A French composer born in 1955 in Domfront.
A violinist by training, Philippe Hurel also learned to play the electric guitar. In 1981, after studying at the Conservatory and the University of Toulouse, he entered the Paris Conservatory and followed the teaching of Betsy Jolas, Ivo Malec and Tristan Murail. He then undertook two courses of musical research at Ircam, in 1985 and 1989, intercut with a residence at the Villa Medici (1986-1988).
Hurel rethinks melodic and rhythmic functions, uses micro-intervals, complex rhythms and virtuoso traits in all registers. His music cultivates ambiguity and reposes on the coexistence of several languages: evolutions of tone-colour inherited from spectral music, passages treated in combinatory and contrapuntal manner, incisive rhythms and swing phraseology stemming from his taste for jazz and rock. Hurel composes works with multiple levels of reading and wishes above all that his music might be understood by everyone from a first hearing. He has written mainly instrumental music for all types of formation. His works include La célébration des invisibles, melodrama for percussion, chorus and shadow theatre, first performed by Les Percussions de Strasburg, the vocal ensemble Musicatreize and Amalgame, conducted by Roland Hayrabedian in Strasburg (1992); Tombeau in memoriam Gérard Grisey for piano and percussion, first performed by Hiromi Okada and Hikaru Matsukura in Shizuoka, Japan (1999); Hors-jeu for percussion and electronics, first performed by Daniel Ciampolini at the festival Agora of Ircam (2006); Tour à tour I for orchestra, first performed by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Christian Eggen at the Ultima festival in Oslo (2008); Localized corrosion for saxophone, electric guitar, percussion and piano, first performed by the ensemble Nikel in Tel-Aviv, Israel (2009); Les pigeons d’argile for six voices, chorus and orchestra, first performed by the Orchestre National and the Choeur du Capitole de Toulouse conducted by Tito Ceccherini in Toulouse (2014); En Filigrane, third string quartet (2020).
Co-founder with Pierre-André Valade of the ensemble Court-Circuit in 1991, Philippe Hurel has since then been its artistic director. He has also taught at Ircam (1997-2001), has been associate teacher at McGill University in Montreal and teacher of composition at the Lyons Conservatory (2013-2017).