Henry, Pierre Georges

Henry, Pierre Georges, 1927–2017, French composer noted for his contributions to electronic music. He studied with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory, where he met Pierre Schaeffer, the originator of musique concrète, which uses everyday and other sounds, often manipulated, to create compositions. While working (1949–58) at Shaeffer's studio, Club d'Essai (part of the French national broadcasting system), he and Shaeffer collaborated on Symphonie pour un homme seul (Symphony for a Lonely Man, 1950–51). In 1951 they and the sound engineer Jacques Poullin founded the electroacoustic music studio Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète, where Henry composed the music for Jean Grémillon's film, Astrologie ou le miroir de la vie (Astrology, or the Mirror of Life, 1952).

In 1960 he and Jean Baronnnet founded the first private electronic music studio in France. Continuing his experimentation with ambient sound, he created Variations pour une porte et un soupir [variations for a door and a sigh] (1963). Henry also composed numerous works for the ballets of Maurice Bejart, including Orphée (1953) and Messe pour le temps present [mass for the present time] (1967), featuring his composition Psyché Rock. Later works include Futuriste [futurist] (1975), an homage to the Italian futurist Luigi Russolo; La Dixième Symphonie [tenth symphony] (1979), a tribute to Beethoven; and Intérieur/Extérieur [interior/exterior] (1997), pieces to be performed inside his house.

See E. Darmon and F. Mallet, dir., The Art of Sounds (documentary, 2006).

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