It is with great sadness that we learned this morning of the death of the Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans. He was 85 years old.
He was a figure of Belgian and international classical music. Composer Philippe Boesmans died on Sunday April 10 at the age of 85. His last opera, We purge babyadapted from a play by Feydeau, will be premiered at La Monnaie in December 2022.
Philippe Boesmans was born on May 17, 1936 in Tongeren, Belgium. After studying piano at the Liège Conservatory, he turned to composition as an autodidact. Intrigued by post-serialism, he very early on became aware of the need to overcome its constraints and exclusions. Without denying this recent heritage, he develops a very personal musical language, where communication with the listener takes center stage.
Producer at RTBF (1961), Philippe Boesmans was composer in residence at La Monnaie from 1985 to 2007. Gérard Mortier commissioned several works from him, including The Passion of Gilles (1983), the Trakl Songs (1987), as well as the orchestration of The Coronation of Poppea by Monteverdi (1989).
Still for La Monnaie, Bernard Foccroulle commissioned round dance (1993)Winter’s Tale (1999) and Julia (2005) with librettos by Luc Bondy. These operas have been performed in different international stages and have all had different stagings.
In January 2009, the Paris Opera premiered its opera, Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy, commissioned by Gerard Mortier, based on the play of the same name by Witold Gombrowicz and again with a libretto and direction by Luc Bondy.
A new version of his “The Coronation of Poppea by Monteverdi titled “Poppea and Nero” was premiered in June 2012 at the Opera de Madrid in a staging by Warlikowski.
The world premiere of his opera “In the world” on a libretto by Joël Pommerat took place on March 30, 2014 at the Théâtre de La Monnaie in Brussels. His latest opera, Pinocchioto a libretto by Joël Pommerat after Carlo Collodi was commissioned by the Festival d’Aix en Provence in collaboration with La Monnaie and premiered in 2017. A recording of the work was released by Cypres in 2018. His opera We’re purging baby – saved from the flames of the fire that destroyed Boesmans’ apartment – will be premiered next December at La Monnaie.
The worldwide creation of End of Night for piano and orchestra, a commission from the Orchester Philharmonique Royal de Liège took place at the end of February 2019.
The work of Philippe Boesmans is punctuated with important consecrations: Italy award for On La-Mi (1971), participation in main contemporary music festivals (Darmstadt, Royan, Zagreb, Avignon, Almeida-London, Strasbourg, Montreal, Ars Musica-Brussels, Salzburg, IRCAM, etc.) as well as many disc awards : sound recording Violin Concerto and of Conversions has been awarded no less than six prizes, including that of the Charles Cros Academy and the Koussevitzky International Disc Prize.
In 2000, the body of work of Philippe Boesmans was awarded the Honegger prize.
In December 2007, the DVD of “Julie” (BelAir Classics) has received various mentions and prizes, including the Grand Prix Charles Cros.
In 2009, Philippe Boesmans received for Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy the “French Critics Prize” awarded for the best creation of the year.
In April 2015, Philippe Boesmans obtained in London the “International Opera Prize” for his opera In the world which was voted best world creation in 2014. The registration ofAu World received the Diapason d’Or.