French composer born in 1980 in Roubaix.
A pianist by training, Fabien Waksman studied at the Paris Conservatory, where he was notably a pupil of François Zygel (harmony), Thierry Escaich (fugue) and Michèle Reverdy (orchestration). In parallel he received guidance in composition from Guillaume Connesson.
Fabien Waksman draws his inspiration from other arts such as painting, literature and poetry, referencing notably the works and the worlds of artistes such as the painter Richard Poussette-Dart, the poet Camille Loivier, the poet and painter William Blake, the writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the Welsh bard Taliesin and the astronomer and writer Omar Khayyàm. He is also interested in the field of science: as a child he dreamed of himself as an astrophysicist and was passionately interested in cosmology, as can be seen today in his collaboration with the astrophysicist Jean-Philippe Uzan and his many works concerning the cosmos and astronomy.
His style makes clear his attraction to lyricism and melody, often being based on the repetition of short, varied figures as well as dynamic and incisive rhythms. His music in this way recalls the freedom and evocative power of Debussy, the orchestral colours of Stravinsky and the rhythmic strength of Bartok.
Awarded the Prix André Caplet for music composition by the Académie des Beaux-Arts (2011), the Grand Prix Sacem for symphonic music in the category ‘young composer’ (2012) and the Prix René Dumesnil of the Académie des Beaux-Arts (2021), Waksman has written for all groupings, from chamber music to large orchestra and opera. His works include Protonic games for orchestra, first performed by the Orchestre National de France conducted by Daniele Gatti at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (2012); L’oiseau de glace, opera for children’s chorus and instrumental ensemble to a libretto by Florent Siaud, commissioned and first performed by the Opéra National de Paris (2012); Frozen in time for cello and piano, commissioned by the festival Les Vacances de Monsieur Haydn (2015); Le Livre de Taliesin for children’s chorus and string quartet, first performed at the festival Quatuor à l’Ouest (2017); Le rêve de Tzinacán, concerto for cello and string orchestra, commissioned by the Festival of Auvers-sur-Oise, first performed by Anastasia Kobekina and the Orchestre de Chambre Nouvelle Europe conducted by Nicolas Krauze (2018); Carcere oscura, sextet for accordion and string quintet, first performed by Félicien Brut, the Quatuor Hermès and Edouard Macarez (2019).
In 2021 Fabien Waksman also tried his hand at electroacoustic composition, in collaboration with the Art Zoyd centre for musical creation and the keyboard player Yukari Bertocchi-Hamada.
Having previously taught at the Strasburg Conservatory, Fabien Waksman now teaches harmony at the Paris Conservatory.