Christian Clozier was born on 25 August 1945 in Compiègne. A violinist by training, he developed various electromechanical instruments such as the hydrophilus, and has practised instrumental and electronic improvisation (VCS3 synthesiser), notably from 1969 to 1972 within the ensemble Opus N, which also included the composers Alain Savouret, Pierre Boeswillwald, Philippe Mathé and René Zosso.
Christian Clozier studied in parallel at the Schola Cantorum, the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), the EMAMu (Équipe de Mathématique et d'Automatique Musicales), the Paris Conservatory, before working with Pierre Schaeffer (1966-1970) at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), within the research department of ORTF.
In 1970 he began a long collaboration with Françoise Barrière, with whom he founded and directed the Groupe de Musique Expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB), which in 1994 became the Institut International de Musique Électroacoustique de Bourges (IMEB), designated a Centre National de Création Musicale in 1997 by the French Ministry of Culture, as well as an International Festival for New Electronic Music in Bourges, Synthèse, held 39 times, the Concours International de Musique et d'Art Sonore Électroacoustiques de Bourges (held 36 times), the music periodical Faire and the record company Éditions Mnémosyne, with the collections Chrysopée Électronique (43 CDs) and Cultures Électroniques (40 CDs), CD-ROMs and books of the acts of the Académie. The IMEB thus became a highly active international studio for electro-acoustic music, an adventure that came to a close in June 2011.
In 2005 Christian Clozier became president of MISAME, Mnémothèque Internationale des Sciences et Arts en Musique Électroacoustique. This enabled him to continue to work on the legacy and diffusion of the memory of the IMEB through the constitution and development of a musical and historical collection, in collaboration with Françoise Barrière and with the participation of the ICST (Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology) in Zürich and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF). The IMEB collection has been deposited in the BnF, as have all the historical, political, musical, artistic and technological archives of forty years of international work on decentralisation.
Over the years Clozier has been involved in various structures, national and international organisations: a board member of the Comité National de la Musique (CNM) from 1982 to 1996; founder president of Unesco’s Confédération Internationale de Musique Électroacoustique (CIME) from 1982 to 1994; a member of the collective directorship of the Coordination des Associations Musicales (CAM) from 1983 to 2001; administrator of the Centre de Culture Scientifique, Technique et Industrielle (CCSTI) of the Central region of France until 2002; vice-president of the Société des Amis du Musée de la Musique (Cité de la Musique in La Villette) from 1994 to 2006; honorary president and founder of the International Tribune for Electro-acoustic Music (TIME) from 1984 to 2007. He was appointed chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1985) and Doctor Honoris Causa of the National University of Cordoba in Argentina (2007).
Within the Atelier de Réalisation Technique Appliquée au Musical (ARTAM), with Pierre Boeswillwald and Jean-Claude Le Duc, he is the deviser and designer of instruments/systems. He has developed in this way several studios for composition (Charybde in 1972, Scylla for training and mastering, Circé, Thésée, Marco Polo for amateur activities, and the Cyberstudio), two electro-acoustic instruments, one for performance-diffusion during concerts (the Gmebaphone in 1973, renamed Cybernéphone in 1997), the other for the training-pedagogy of children and amateurs, for the discovery and practice of electro-acoustic aural and musical expression (the Gmebogosse in 1972, renamed Cybersongosse in 1998). The studio Charybde, the first studio for analogue modular electro-acoustic music, enabled him to create his first works of generative analogue music (Quasars, 1980; Par Pangloss Gymnopède, 1984).
Clozier’s music is often rough, powerful, hewn from the block of the sound mass, with striking, low tonics, automatic and uneven rhythms. The tone-colour of the electronic suites (1981-1990) is highly varied and plays on veiled effects produced by filters and vocoders. His titles are often taken from poetry (Le temps scintille et le songe est savoir from Paul Valéry, 1988). His works are played on many radios and at numerous festivals, as also during international tours (33 countries) and have been recorded by the labels Pathé Marconi, Chant du Monde and Mnémosyne Musique Media.
His compositional work centres on the regular practice of complementarity between generation/sound recording, treatment/mixing and diffusion/performance. He pays particular attention to experimental, expressive and impressive practice and form, and shows an open mind with regard to all families be they aural, abstract, concrete, narrative, discursive, political or poetic. His interest in the modal polyphony of tone-colour and space as well as his care for simultaneity and his rejection of synchronicity, like his steadfastness in the generation of sequences with internal expressive energy, resonate throughout his works. He freely uses all styles and means as suits the musical project, frequently resorting to rhetorical figures such as parembole, asyndeton, antimetabole, epizeuxis, antanaclasis, assonance, parataxis, anacoluthon, zeugma, aposiopesis, tmesis, hyperbaton, hypotyposis, ellipsis, conglobation, metalepsis, paraponoîan.
His interest is systematic in the modalities of communication with the public, in a diffusion-performance adapted to each type of music (to the Gmebaphone, in multi-planes-spaces on the Cybernéphone, or through the configuring and multiple networking of loudspeakers).
Christian Clozier has also created many monumental multimedia shows that combine spatialised music, lights, lasers, fireworks, dramatic recitations, notably in such venues as Bourges cathedral, the Château de Chambord (Ainsi passant des siècles la longueur, surmontera la hauteur des estoilles, 1986; Chambord, et chaque pierre fée, Se sent un poids nouveau qui vers l’azur délire, 1988), the Château de Vincennes (Un soir ensemencé d’espèces lumineuses, nous tient au bord des Grandes Eaux,1986). He has devised and directed some 20 shows to his own music and three to collective music.
With Françoise Barrière he is also the instigator of the practice of commissioning ‘Series’, musical and aural works to particular themes, as well as many multinational kaleidoscope suites, the intention being to broaden the appeal of electronic music.
Finally, Christian Clozier is the author of many musicological articles connected with his activity in Bourges: the periodical Faire, the acts of the activities of the Académie de Bourges, dedicated works on his new tools (Gmebogosse and Cybernéphone).