A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Pierre Boulez

Birth icon
March 26, 1925: Pierre Boulez is born in Montbrison, in the Loire region, third of four children born to Léon Boulez, engineer and technical director of a steel factory, and Marcelle Calabre.
Performance icon
May 10, 1943: Visions de l’Amen for two pianos by Olivier Messiaen (34) is performed for the first time, by Yvonne Loriod and the composer, in the Gallerie Charpentier, Paris. It is Ms. Loriod’s first move up from page-turner to musical collaborator with Messiaen. The invited audience contains the most important luminaries of occupied Paris, including Francis Poulenc (44), Paul Valéry, Jean Cocteau, Roland-Manuel, Pierre Boulez (18), and Christian Dior.
Event icon
April 19, 1944: Pierre Boulez (19) begins weekly counterpoint lessons with Andrée Vaurabourg (Mme Arthur Honegger) at her apartment on Montmartre.
Event icon
June 28, 1944: Pierre Boulez (19) visits Olivier Messiaen (35) for the first time, in Paris.
Event icon
December 8, 1944: Pierre Boulez (19) attends a class given by Olivier Messiaen (35) at the home of Guy Bernard-Delapierre in Paris.
Event icon
January 1, 1945: Pierre Boulez (19) moves from the Rue Oudinot to accommodations in the Rue Beautreillis where he will live until 1959. He engages a coal-seller who moves all his belongings by handcart.
Performance icon
February 12, 1945: Twelve Notations for piano by Pierre Boulez (19) is performed for the first time, in Paris.
Performance icon
February 27, 1945: A concert by the Société privée de musique de chambre in Paris, presenting new American works by Igor Stravinsky (62) for the first time in France, is loudly protested by students in the audience, including Pierre Boulez (19).
Performance icon
March 15, 1945: The French premiere of Igor Stravisnky's (62) Four Norwegian Moods is accompanied by students in the balcony loudly blowing police whistles.  Among them is Pierre Boulez (19).
Performance icon
November 2, 1945: Chant des déportés for chorus and orchestra by Olivier Messiaen (36) to his own words is performed for the first time, in Palais de Chaillot, Paris. The piano part is played by Pierre Boulez (20). This work was composed in memory of those deported to their deaths in Germany.
Event icon
May 2, 1946: Pierre Boulez (21) concludes two years of weekly counterpoint lessons with Andrée Vaurabourg (Mme Arthur Honegger (54)) in Paris.
Event icon
February 14, 1948: A public rehearsal of Trois Tâla by Olivier Messiaen (39) takes place at the Paris Conservatoire. Afterwards, Pierre Boulez (22) goes backstage and tells his teacher Messiaen that the piece makes him want to vomit. The relationship between the two will be cool for a few years.
Performance icon
June 7, 1949: At the invitation of Olivier Messiaen (40), to whom he had been introduced by Pierre Boulez (24), John Cage (36) performs his Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano to Messiaen’s students at the Salle Gounod of the Paris Conservatoire.
Performance icon
June 17, 1949: John Cage (36) performs his Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano at the Paris salon of Suzanne Tézenas, with introductory remarks by Pierre Boulez (24).
Event icon
January 17, 1950: John Cage (37) writes to Pierre Boulez (24), “I am starting a society called “Capitalists Inc” (so that we will not be accused of being communists); everyone who joins has to show that he has destroyed not less than 100 disks of music or one sound recording device; also everyone who joins automatically becomes President.” (Nattiez, 50-51)
Performance icon
April 29, 1950: Piano Sonata no.2 by Pierre Boulez (25) is performed for the first time, in Paris.
Performance icon
July 18, 1950: Le soleil des eaux, a cantata for soprano, tenor, bass, and chamber orchestra by Pierre Boulez (25) to words of Char, is performed live for the first time, in Paris. It was broadcast in April 1948.
Performance icon
December 18, 1950: David Tudor plays the American premiere of the Piano Sonata no.2 by Pierre Boulez (25) in New York. John Cage (38) turns pages.
Performance icon
October 6, 1951: Two works for small groups of instruments are performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen: Double Concerto for violin, piano, and small orchestra by Ernst Krenek (51), and Polyphonie X for 18 instruments by Pierre Boulez (26).
