The Kennedy Center

André Jolivet



Biography

André Jolivet
Birth:  August 8th, 1905
Death:  December 20th, 1974
 
André Jolivet was a French composer.  He is best known for his loyalty to French culture and his musical interests in acoustics and atonality, particularly on instruments used in ancient times.
 
André Jolivet was born on August 8th 1905, at rue Versigny in Montmartre Paris.  He was the son of Madeleine Perault and Victor-Ernest Jolivet.  His father an artist and his mother was a pianist.  They encouraged him to become a teacher to have a career.  His first musical training he was 4, taught by his mother.  As a child he posed for the painter Poulbot.  That influenced him to sketch and studied painting with the painter Georges Valmier.  During this same time he met Abbé Théodas, the choir-master, who exposed him to liturgical music.  At the age of 14, he took cello lessons with Louis Feuillard, a celebrated cello teacher.  And at the age of 15, he wrote a ballet.
 
In 1920 he was introduced to Paul Le Flem, the musical director that significantly influenced his career.  In 1921, he is accepted as a student at the École Normale d'instituteurs d'Auteuil and graduates in 1924.  He was drafted into the military in 1924.  After his military serve ended in 1927, he began teaching school in the city of Paris always interested in continuing his musical training.  In 1928 he started counterpoint and harmony lessons with Paul Le Flem.  It was during this period he delevoped a love for atonal music.  With Paul as a mentored he was introduced to Edgard Varèse and became his only European student. 
 
In 1929 he married Martine Barbillon and in 1930 they celebrated the birth of daughter Françoise-Martine.  In 1936 he founded the group La jeune (Young) France along with composers Olivier Messiaen, Daniel-Lesur and Yves Baudrier.  
 
His dream job was to write for the theatre came true in 1945 he became the musical director of the Comedie Francaise.  There he composed for plays by Sophocles, Shakespeare and scoring 14 works using his distinctly French style.
 
During the 1950s - 1960s, he was highly regarded for concerts for a variety of instruments.  He founded the Centre Français d'Humanisme Musical at Aix-en-Provence in 1959 and in 1961 went to teach composition at the Paris Conservatory.  He died December 20th, 1974 before the completion of his last commissioned opera, Le soldat inconnu for the Palais Garnier.
André Jolivet

Compositions

  • Chant de Linos