Pierre Boulez Conductor
The French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez was one of the leading figures in music to have surfaced in the period following the end of World War II. During the war he studied under Messiaen and Leibowitz at the Conservatoire de Paris; his conducting career began in Baden-Baden in 1958. He made his debut in Bayreuth with Wagner’s Parsifal in 1966 and conducted Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande in London in 1971. He was appointed chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra that same year and was also chosen to be Leonard Bernstein’s successor by the New York Philharmonic. One of the great achievements of his career was his conducting of the now legendary Patrice Chéreau production of Wagner’s Ring in Bayreuth in 1976. Between 1977 and 1992 he concentrated primarily on the founding and direction of IRCAM in Paris, an institute for research into sound and electro-acoustical music. At the same time he also founded the Ensemble Intercontemporain. He returned to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as conductor for the first time in thirty years in 1993 and two year later he conducted the opening concert of the Cité de la Musique in Paris; he had played a large role in the founding of this establishment. Pierre Boulez has received countless awards and decorations, including 26 Grammy Awards.