Darbellay, Jean-Luc

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Darbellay, Jean-Luc

Darbellay, Jean-Luc , Swiss composer and conductor; b. Bern, July 2, 1946. He obtained a diploma as a physician before studying clarinet at the Bern Cons. (1974–79). He then pursued training in composition with Cristobal Halffter and Demitri Terzakis. He later attended the master classes of Edison Denisov (1993) and Klaus Huber at the Lucerne Cons., workshops with Pierre Boulez in Paris, and conducting sessions with Pierre Dervaux. In 1978 Darbellay founded the Ludus Ensemble of the Bern Cons., and subsequently served as its conductor. While in Denisov’s master class, he and 4 other composers living in Switzerland and Germany formed the Groupe Lacroix to promote a mutually beneficial contact between composers. By 1996 two more composers had joined the group. In 1995 Darbellay became president of the Swiss section of the ISCM. His music often explores the complementary sonic properties of simultaneously sounding instruments. A significant number of his works feature the horn and basset horn in solo roles, due to the fact that his son Olivier (b.1974) and wife Elizabeth are virtuosos on those respective instruments.


DRAMATIC C’est un peu d’eau qui nous separe, chamber opera (1989). ORCH.: Espaces for Horn or Basset Horn and Strings (1984); Cello Concerto (1989); Pranam III for Solo Cello, 2 Flutes, Horn, and Strings (1992) and IV for Horn and Strings (1995); Orion (1994); Elégie (1994); Incanto for Horn and Orch. (1995). CHAMBER : Vestiges for Bassoon (1982); Amphores for Clarinet and Harp (1983); Plages for English Horn or Alto Saxophone (1985); Miroir for 3 Basset Horns (1988); Saxophone Quartet (1988); Wind Octet (1991); Vormittagsspuk for Chamber Ensemble (1991); Interferences for Flute, Oboe, and Natural Horn (1993); Andromède for Guitar, Vibraphone, and Harp (1991); Spectrum for Natural Horn (1993); Cantus for Horn and Organ (1993); Oreade for Clarinet and String Trio (1993); a la recherche for Chamber Ensemble (1994); String Quartet (1994); Images perdues for Cello and Piano (1995); Solo for Cello (1995); Ecumes for String Quartet (1996); Ein Garten filr Orpheus for Horn, Basset Horn, and String Quartet, after the Klee painting (1996); Neva for String Quartet (1996); Chandigarh for 17 Instruments (1996); Empreintes for Piano Trio (1996); Accents for Saxophone and Horn (1997); Luce for Saxophone and Cello (1997); Valére for Violin and Piano (1997); Sospeso for Clarinet and String Quartet (1997); Sozusagen for Oboe, Viola, Bassoon, and Guitar, after the Klee painting (1997–99); Trajectoire for 12 Winds and Double Bass (1998); Kantha Bopha for Solo Cello and 32 Tutti-Cellos (1999); String Trio (1999); Trio for Bass Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1999). VOCAL: Envois for Mezzo-soprano, Flute, Clarinet, and Basset Horn (1985); 7 poèmes romands for Mezzo-soprano, Flute, Clarinet, and Basset Horn (1986); Elan, chamber cantata for Mezzo-soprano, Clarinet, Basset Horn, and Harp (1987).

—Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire