Biography

Nicolas Bacri is born on November 23rd, 1961 in Paris. After studying music analysis and composition with Françoise Gangloff-Levéchin, Christian Manen and Louis Saguer (from 1979), he entered the Paris Conservatoire (graduated 1983, first prize for composition), where his teachers were Claude Ballif, Marius Constant, Serge Nigg and Michel Philippot.

During a two-year residency at the Académie de France in Rome (1983-85) he met Scelsi, who had a great influence on him.
From 1987 he was at the head of the chamber music department of Radio-France, a position he relinquished in 1991 to devote himself entirely to composition. He had also held residencies at the Casa de Velasquez (Spain) and with a number of French orchestras (from 1993).

His early works, which culminate with the First Symphony (1983-84, dedicated to Elliott Carter), are rooted in a constructivist post-Webernian aesthetic. Later compositions, beginning with the Cello Concerto (1985/87, dedicated to Henri Dutilleux), draw on the melodic continuity displaced by the predominant aesthetic of the postwar period. This change of style has placed Bacri in the musical aesthetic of his time, where a spirit of reconciliation prevails.
His honours include the grand prize of l'Académie du disque 1993, and several awards from SACEM the French Society of performing right and the Académie des Beaux-Arts.

More than the best french orchestras and ensembles as the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, the Maîtrise de Radio-France, Pages et les Chantres de la Chapelle Royale de Versailles and the Ensemble Accentus, the music of N. Bacri was played by foreign internationaly acclaimed players like Pierre Bartholomée, Martyn Brabbins, Peter Bruns, Semyon Byshkov, Akiko Ebi, Richard Hickox, Vassili Lobanov, John Poole, Diemut Poppen, Leonard Slatkin, Pieter Wispelwey, the Lindsay Quartet, Vilnius Quartet, Asko Ensemble (Amsterdam), Liège Philharmonic Orchestra, W.D.R. Köln Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra (London), Riverside Symphony Orchestra (New-York), Tapiola Sinfonietta (Helsinki) and BBC Singers (London).

What is most striking when one listens to his recent production is the mixture of asceticism and lyricism. "This is the result of a lengthy clarification process. I went from a polyphonically overdeveloped language (1980-85) to a quite clear and melodic one. In-between these periods (1985-1987), I was drawn towards studying sounds that stem from Ligeti, Lutoslawski, or Scelsi yet are not quite as lyrical as those of Shostakovitch or Britten, the composers to whom I feel truly connected through my recent work. Nevertheless, the importance of the melody had been a main concern since my Concerto for Violin and 21 Instruments from 1982-1983 (I was twenty-one). I headed that score with a quotation from Tristan Tzara: "I know that I carry the melody within me and I am not afraid of it"."
Rich with expressive dissonance, Bacri's language evolves in an harmonic and often chromatic climate, yet the tonal feeling is never absent - and with this he very much follows the Central-European tradition. This evolution towards the "tonal feeling", which he thought had disappeared permanently as he began his musical voyage, but which he rediscovered at the same time as his Hebrew and Mediterranean roots, is the message he conveys from work to work, following a progressive and surprisingly aesthetic curve, yet always full of that same lyricism, those same deep and dark colours, violent and tense tones carrying us towards austerity, to tragic ends.

For Nicolas Bacri, composing is a constant pursuit and experimentation; thus evolving constantly, it undergoes a complete metamorphosis. Indeed, it is "uncovering a new path to try to come even closer to one's personal essence" and escaping any aesthetic conformity in view of attaining the purest possible artistic authenticity.

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Benedicat Israel Domino

for mixed chorus a cappella

Order No.: 3454

Price: 7,50 €