A French composer born in 1947 in Le Havre.
With a diploma in letters, Arabic, economy and political sciences, Tristan Murail studied composition with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory where he obtained a First Prize in 1971. In residence at the the Villa Medici (1971-1973), he collaborated on his return with Michaël Lévinas and Roger Tessier in founding the ensemble L’Itinéraire which became a laboratory for his research.
Passionately attracted to computer-assisted composition, real-time electronics as well as pedagogy, Murail taught music computing, notably at the Paris Conservatory and Ircam, as well as composition at Columbia University in the USA (1997-2010). He also gives master-classes and seminars around the world.
As a theoretician he took part in establishing the fundamentals of spectral music. The aesthetics of his works, exempt of silence, rests on pre-compositional work, the use of sound sources from nature, recourse to meta-procedures and an attention paid to phenomena of memorisation. Among his works are Sables for orchestra, premiered by the Orchestre National de France conducted by Lukas Vis at the Festival of Royan (1975); Tellur for guitar, premiered by Rafaël Andia (1977); Treize colours du soleil couchant for ensemble, first performed by the ensemble LIM (1978); Gondwana for orchestra, first performed by the Orchestre of Krakow conducted by Antoni Witt at the festival of Darmstadt (1980); Désintégrations for ensemble and electronics, first performed by the Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by Peter Eötvös (1982); La barque mystique for ensemble, premiered by the ensemble Court-Circuit conducted by Pierre-André Valade (1993); Les ruines circulaires for clarinet and violin, premiered by Jean-Louis Bergerard and Claire Bernard at the festival Messiaen au Pays de la Meije (2006); Liber fulguralis for ensemble, synthesis electronics and video, first performed by the ensemble Paul Klee conducted by Pascal Rophé (2008); Les sept paroles for chorus, orchestra and electronics, first performed by the Chorus and Orchestra of the Netherlands Radio conducted by Marin Alsop at the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam (2010); Des pays et des hommes étranges, concerto for cello and chamber orchestra, first performed by Jean-Guihen Queyras and the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie conducted by Nicolas Chalvin (2019).