Damase, Jean-Michael

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Damase, Jean-Michael

Damase, Jean-Michael , French composer and pianist; b. Bordeaux, Jan. 27, 1928. His mother was the harpist Micheline Kahn. He was taken to Paris, where he was enrolled at the École Samuel-Rousseau at age 5 to receive rudimentary training in piano and theory. He wrote his first work at age 9 and appeared as a pianist at the Children’s Pavilion at the Universal Exhibition. When he was 12 he became a student of Cortot at the École Normale de Musique. He pursued training at the Cons., where he was a student of Armand Ferté (premier prix in piano, 1943), Henri Büsser (premier prix in composition, 1947), and Marcel Dupré (harmony and counterpoint). In 1947 he was awarded the Premier Grand Prix de Rome for his cantata Et la belle se réveilla. While he subsequently made appearances as a pianist, he devoted himself principally to composition. Damase has become best known for his dramatic and chamber works in an appealing tonal style.


DRAMATIC La croqueuse de diamants, ballet (1950); Piège de lumière, ballet (1952); Balance a trois, ballet (1955); Colombe, opera (Bordeaux, Nov. 1956); La Boucle, ballet (1957); La tendre Éléonore, opera bouffe (1958; Marseilles, March 10, 1962); Silk Rhapsody, ballet (1966); Madame de, opera (1970); Euridyce, opera (Bordeaux, May 26, 1972); L’Escarpolette, comic opera (French TV, March 1982); Ochelata’s Wedding, opera bouffe (1999). ORCH.: Concertino for Harp and Strings (1951); Violin Concerto (Paris, Dec. 1956); Sérénade for Flute and Strings (1956); La valse mauve (1959); Guitare (1961); Rondeau (1962); Cavatine (1963); Souvenir (1964); Méandres for Oboe and Strings (1978); Suite concertante for Oboe and Chamber Orch. (1978); Double Bass Concerto (1979); Concert for Chamber Orch. (1984); Rhapsodic for Horn and Orch. (1986); Concertino for Piano and Strings (1989; Rueil-Malmaison, March 11, 1995); Concerto for Viola, Harp, and Orch. (Paris, June 1990); Flute Concerto (Paris, Nov. 1993); Ballade for Harp and Strings (1994); Rhapsodie juvénile for Guitar and Strings (1994); Suite en ut for Chamber Orch. (Paris, Dec. 1994); Variations on a Theme by Mozart for 2 Pianos and Orch. (Bartlesville, Okla., June 1994); Horn Concerto (1995). CHAMBER : Trio for Flute, Harp, and Cello (1946); Quintet for Flute, Harp, Violin, Viola, and Cello (1948); Rhapsodie for Oboe and Piano (1948); Étude de concert for Harp (1951); Sonata en concert for Flute, Cello, and Piano (1952); Sonata for Flute and Harp (1964); Trio for Violin, Viola, and Cello (1965; Paris, Dec. 1970); Sonata for Flute or Violin and Piano (1976); Saxophone Quartet (1978); Suite pour quatre for 2 Oboes, Bas-soon, and Harpsichord (1981); Early Morning, variations for Flute and Harp (Bartlesville, Okla., June 1982); Trio for Trumpet, Trombone, and Piano (1983); Quatre à quatre for 4 Clarinets (1986); Quatre divertissements for Flute and Piano (1986); Aspects for Horn and Piano or Harp (1987); Variations for Flute and Piano (1987); Flute Quartet (1989); Trio for Oboe, Horn, and Piano (1990); Flute Quartet (Bartlesville, Okla., June 1992); Cinq petits dialogues for Marimba and Harp or Piano (1994); Thème et Variations for Harp (Cardiff, June 1994); Trois Prières sans paroles for Trumpet and Organ (1994); Clarinet Sonata (Tokyo, March 1995); Horn Sonata (Paris, April 1996); Quatre facettes for Flute and Guitar (1997). PIANO : Pastorale (1949); Thème et Variations (Paris, Nov. 1955); Sonatine (Bartlesvilles, Okla., June 1992). Organ : Quatre Pastorales (1993). VOCAL : Ouverture, confiture, fermeture for Soprano, Baritone, and Orch. (1959); Hymne pour la jeunesse for Chorus and Orch. (1965); Onze psaumes de David for Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (Auvers-sur-Oise, June 16, 1985); songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire