Philippe Boesmans

Philippe Boesmans

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After having studied the piano at the Liege Conservatoire, Philippe Boesmans gave up his piano career in favour of composition, which he practically taught himself. Initially greatly intrigued by serialism, he soon felt it necessary to overcome its constraints and exclusions. Never dismissing this recent heritage, he nonetheless developed a profoundly personal musical language, at the very centre of which lay meaningful communication with his audience. As a producer at the television company RTBF (1961), Philippe Boesmans went on to become a composer in residence at La Monnaie in Brussels between 1985 and 2007. Gerard Mortier commissioned several of his works, including La Passion de Gilles (1983), the Trakl- Lieder (1987) and his 1989 orchestration of L’Incoronazione di Poppea de Monteverdi. Also for La Monnaie, Bernard Foccroulle commissioned Reigen (1993), Wintermärchen (1999) and Julie (2005) created and staged by Luc Bondy. Those operas continue to be staged throughout several international scenes. In January 2009, the opera Yvonne after ‘Yvonne, Princesse de Bourgogne’ from Witold Gombrowicz and a libretto from Luc Bondy was commissioned by Gerard Mortier of the Opéra de Paris. A new version of his orchestration of “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” from Monteverdi, called “Poppea e Nerone” went in première at the opera of Madrid in June 2012 created and staged by Warlikowski. In March 2014, his opera ‘Au Monde’ on a libretto by Joël Pommerat. was created at La Monnaie in Brussels. His latest opera Pinocchio on a libretto by Joël Pommerat after Carlo Collodi was commissioned by Festival d’Aix en Provence in collaboration with La Monnaie and was created in 2017. The recording of the opera by Cypres was published in 2018. Fin de Nuit for piano and orchestre was created in February 2019 and was commissioned by the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège. Philippe Boesmans’ works have gained important recognition: the Italia prize for Upon La-Mi in 1971 and many recording awards: His Violin Concerto and Conversions recordings won no less than six prizes, including the Charles Cros Academy award and the Koussevitzky International Recording Prize. In 2000, he was awarded the Arthur Honegger Prize for the totality of his work, and he received the SACD Music Prize in May 2004. In December 2007, the DVD of Julie (BelAir Classiques) received several prices among which the Grand Prix Charles Cros. In 2009, for Yvonne, princesse de Bourgogne, Philippe Boesmans was awarded ‘le prix de la critique française’ for the best creation of the year and the CD received the Diapason d’Or, awarded by the eponymous magazine. In April 2015 in London, Philippe Boesmans received the ‘International Opera Award’ for his opera ‘Au monde’, which was elected best world creation for 2014. The recording of Au Monde also received the Diapason d’Or.




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