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Henri Dutilleux

French composer

Died when: 97 years 120 days (1168 months)
Star Sign: Aquarius


Henri Dutilleux

Henri Paul Julien Dutilleux (French: [ɑ̃ʁi dytijø]; 22 January 1916 – 22 May 2013) was a French composer active mainly in the second half of the 20th century.

His small body of published work, which garnered international acclaim, followed in the tradition of Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Albert Roussel and Olivier Messiaen, but in an idiosyncratic, individual style.

Some of his notable compositions include a piano sonata, two symphonies, the cello concerto Tout un monde lointain… (A whole distant world), the violin concerto L'arbre des songes (The tree of dreams), the string quartet Ainsi la nuit (Thus the night) and a sonatine for flute and piano.

Some of these are regarded as masterpieces of 20th-century classical music.Works were commissioned from him by such major artists as Charles Munch, George Szell, Mstislav Rostropovich, the Juilliard String Quartet, Isaac Stern, Paul Sacher, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Simon Rattle, Renée Fleming, and Seiji Ozawa.

French organist Gaston Litaize also asked Dutilleux many times to compose for the organ, but nothing came from it; the two first met in 1938 at the Grand Prix de Rome, which Dutilleux won and at which Litaize finished second.

In The New York Times, Paul Griffiths wrote, "Mr.Dutilleux’s position in French music was proudly solitary.Between Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Boulez in age, he was little affected by either, though he took an interest in their work. … But his voice, marked by sensuously handled harmony and color, was his own." Dutilleux received several major prizes throughout his career, notably the Grand Prix de Rome (1938), International Music Council's International Rostrum of Composers (1955), the Grand-Croix de la Légion d'honneur (2004), the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize (2005), the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society (2008) and the Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music (2011).

In addition to composing, he worked as the Head of Music Production for Radio France for 18 years.He also taught at the École Normale de Musique de Paris and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, and was twice composer in residence at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.

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