 17 instruments and electronic sounds

1996: Bois flotté, for 5 instruments and synthetic sounds

2006: Légendes urbaines, for 22 instruments

2001: La Chambre des cartes, for flute, clarinet, horn, piano, drums,
violin, viola and cello

Radio France Documentation biography, March 201