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Bernard Parmegiani

Bernard Parmegiani
Parmegiani (left) with Christian Zanési
Background information
Born (1927-10-27)27 October 1927
Paris, France
Died 21 November 2013(2013-11-21) (aged 86)
Paris, France
Genres Electronic, acousmatic
Occupation(s) Composer
Years active 1964–2013

Bernard Parmegiani (27 October 1927 − 21 November 2013[1][2]) was a French composer best known for his electronic or acousmatic music.


Between 1957 and 1961 he studied mime with Jacques Lecoq, a period he later regarded as important to his work as a composer. He joined the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) in 1959 for a two-year master class, shortly after its founding by Pierre Schaeffer. After leaving his studies with Lecoq, he was first a sound engineer and was later put in charge of the Music/Image unit for French television (ORTF). There he worked in the studio with several notable composers, Iannis Xenakis, for example.[3][4]

While at ORTF Parmegiani produced music for numerous film directors including Jacques Baratier and Peter Kassovitz, and for A, a 1965 short film animated by Jan Lenica. He also wrote a number of jingles for the French media and the "Indicatif Roissy" that preceded every PA announcement at Terminal 1 of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport until 2005.[3][4]

He composed his first major work, Violostries for violin and tape in 1964 for a choreography performed for Théâtre Contemporain d’Amiens directed by Jacques-Albert Cartier. During a visit to America in the late 1960s, he researched the link between music and video and on his return produced several musical videos, including L'Œil écoute, and L’Écran transparent (1973) during a residency at Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Germany. In the 1970s he also became involved with live performances of jazz and performed with the Third Ear Band in London.[4][5]

At this time he also started writing acousmatic pieces for performance in the concert hall: examples are Capture éphémère of 1967 which deals with the passage of time, and L'Enfer (1972), a collaboration with the composer François Bayle, based on Dante's Divine Comedy.[3]

He composed the music for Walerian Borowczyk's films Jeux des Anges (1964) and Docteur Jekyll et les Femmes (1981).

In 1992 Parmegiani left the GRM and set up his own studio in Saint Rémy.[clarification needed] In April 2010 he sat on the jury at the sixth Qwartz Electronic Music Awards, a promotional project and support group for electronic music artists.

Parmegiani has been cited as a major influence by younger experimentalists like Aphex Twin, Autechre and Sonic Youth.[6] Works of his were performed at the All Tomorrow's Parties festivals in 2003 and 2008.


His music has won awards, among them prizes from the Académie du Disque Français in 1979, SACEM in 1981, Les Victoires de la Musique in 1990, and the Prix Magister at the Concours International de Bourges in 1991.[5] In 1993 he was awarded the Golden Nica Award at Prix Ars Electronica for Entre-temps composed the previous year.[7]

Partial discography

  • 1964 Violostries
  • 1967-1968 L’Instant mobile, Capture éphémère
  • 1970 L'Œil écoute
  • 1971 Chronos
  • 1971 L’Enfer (based on La Divine Comédie)
  • 1972 Pour en finir avec le pouvoir d’Orphée
  • 1974 Chants Magnétiques
  • 1975 De Natura Sonorum
  • 1980 L’Echo du miroir
  • 1984 La Création du monde
  • 1985-1986 Exercismes 1 - 2 - 3
  • 1991 Le Présent composé
  • 1992 Entre-temps
  • 1996 Sonare
  • 2002 La mémoire des sons
  • 2004 Espèces d'espace


  1. ^ AFP. "Mort du compositeur Bernard Parmegiani, un des pères de l'électroacoustique" (in French). Libération. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Suzana Kubik (22 November 2013). "Bernard Parmegiani est mort" (in French). France Musique. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Parmegiani, Bernard". Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 August 2010.  (Subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c Bernard Parmegiani discography at Discogs
  5. ^ a b "Bernard Parmegiani - Biography". Société de musique contemporaine du Québec. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Dusted Reviews: Bernard Parmegiani - Chants Magnetiques". Dusted Magazine. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "Bernard Parmegiani - L'Œuvre Musicale En 12 CD (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 

External links

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