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Constant, Marius

Constant, Marius

Constant, Marius , Romanian-born French conductor, composer, and teacher; b. Bucharest, Feb. 7, 1925. He first studied at the Bucharest Cons., where he took prizes in piano, harmony, counterpoint, and composition. In 1946 he settled in Paris and eventually became a naturalized French citizen. He was a student of Honegger, and also at the Cons, of Messiaen, Aubin, and Boulanger (premiers prix in composition and analysis, 1949), and at the École Normale de Musique of Fournet (conducting degree, 1949). He was active with the Groupe de Recherches Musicales du Club d’Essai de la Radio (1952–54), and was co-founder and director of the program France-Musique (1954–66). He also was chief conductor of the Ballets de Roland Petit (1957–63). In 1963 he founded Ars Nova, a contemporary music ensemble, which he served as music director until 1971. From 1973 to 1978 he was director of dance at the Paris Opéra. He was prof. of orchestration at the Paris Cons. (1979–88), and also taught composition and analysis at Stanford Univ. in Calif. Constant has won a number of honors for his compositions, including the Italia Prize (1952, 1987), the Koussevitzky Prize (1962), the Grand Prix National de la Musique (1969), and the “Victoires” de la Musique (1991). In 1993 he was elected a member of the Academic des Beaux-Arts, succeeding to the chair of Messiaen. In his compositions, Constant at first wrote along impressionistic lines. He later adopted a more advanced style in which he often made use of both serial and aleatory procedures.

Works

DRAMATIC Opera : Le Souper (Besancon, Sept. 9, 1969); Le jeu de Sainte Agnés (Besancon, Sept. 6, 1974); La Tragedie de Carmen (Paris, Nov. 5, 1981); Impressions de Pelleas (Paris, Nov. 13, 1992); Sade-Teresa (1995); Des Saisons en enfer (Monte Carlo, April 28, 1999). B a l l e t : Cyrano de Bergerac (Paris, April 17, 1959); Eloge de la folie (Paris, March 11, 1966); Paradis perdu (London, Feb. 27, 1967); Candide (1970; Hamburg, Jan. 20, 1971); Septentrion (Marseilles, May 15, 1975); Nana (Paris, May 6, 1976); L’Ange bleu (Berlin, June 8, 1985). F i l m : Napoléon (1992). T e l e v i s i o n : Twilight Zone, signature theme (1959). ORCH.: Musique de concert for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orch. (1955); 24 Préludes (Paris, March 24, 1959); Turner, 3 essays (Aix-en-Provence, July 17, 1961); Chants de Maldoror for Narrator and Orch. (Vicenza, Sept. 17, 1962); Chaconne et Marche militaire (Philadelphia, March 28, 1968); Winds for 14 Instruments (Aix-en-Provence, July 11, 1968); Strings for Electric Guitar and 12 Strings (1969; also for Harpsichord and 12 Strings, 1972); Candide for Harpsichord and Orch. (1970; Geneva, May 5, 1971); Faciebat Anno 1973 for 24 Violins and Orch. (Aix-en-Provence, July 17, 1973); 3 syms.: No. 1, Nana-Symphonie (1976–80; Besanc, on, Sept. 12, 1980), No. 2, Sym. for Winds (Montreal, March 17, 1978), and No. 3, Brevissima (Madrid, Feb. 27, 1992); Concerto Gli Elementi for Trombone and Orch. (1977); Stress for Jazz Trio and Orch. (Chateauvallon, Aug. 21, 1977; in collaboration with M. Solal); Concertante for Alto Saxophone and Orch. (1978); Harpalycée for Harp and Strings (1980; also for Harp and String Quartet); 103 Regards dans I’eau for Violin and Orch. (1981; also for Violin and 12 Instruments, 1983); Perpetuo (1986); Texas Twilight (1986); Choruses and Interludes for Horn, Orch., and Jazz Quartet (1987; Rheims, June 3, 1988); Barrel Organ Concerto (Cannes, April 10, 1988); Konzertstuck for Oboe and Orch. (Toulon, May 30, 1990); Hameenlinna: An Imaginary Landscape (Helsinki, May 23, 1991). B a n d : L’inaguration de la maison (1985). CHAMBER : Trio for Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1950); Trois complexes for Double Bass and Piano (1951); Moulins a prieres for 2 Harpsichords (1969); Equal for 5 Percussionists (1970); Quatorze stations for Percussionist (1970); 9 Mars 1971: Hommage a Jean-Pierre Guezec for Piccolo and Glockenspiel (1971); Pour flute et un instrument (1972); Siletes for Harpsichord (1973); Psyche for 2 Pianos and 2 Percussion (1975); For Clarinet (1975); 9 Pieces for Flute and Piano (1978); Alleluias for Trumpet and Organ (1980); D’une elegie slave for Guitar (1981); Recitativo for Viola (1983); Pierres-Jewels for 3 Cellos (1984); Die Trennung for String Quartet (1990); Phantasma for Violin and Piano (1990); Blues-Variations for Guitar and Electric Guitar (1990); Matines for Organ (1992).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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