Schoeller: Isis II

Program Note

Philippe Schoeller (b.1957)
Isis II (2001)

Philippe Schœller studied piano with Jean-Claude Henriot, harmony and counterpoint with Béatrice Berstel, choral singing in the Bach choir of Justus von Websky, began conducting with Gérard Dervaux at Ecole Normale of Paris Music, and analysing with Robert Piencikowski. From 1982 to 1986, in Paris, he attended  Pierre Boulez in Collège de France and Franco Donatoni‘s master classes at the conservatory and Iannis Xenakis‘free classes at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes. His meetings with  Helmut Lachenmann at a conference in 1985 in Paris, Henri Dutilleux in Tours in 1990 and Elliott Carter in 1983 will be the most significant moments. He also enriches his musician training with studies in musicology and philosophy at the University Paris-Sorbonne.

He gives numerous lectures and teaches analysis and composition at the National Conservatory of Music in Lyon. He also teaches master classes at the National Conservatory of Coppenhagen in 2004, the Hochschule Hannover in 2004 and IRCAM in 2005. He follows the course of computer music at IRCAM before carrying out major work on the sound synthesis in order to develop a new sort of violin in accordance with the traditional one.

The style of Philippe Schœller could be associated with terms such as color, transparency, subtlety, but also energy, flexibility, movement and organic form. His writing, ranging from the extremely sparse solo work—Hypnos linea (2007)—to the very large orchestra—Ritualis Totems (with choir, 2007) or the most recent Songs from Esstal, I, II and III (created at the festival ManiFeste 2013, by Barbara Hannigan and the Orchester de Radio France), shows a great concern for detail and a certain quest for vertigo, peculiar to his passion for “textural perceptions” —waves, flow of winds in the reeds in the high forests, flocks of starlings, clouds or galaxies of events of living nature.

His works are given around the world. He won the International Antidogma Composition Competition in Turin in 1984, the Henri Dutilleux Prize in Tours in 1990, the Natixis Foundation—Banque Populaire—Crédit National in 1993-1997, and the Paul Gilson Prize in 2001 for Totems and Sacem’s Best Instrumental Creation Award in 2009 for Tree to Soul, which also awarded him the 2012 Best Film Music Award for Exercise of the State. Two discographic publications receive the “Coup de cœur” from the Académie Charles-Cros.