Performance icon
May 4, 1952: Structures Ia for two pianos by Pierre Boulez (27) is performed for the first time, in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, by the composer and Olivier Messiaen (43). The hall is full, the audience uneasy. Some violence occurs. Igor Stravinsky (69) is present and is not impressed. See 13 November 1953.
Performance icon
October 3, 1952: Oubli signal lapidé for twelve solo voices by Pierre Boulez (27) to words of Gatti, is performed for the first time, in Cologne.
Event icon
November 11, 1952: Pierre Boulez (27), as part of the Renaud-Barrault company, reaches New York on their North American tour. It is here, over the next two months, that Boulez will first meet Edgard Varèse (68).
Performance icon
November 13, 1953: Structures for piano duet by Pierre Boulez (28) is performed completely for the first time, in Cologne. See 4 May 1952.
Event icon
December 5, 1953: Pierre Boulez (28), Henri Pousseur (24), and Michel Fano travel from Paris to Cologne where Karlheinz Stockhausen (25) plays for them the first parts of Studie I that he has composed.
Performance icon
January 13, 1954: Domaine musical, founded by Pierre Boulez (28) to present contemporary music, gives its first performance, at the Théâtre du Petit-Marigny in Paris. Polifonica, Monodia, Ritmica by Luigi Nono (29) is performed for the first time.
Performance icon
March 21, 1955: On the 270th birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, Olivier Messiaen (46) plays the French premiere of his Livre d’orgue at the Trinité, Paris. The organizer of the concert, Pierre Boulez (29), expected only about 50 people to attend and planned for them to enter through a small door on the side of the church. A large number of people showed up and Messiaen gains admittance to the building only with great difficulty. Among those taking part in the crush is the Paris chief of police, there purely as a music lover.
Performance icon
March 26, 1955: Canti per 13 for 13 instruments by Luigi Nono (31) is performed for the first time, in Paris, conducted by Pierre Boulez on the conductor’s 30th birthday.
Performance icon
June 1, 1955: New works are performed for the first time, in Darmstadt: String Quartet in two movements by Bruno Maderna (35), and Perspektiven, music to an imaginary ballet by Bernd Alois Zimmermann (37). Also premiered is Klavierstücke V-VIII no.4 by Karlheinz Stockhausen (26). During the performance talking and giggling begin in the audience, which draws epithets in French from Pierre Boulez (30). Eventually the battling whistles and applause make it impossible for the music to be heard and Stockhausen grabs the music and stalks off, locking himself in his hotel room. After considerable effort by Luigi Nono (31) he is lured back to the hall. The music is restarted, whereupon the entire sequence of events begins again. The pianist, Marcelle Mercenier, thereupon abandons the performance. See 21 August 1954 and 2 June 1957.
Performance icon
June 2, 1955: Pierre Boulez delivers the lecture “Claude Debussy and Anton Webern” at Darmstadt. His Structures Book I is performed today.
Performance icon
June 18, 1955: Le Marteau sans Maître for alto and six players by Pierre Boulez (30) to words of Char, is performed for the first time, in Baden-Baden.
Performance icon
October 15, 1955: Livre pour quatuor Ia, Ib, II for string quartet by Pierre Boulez (30) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen.
Performance icon
July 15, 1956: A Flute Sonatina by Pierre Boulez (31) is performed publicly for the first time, in Darmstadt.
Performance icon
December 15, 1956: Zeitmasze no.5 for woodwind quintet by Karlheinz Stockhausen (28) is performed for the first time, in Paris conducted by Pierre Boulez (31).
Performance icon
May 6, 1957: Harrison Birtwistle (22) attends a concert in London which includes Le marteau sans maître by Pierre Boulez (32), Concerto op.24 by Anton Webern (†11) and Zeitmasze by Karlheinz Stockhausen (28). The Boulez piece will be a major influence on his work.
Performance icon
July 5, 1957: Music to Fauré’s radio play Le crépuscule de Yang Koueï-fei by Pierre Boulez (32) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of RTF, originating in Paris.
Event icon
July 24, 1957: The lecture “Alea” by Pierre Boulez (32) is read (in German) at Darmstadt. He attacks anyone engaged in chance composition, particularly John Cage (44).
Performance icon
September 26, 1957: Piano Sonata no.3 by Pierre Boulez (32) is performed for the first time, in Darmstadt by the composer.
