Tristan Murail

born on 11/3/1947 in Le Havre, Haute-Normandie, France

Tristan Murail

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Tristan Murail (born March 11, 1947 in Le Havre, France) is a French composer associated with the "spectral" technique of composition.

Early life and studies

His father, Gérard Murail, is a poet and his mother, Marie-Thérèse Barrois, a journalist. One of his brothers, Lorris Murail, and his younger sister Elvire Murail, aka Moka, also write, and his younger sister Marie-Aude Murail is a French children's writer.

Following early studies in economics and classical and North African Arabic, Murail studied composition with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire[1] from 1967 to 1972. He taught computer music at the Paris Conservatoire and composition at IRCAM in Paris, where he assisted in the development of the Patchwork composition software. In 1973 he was a founding member of the Ensemble l'Itinéraire.[2] Since 1997 he has been a professor of composition at Columbia University in New York City until 2011.[3]


Murail is associated with the "spectral" technique of composition, which involves the use of the fundamental properties of sound as a basis for harmony, as well as the use of spectral analysis, FM, RM, and AM synthesis as a method of deriving polyphony.[4]

Major pieces by Murail include large orchestral pieces such as Gondwana, Time and Again and, more recently, Serendib and L'esprit des dunes. Other pieces include his Désintégrations for 17 instruments and tape, Mémoire/Erosion for French horn and nine instruments Ethers for flute and ensemble, Winter Fragments, for flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello and electronics as well as Vampyr! for electric guitar.

Murail also composed a set of solo pieces for various instruments in his cycle Random Access Memory, of which the sixth, Vampyr!, is a rare classical piece for electric guitar. Vampyr! is one of several works in Murail's catalogue that do not employ spectral techniques. Rather, in the performance notes, the composer asks the performer to play the piece in the manner of guitarists in the popular and rock traditions, such as Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton.

Among Murail's awards are the Prix de Rome (presented by the French Académie des beaux-arts in 1971),[5] the Grand Prix du Disque (1990), and the Grand Prix du Président de la République, Académie Charles Cros (1992).

Murail's works are published by Éditions Transatlantiques and Éditions Henry Lemoine.[6] His music has been recorded on the Una Corda, Metier, Adés, and MFA-Radio France labels.



  • 1970, Altitude 8000, for orchestra
  • 1972, Au-delà du mur du son, for large orchestra
  • 1973, La dérive des continents, for viola and string orchestra
  • 1973, Cosmos privé, for orchestra
  • 1975, Sables, for orchestra
  • 1979, Les courants de l'espace, for ondes Martenot and small orchestra
  • 1980, Gondwana, for orchestra
  • 1985, Sillages, for orchestra
  • 1985, Time and again, for orchestra
  • 1991, La dynamique des fluides, for orchestra
  • 1996 Le partage des eaux, for large orchestra
  • 2004, Terre d'ombre, for large orchestra and electronic sounds
  • 2007, Contes cruels, for 2 electric guitars and orchestra
  • 2012, Le Désenchantement du Monde, piano concerto
  • 2013, Reflections / Reflets, for orchestra


  • 1969, Couleur de mer, for 15 instruments
  • 1978, Ethers, for 6 instruments
  • 1982, Désintégrations, for 17 instruments and electronic sounds
  • 1990, Allégories, for 6 instruments and electronic sounds
  • 1992, Serendib, for 22 musicians
  • 1993, La Barque mystique for ensemble
  • 1994, L'Esprit des dunes, for ensemble
  • 1996, Bois flotté, for piano, trombone, string trio, synthetic sounds and synthesized sounds
  • 2000, Winter Fragments, for flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello, MIDI keyboard and computer
  • 2001, Le Lac, for ensemble
  • 2006, Légendes urbaines for 22 instruments
  • 2006, Seven Lakes Drive, for flute, clarinet, horn, piano, violin and cello
  • 2008, Liber fulguralis, for ensemble, electronics and video
  • 2011, La Chambre des cartes, for flute, clarinet, horn, piano, percussions, violin, viola and cello
  • 2012, The Bronze Age, for flute, clarinet, trombone, violin, cello and piano


  • 1970, Où tremblent les contours, for 2 violas
  • 1973, Les Nuages de Magellan, for 2 ondes Martenot, electric guitar and percussions
  • 1974, Transsahara express, for bassoon and piano
  • 1986, Atlantys, for 2 DX7 Yamaha synthesizers, from Random Access Memory
  • 1993, La barque mystique, for five instruments
  • 1998, Feuilles à travers les cloches, from «Portulan», for flute, violin, cello and piano
  • 2006, Les Ruines circulaires, for clarinet and violin
  • 2008, Garrigue, for bass flute, viola, cello and percussions


  • 1972, Estuaire, 2 pieces for piano
  • 1976, C'est un jardin secret, ma sur, ma fiancée, une fontaine close, une source scellée for viola solo
  • 1977, Tellur, for guitar
  • 1977, Territoires de l'oubli, for piano
  • 1984, Vampyr!, for electric guitar, from Random Access Memory
  • 1992, Attracteurs étranges, for cello
  • 1992, Cloches dadieu, et un sourire... in memoriam Olivier Messiaen, for piano
  • 1993, La Mandragore, for piano
  • 1995, Unanswered questions, for flute


  • 1995, ...amaris et dulcibus aquis..., for chorus and electronic sounds
  • 2010, Les sept Paroles, for orchestra, chorus and electronics


  1. Kennedy, Michael (2006), The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 985 pages, ISBN 0-19-861459-4
  2. Kennedy, Michael (2006), The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 985 pages, ISBN 0-19-861459-4
  5. Kennedy, Michael (2006), The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 985 pages, ISBN 0-19-861459-4
  6. Editions Henry Lemoine, Paris
  • Kennedy, Michael (2006), The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 985 pages, ISBN 0-19-861459-4

Specialty studies

  • Humbertclaude, Eric (1999), La Transcription dans Boulez et Murail : de loreille à léveil, Harmattan, ISBN 2-7384-8042-X

External links

This page was last modified 24.04.2014 15:35:30

This article uses material from the article Tristan Murail from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.