Boulez, Pierre (1925-2016) By Goldman, Jonathan
French composer Pierre Boulez was one of the most influential composers of the second half of the twentieth century. His personal development mirrored the history of Western concert music. An essential figure in the history of artistic modernism, he was perceived as a leader of the musical avant-garde since 1945. In addition, through his international career as a conductor, he sought to change the listening habits of the concert-going public by initiating them, through concerts and recordings, into the classics of modernism from the first half of the twentieth century (Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Bartók, Berg, etc.).
From serialism, open forms, the interface between instrument and machine, the concern with perceptibility, Boulez’s catalog forms a rich and varied corpus. Although Boulez dispensed with total serialism after a brief but decisive period, his concern with the formal unity of a work of art remained a central concern throughout his career.