Performance icon
October 20, 1957: Nachtstücke und Arien for soprano and orchestra by Hans Werner Henze (31) to words of Bachmann, is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen. A few seconds after the performance begins, Pierre Boulez (32), Luigi Nono (33), and Karlheinz Stockhausen (29) stand up and leave the hall.
Performance icon
December 4, 1957: Le visage nuptial for soprano, alto, female chorus, and chamber orchestra by Pierre Boulez (32) to words of Char, is performed for the first time, in Cologne, the composer conducting.
Performance icon
January 13, 1958: Improvisation sur Mallarmé I for soprano and seven instruments and Improvisation sur Mallarmé II for soprano and nine instruments by Pierre Boulez (32) are performed for the first time, in Hamburg. Also premiered is La terra e la compagna for soprano, tenor, chorus, and chamber orchestra by Luigi Nono (33) to words of Pavese. See 20 October 1962.
Performance icon
March 16, 1958: Doubles for orchestra by Pierre Boulez (32) is performed for the first time, in Paris, conducted by the composer. See 10 January 1964.
Performance icon
March 24, 1958: Gruppen no.6 for three orchestras by Karlheinz Stockhausen (29) is performed for the first time, in Cologne, conducted by Pierre Boulez (32), Bruno Maderna (37), and the composer. Cornelius Cardew (21) plays glockenspiel. Despite the open hostility of the musicians and the great difficulty of coordinating three orchestras with three conductors, the evening is a smashing success.
Event icon
August 8, 1958: Owing to the cancellation by Pierre Boulez (33) and the refusal of Karlheinz Stockhausen (29) to help out, John Cage (45) is asked to lecture at Darmstadt.
Event icon
September 9, 1958: John Cage (46) gives the third of three lectures at Darmstadt. This one is called “Communication.” Unlike his first two lectures, Communication appears to attack the Darmstadt school, Pierre Boulez (33), and serial composition in general, especially since the German translation of his remarks make it seem much more direct and personal. Cage will be savaged in the German press.
Performance icon
September 9, 1958: A revised version of Le soleil des eaux for soprano, tenor, bass chorus, and orchestra by Pierre Boulez (33) to words of Char, is performed for the first time, in Darmstadt.
Performance icon
October 19, 1958: Poésie pour pouvoir for five-track tape and orchestra by Pierre Boulez (33) to words of Michaux, is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen, conducted by Hans Rosbaud and the composer.
Performance icon
June 10, 1959: Improvisations sur Mallarmé III for soprano and orchestra by Pierre Boulez (34) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen.
Performance icon
August 30, 1959: Pierre Boulez (34) delivers the lecture “Kommentar zur 3. Klaviersonate” at Darmstadt including his own performance of the work.
Performance icon
October 17, 1959: Igor Stravinsky’s (77) Epitaphium für das Grabmal des Prinzen Max Egon zu Fürstenberg, for flute, clarinet, and harp, is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen, conducted by Pierre Boulez (34). Also premiered is Boulez’ Tombeau for soprano and orchestra.
Performance icon
June 13, 1960: Don for soprano and piano by Pierre Boulez (35) to words of Mallarmé is performed for the first time, in Cologne, as part of the first complete performance of Pli selon pli. See 5 July 1962.
Performance icon
September 6, 1961: In the Kongresshalle Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, David Tudor, Kenji Kobayashi, Christoph Caskel, and Carla Henius perform a program of German premieres: Wonderful Widow of 18 Springs and 26’55.988” for pianist and string player by John Cage (49), Incidental Music by George Brecht, Canons for piano and percussion by David Behrman, Stanzas for violin and piano by Toshi Ichiyanagi (28), To Henry Flynt by LaMonte Young (25), and Envelope for violin and piano by Terry Riley (26). One audience member calls for an ambulance during Young’s piece. The crew arrives and leaves when they find Tudor on the floor, in the middle of hitting a gong 566 times. Also present is Alvin Lucier (30) who will remember Pierre Boulez (36) standing on a chair, staring down at Tudor during To Henry Flynt.
Performance icon
September 9, 1961: Livre pour quatour V, VI for string quartet by Pierre Boulez (36) are performed for the first time, in Darmstadt. Also premiered is Available Forms I for chamber ensemble by Earle Brown (34), conducted by Bruno Maderna (41).
