Composer Betsy Jolas receives French Commander of the Legion of Honor


(Photo credit: Jacques Demarthon)

Born in Paris in 1926, Betsy jolas has dual American and French nationality. After graduating from Bennington College, she continued her studies in Paris in 1946 – studying with Darius Milhaud and Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory. Originally a pianist and organist, she also sang in the Dessoff Choirs formed by Paul Boepple to explore the medieval and renaissance repertoire, which would later influence her style of composition.

His compositions have won numerous awards such as the American Academy of Arts, the National Music Grand Prix, the Maurice Ravel International Prize and the Sacem Prize for Best Creation.

In an interview with The temperature, it was reported that Jolas met Igor Stravinsky, sung under Arturo Toscanini, understood Bela Bartok play in person and sit on the German conductor Bruno Walterthe repetitions.

She has known and sometimes worked alongside “The Six», The influential group of early 20th century French composers – including Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Arthur Honegger, Georges Auric, Louis Durey and Germaine Tailleferre.

Finally, she returned to the Paris Conservatory and became professor of composition in 1978. She also taught at Yale, Harvard, Mills College and at the universities of California at Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego.

She writes orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal and solo works. They were created by the Domaine Musical, the concert company founded by Pierre Boulez in Paris, active from 1954 to 1973. More recently, his works have been performed at the Tanglewood and Royal music festivals, and by artists such as Mady Mesplé . , Claude Helfer, Elisabeth Chojnacka, Pierre-Yves Artaud, and by the main ensembles Ensemble Intercontemporain, Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, London Sinfonietta, Boston Symphony Chamber Players, etc.

In the United States, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in France, she was appointed Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, ” Knight of the Legion of “Honor” in 1997, and named “Personality of the Year” in 1992.

Recently registered on the New Year’s list, she was promoted by the President of the French Republic to the rank of “Commander of the Legion of Honor”.


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