A French composer born August 8, 1905 in Paris who died December 20, 1974 in Paris.
Passionately devoted to art, André Jolivet studied painting, the piano and the cello. He became a school teacher while continuing his music studies with Paul Le Flem and above all with Edgar Varèse, who completely redirected his approach to music.
In quest of new techniques and languages, of novel sounds and rhythms, he composed music that was energetic, often modal, in which emotion always dominated virtuosity. An eclectic composer, he drew his inspiration from extra-European traditional music no less than from jazz, dodecaphonism, a certain classicism and indeed from electronic instruments. He desired above all “to restore to music its original, ancient meaning, when it was the magical, incantatory expression of human groupings”.
His important catalogue includes works for all genres: solo instrument (Mana for piano, 1935; Cinq incantations for flute, 1936), instrumental ensemble (La flèche du temps for 12 strings, 1973), orchestra (Danse incantatoire, 1936; Cosmogonie, 1938), concertos (Concerto for ondes Martenot and orchestra, 1947; 2 concertos for trumpet, 1948 and 1954), works with voice (Trois complaintes du soldat for voice and orchestra, 1940; Dolorès ou Le miracle de la femme laide, comic opera, 1942; La vérité de Jeanne, oratorio, 1956; Le cœur de la matière, cantate, 1965; Songe à nouveau rêvé for soprano and orchestra, 1972; Bogomilé ou Le lieutenant perdu, unfinished opera, 1974). He also composed teaching works, music for the radio, film music, ballets (Guignol et Pandore, 1943) and incidental music.
A musician of commitment, working for the promotion of contemporary music, he founded in 1936 the group ‘Jeune France’ with Yves Baudrier, Daniel-Lesur and Olivier Messiaen. A conductor, a composer rewarded with many prizes, he gave lectures, wrote in periodicals (La nouvelle saison) and travelled throughout the world. Music Director of the Comédie Française (1945-1959), he was subsequently technical adviser for the Direction Générale des Arts et Lettres under André Malraux (1959-1962), and then teacher of composition at the Paris Conservatory (1966-1970).