Wednesday, July 10, 2002


Biography: introducing Suzanne Giraud

Born in Metz on 31 July 1958, Suzanne Giraud studied piano, violin, viola and composition at the Strasbourg Conservatory before entering the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, where she graduated in harmony, counterpoint, analysis, orchestration, composition and conducting. While approaching spectral compositional techniques with Hugues Dufourt and Tristan Murail, she became conversant with acousmatics and data processing at Boulez’s IRCAM, where she produced several sequences which attracted widespread attention. Later, she studied with Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Chigiani in Siena, then with Brian Ferneyhough during summer courses in Darmstadt.

Her two years' stay at the Villa Medici in Rome proved capital in all respects and she subsequently won several awards and prizes from institutions such as the SACEM (the French Performing Rights Society), the Académie des Beaux-Arts (the French Fine Arts Academy), UNESCO and ISCM. Works were commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Radio-France, the State (France), Musique Nouvelle en Liberté, the Strasbourg Musica Festival and the Dresden Festwochen, and she received invitations to London (Almeida Theatre), The Hague (the Residence Orchestra), Budapest, Manchester (ISCM selection 1986 and 1998), Geneva, Lausanne, Darmstadt, Cardiff, Saarbrücken, Salzburg, Köln and Brussels.

Her chamber music temporarily culminates in her second String Quartet, ‘Envoûtements IV’ written for the Arditti Quartet in 1997, and the Trio for soprano, clarinet and percussion, ‘Envoûtements III’, which met with great success when performed by the Accroche-Note Ensemble in France and in Europe.

Her intimate knowledge of string instruments led her to compose an important piece for strings, now included in the repertoire of the Toulouse National Chamber Orchestra. In 1996, she returned to her favourite medium: the voice (‘Petrarca’, for six mixed voices) and the orchestra (‘Ton cœur sur la pente du ciel’, for orchestra, and ‘To One in Paradise’, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra).

The lyrical nature and emotional quality of her eminently personal style, the delicate, refined, well-balanced textures she creates, were already clearly detectable in ‘La dernière lumière’, first performed by the Ensemble Itinéraire in 1985. The same qualities are even more apparent in her bassoon concerto ‘Crier vers l'horizon’, first performed in 1993 by Paul Riveaux and the Ensemble Intercontemporain directed by David Robertson.

Painting and poetry provide her with multiple sources of inspiration - one has only to consider her catalogue, now featuring over thirty works, and the titles of such pieces as: ‘L'offrande à Vénus’ after Titian (‘Offering to Venus’), ‘Voici la lune’, after Michel Leiris, ‘La dernière lumière’ on poems by Ivan Goran Kovacic, ‘La musique nous vient d'ailleurs’ inspired by Tolkein’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Petrarca’ on sonnets by Petrarch, ‘To One in Paradise’ after Edgar Poe, and ‘Bleu et ombre’ to a poetic text she wrote herself.

Visit the Suzanne Giraud website :

The webmaster : Christophe Le Gall
ResMusica, des siècles de Musique Classique

© Christophe Le Galle

TOMORROW: That playlist….

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