Performance icon
October 21, 1961: Structures Book II for two pianos by Pierre Boulez (36) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen. The composer plays one part.
Performance icon
July 5, 1962: A revised version of Don for soprano and orchestra by Pierre Boulez (37) to words of Mallarmé, is performed for the first time, in Amsterdam conducted by the composer. See 13 June 1960.
Performance icon
July 8, 1962: Livres pour quatuor IIIa, IIIb, IIIc for string quartet by Pierre Boulez (37) are performed for the first time, in Darmstadt.
Performance icon
June 18, 1963: The 50th anniversary of Le Sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky (81) is celebrated in a gala concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, its original venue. The concert, which also includes Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Zvezdoliki, establishes Pierre Boulez (38) as a formidable conductor.
Performance icon
October 20, 1963: Punkte no.1/2 for orchestra by Karlheinz Stockhausen (35) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen, conducted by Pierre Boulez (38).
Performance icon
October 30, 1963: Sept haïkaï for piano, 13 winds, six percussionists, and eight violins by Olivier Messiaen (54) is performed for the first time, at the Odéon, Paris by Pierre Boulez (38) and Yvonne Loriod.
Performance icon
January 10, 1964: Figures-Doubles-Prismes for orchestra by Pierre Boulez (38), an expansion of his Doubles, is performed for the first time, in Strasbourg the composer conducting. See 16 March 1958.
Performance icon
October 17, 1964: Couleurs de la cité céleste for piano, 13 winds, and percussion by Olivier Messiaen (55) is performed for the first time, in the Stadthalle, Donaueschingen under the direction of Pierre Boulez (39).
Performance icon
December 16, 1964: Eonta for two trumpets, three trombones and piano by Iannis Xenakis (42) is performed for the first time, in Paris, conducted by Pierre Boulez (39) with the participation of Yuji Takahashi (26).
Performance icon
March 26, 1965: Eclat for 15 instruments by Pierre Boulez is performed for the first time, in Los Angeles, the composer conducting on his 40th birthday. See 21 October 1970.
Performance icon
October 4, 1965: A second revised version of Le soleil des eaux for soprano, chorus, and orchestra by Pierre Boulez (40) to words of Char, is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
Event icon
May 25, 1966: Ralph Shapey (45) wins a composing award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Harry Partch (64) receives the Marjorie Peabody Award. Stefan Wolpe (63) and David Diamond (50) are inducted as members of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Pierre Boulez (41) is inducted as an honorary member.
Performance icon
October 15, 1966: The second movement of the Symphony no.2 of Witold Lutoslawski (53) is performed for the first time, in Hamburg, conducted by Pierre Boulez (41). See 9 June 1967.
Performance icon
March 3, 1968: A second extended version of Figures-Doubles-Prismes for orchestra by Pierre Boulez (42) is performed for the first time, in The Hague conducted by the composer. See 10 January 1964.
Performance icon
September 20, 1968: The solo part of Domaines for clarinet and 21 instruments by Pierre Boulez (43) is performed for the first time, in Ulm. See 20 December 1968.
Performance icon
December 1, 1968: Livre pour cordes Ia for string orchestra by Pierre Boulez (43) is performed for the first time, in London directed by the composer.
Performance icon
December 8, 1968: Livre pour cordes Ib for string orchestra by Pierre Boulez (43) is performed for the first time, in Brighton the composer conducting.
Performance icon
December 20, 1968: Two works are performed for the first time, in Brussels: Domaines for clarinet and 21 instruments by Pierre Boulez (43) (first complete), and Couleurs Croisées for orchestra by Henri Pousseur (39). See 20 September 1968.
Event icon
April 1, 1969: Pierre Boulez (44) receives an official request from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to become its music director. He thinks it is an April Fool’s joke.
