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SALZBURG FESTIVAL BLOG

Pierre Boulez Receives State Medal

30 JUL 2011

by FESTSPIELKIEBITZ  12:11 h;
published in: Concert, General

Helga Rabl-Stadler, Pierre Boulez, Gabi Burgstaller, Markus Hinterhäuser
"Maestro Pierre Boulez is one of the outstanding representatives of contemporary music, and also a long-time faithful friend of the Salzburg Festival," Landeshauptfrau Mag. Gabi Burgstaller emphasized today, Saturday, July 30, at the ceremony awarding Pierre Boulez the State Medal of Salzburg at the SalzburgKulisse. This faithful friendship has manifested itself in the 30 appearances Boulez has made at the Salzburg Festival, Burgstaller continued.

Pierre Boulez, born in 1925 in Montbrison (Département Loire), initially studied mathematics prior to dedicating himself to music at the age of 17. After studies with Olivier Messiaen and René Leibowitz, who familiarized him with Schoenberg’s tone-row technique, Boulez made his first appearances as a composer with Douze Notations (1945) and the two Piano Sonatas (1946/48). His worldwide renown commenced with the premiere of his chamber cantata Le Marteau sans Maître (1954) in Baden-Baden. During the ensuing years his career as a conductor assumed ever greater proportions. Among its early high points were his Parsifal (1966–70) and the Ring (1976–80) in Bayreuth as well as his engagement as Music Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1960–72) and of the New York Philharmonic (1971–75).

Subsequently he was from 1976 to 1991 Director of IRCAM – which he founded – the institute for the creation and propagation of contemporary music at the Centre Pompidou and of the Ensemble intercontemporain in Paris. Within the framework of these endeavors and on the basis of advanced techniques he created a new compositional style, manifested in his Répons and Dialogue de l’Ombre double. Since the early ’90s Pierre Boulez has rededicated himself to conducting, with, among others, appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic, and the Berlin Staatskapelle.

At the Bayreuth Festival he again conducted Parsifal in 2004–05, and at the 2007 Wiener Festwochen Janáček´s From the House of the Dead.

In 2010, the year of his 85th birthday, Pierre Boulez conducted concerts of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, Ensemble intercontemporain, the Orchestre de Paris, the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Berlin, and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Most recent entries in his discography, which has gained him innumerable prizes (including 26 Grammys), are the two piano concertos of Maurice Ravel (with Pierre-Laurent Aimard) and the Third Symphony of Karol Szymanowski. Pierre Boulez has been awarded the Siemens Music Prize, the Praemium Imperiale, the Theodor W. Adorno Prize, the Polar Music Prize, and the Kyoto Prize.

Pierre Boulez made his first appearance at the Salzburg Festival in 1960. In 1992, at the beginning of the Mortier/Landesmann era, he was responsible for a cycle of “20th Century Classics” – an in this context, he first worked with the Vienna Philharmonic, a relationship that blossomed into a wonderful artistic friendship. In 1996 he conducted the performances of Arnold Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron (directed by Peter Stein). Since then, Pierre Boulez has regularly conducted concerts at the Salzburg Festival.

On Sunday, July 31, at 9:00 pm, Pierre Boulez and the Vienna Philharmonic will perform at the Großes Festspielhaus. The program features works by Gustav Mahler and Alban Berg. Further information on the concert is available by clicking here.

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