A French composer and conductor born January 20, 1935 in Strasbourg, who died October 22, 2017 in Barr.
Jean-Jacques Werner studied the harp, the horn, conducting and composition at the Strasburg Conservatory and the Schola Cantorum in Paris with Pierre Wismer, Daniel Lesur and Léon Barzin. From 1960 he led a career as conductor, notably at the Radio, and accorded great importance to the programming of works by contemporary composers. Appointed director of Fresnes Conservatory in 1968, he subsequently taught conducting at the Rheims Conservatory and was guest teacher at the Paris Conservatory.
The music of Jean-Jacques Werner has been enriched by his international tours, the visual arts, Germanic and French literature (Notes prises à New York, 1964), myths (Die silberne Schulter, 1987). The Lutheran chorale is often present in his music (Canzoni per sonar, 1965) as well as Biblical references (Da pacem domine, 1960; Quatuor pour le temps de la Passion, 1980) and poetry, which underlies all his vocal music. His style, the expression of his inner journey, oscillates between lyricism and asceticism, in the manner of human emotions. A ready supporter of great causes (Cantate Tausend Brücken, ‘cantata for the rights of man’, 1982), he uses the alchemy of sound palettes, composing refined music (Lamenti d’Arianna, 1997) for all groupings, including many teaching pieces (Quatre Novelettes, 2011). His final work, the opera Luther ou Le mendiant de la grâce, commissioned by the Union of the Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, was first performed on 14 October 2017 in Barr.