Performance icon
April 22, 1969: Eight Songs for a Mad King, a stage work for male voice, piccolo, flute, clarinet, keyboards, percussion, violin, and cello by Peter Maxwell Davies (34) to words of Stow, is performed for the first time, in Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, the composer conducting. Also premiered are works by eleven composers in honor of Dr. Alfred Kalmus, the director of Universal Edition, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. They are presented as A Garland for Dr. K. by the Pierrot Players and include Some Petals from my Twickenham Herbarium for piccolo, clarinet, viola, cello, piano, and bells by Harrison Birtwistle (34), conducted by the composer, Für Dr. K. no.28 for flute, clarinet, piano, vibraphone, tubular bells, violin, and cello by Karlheinz Stockhausen (40), conducted by Pierre Boulez (44), Pour le Dr Kalmus for flute, clarinet, viola, cello, and piano by Pierre Boulez, the composer conducting, Modification and Instrumentation of a Famous Hornpipe as a Merry and Altogether Sincere Homage to Uncle Alfred for flute, clarinet, percussion, harpsichord, viola, and cello by Luciano Berio (43), and Echos II de votre Faust for mezzo-soprano, flute, violoncello, and piano by Henri Pousseur (39). Also premiered is Birtwistle’s Linoi II for clarinet, piano, tape, and dancer. See 11 October 1968.
Event icon
June 10, 1969: The New York Philharmonic Orchestra announces that Pierre Boulez (44) will succeed Leonard Bernstein (50) as music director of the orchestra.
Performance icon
September 19, 1970: ee cummings ist der Dichter for 16 solo voices and 24 instruments by Pierre Boulez (45) is performed for the first time, in Ulm.
Performance icon
October 21, 1970: Eclat/Multiples for orchestra by Pierre Boulez (45) is performed for the first time, in London, directed by the composer. See 26 March 1965.
Performance icon
June 2, 1971: An Imaginary Landscape for brass, eight double basses, and percussion by Harrison Birtwistle (36) is performed for the first time, in Royal Festival Hall, London conducted by Pierre Boulez (46).
Performance icon
September 21, 1971: Pierre Boulez (46) conducts his first concert with the New York Philharmonic. Reviews are generally favorable.
Performance icon
May 29, 1972: Blind Man’s Buff, a masque for soprano, mezzo-soprano, mime, and orchestra by Peter Maxwell Davies (37) to his own words after nursery rhymes and Büchner, is performed for the first time, at Round House, London conducted by Pierre Boulez (47).
Performance icon
June 17, 1972: “...explosante-fixe...” (first realization) for flute, clarinet, and trumpet by Pierre Boulez (47) is performed for the first time, in London.
Performance icon
January 5, 1973: “...explosante-fixe...” (second realization) for flute, clarinet, trumpet, harp, vibraphone, violin, viola, cello, and electronic instruments by Pierre Boulez (47) is performed for the first time, in New York. See 17 June 1972.
Performance icon
March 15, 1973: Concerto for two pianos and orchestra by Luciano Berio (47) is performed for the first time, in New York, conducted by Pierre Boulez (47).
Event icon
November 8, 1973: Pierre Boulez (48) announces in New York that he will resign his posts with the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony and return to France to head a new music institute.
Performance icon
November 3, 1974: Chaconne for Winds op.34 by Alexander Goehr (40) is performed for the first time, at the University of Leeds, conducted by Pierre Boulez (49).
Performance icon
January 31, 1975: Symposium for orchestra by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (35) is performed for the first time, in New York conducted by Pierre Boulez (49).
Performance icon
April 2, 1975: Rituel: In memoriam Bruno Maderna for orchestra by Pierre Boulez (50) is performed for the first time, in London, conducted by the composer.
Performance icon
October 17, 1975: An expanded version of Lamia for soprano and orchestra by Jacob Druckman (47) to words of Ovid, Wagner, and elsewhere is performed for the first time, in New York. Pierre Boulez (50) is one of the conductors.
Performance icon
December 4, 1975: Synchronisms no.7 for orchestra and tape by Mario Davidovsky (40) is performed for the first time, in Avery Fisher Hall, New York, conducted by Pierre Boulez (50).
Performance icon
January 5, 1977: A revised version of both parts of Arc for piano, orchestra, and electronic sounds by Toru Takemitsu (46) is performed for the first time, in New York, conducted by Pierre Boulez (51).
Performance icon
February 17, 1977: A Symphony of Three Orchestras by Elliott Carter (68) is performed for the first time, in Avery Fisher Hall, New York, under the baton of Pierre Boulez (51).
Performance icon
May 5, 1977: Star Child for soprano, children’s choir, male choir, bell ringers, and orchestra by George Crumb (47) to words from the Dies Irae, the Massacre of the Innocents, and the Bible, is performed for the first time, in New York conducted by Pierre Boulez (52).
Performance icon
July 3, 1977: Messagesquisse for solo cello and six cellos by Pierre Boulez (52) is performed for the first time, in La Rochelle.
Performance icon
February 24, 1979: Lulu, an opera by Alban Berg (†43) to his own words after Wedekin, is performed completely for the first time, at the Paris Opéra, under the baton of Pierre Boulez (53). It was completed by Friedrich Cerha.
Performance icon
April 9, 1979: ...agm... for 16 voices and three instrumental ensembles by Harrison Birtwistle (44) to words of Sappho is performed for the first time, in Paris conducted by Pierre Boulez (54).
Performance icon
June 18, 1980: Pierre Boulez’ (55) orchestration of his piano pieces Notations I-IV is performed for the first time, in Paris. See 12 February 1945.
Performance icon
October 18, 1981: Répons for six percussionists, small orchestra and electronic sound generators by Pierre Boulez (56) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen conducted by the composer. The work is “in progress.” See 6 September 1982.
Performance icon
September 6, 1982: An extended version of Répons for six percussionists, small orchestra and electronic sound generators by Pierre Boulez (57) is performed for the first time, in London. See 18 October 1981 and 22 September 1984.
Performance icon
January 9, 1984: The Perfect Stranger for orchestra by Frank Zappa (43) is performed for the first time, in Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, directed by the commissioner, Pierre Boulez (58).
Performance icon
February 23, 1984: A revised version of Improvisation sur Mallarmé III for soprano and orchestra by Pierre Boulez (58) is performed for the first time in London, directed by the composer. See 10 June 1959.
Performance icon
September 22, 1984: A further extended version of Répons for six percussionists, small orchestra, and electronic sound generators by Pierre Boulez (59) is performed for the first time, in Turin. See 18 October 1981 and 6 September 1982.
Performance icon
January 31, 1985: Dérive I for flute, clarinet, piano, vibraphone, violin, and cello by Pierre Boulez (59) is performed for the first time, in London.
Performance icon
March 31, 1985: Esprit rude l’esprit doux for flute and clarinet by Elliott Carter (76) and dedicated to Pierre Boulez (60), is performed for the first time, in the Weinbrenner-Saal, Baden-Baden. On the same program is the premiere of A Pierre. Dell’azzurro silenzio, inquietum for contrabass flute, contrabass clarinet and electronic sound generators by Luigi Nono (61), and Fusées for orchestra by Wolfgang Rihm (33).
Performance icon
July 26, 1985: Penthode for five instrumental quartets by Elliott Carter (76) is performed for the first time, in Royal Albert Hall, London conducted by Pierre Boulez (60).
Performance icon
October 28, 1985: Dialogue de l’ombre double for clarinet and electronic sound generators by Pierre Boulez (60) is performed for the first time, in Florence. See 3 November 1995.
Performance icon
November 29, 1985: Mémoriale for flute and eight instruments by Pierre Boulez (60) is performed for the first time, in Paris directed by the composer.
Performance icon
September 2, 1986: A version of “...explosante-fixe...” for vibraphone and electronic sound generators by Pierre Boulez (61) is performed for the first time, in Basel.
Performance icon
September 22, 1986: A revised version of cummings ist der Dichter for 16 solo voices, chorus, and chamber orchestra by Pierre Boulez (61) is performed for the first time, in Strasbourg, conducted by the composer. See 19 September 1970.
Performance icon
January 26, 1987: Petites Esquisses d’oiseaux for piano by Olivier Messiaen (78) is performed for the first time, in Théâtre de la Ville, Paris. Also premiered is Jalons for chamber ensemble by Iannis Xenakis (64), conducted by Pierre Boulez (61).
Performance icon
June 4, 1987: Initiale for brass by Pierre Boulez (62) is performed for the first time, in Houston the composer conducting. See 20 November 1992.
Performance icon
January 25, 1988: A revised version of Le visage nuptial for soprano, alto, female chorus, and orchestra by Pierre Boulez (62) to words of Char is performed, incompletely, for the first time, in London conducted by the composer. See 16 November 1989.
Performance icon
November 3, 1988: Concerto II “Echoing Curves” for piano and two instrumental groups by Luciano Berio (63) is performed for the first time, in Paris, conducted by Pierre Boulez (63).
Performance icon
November 26, 1988: Un Vitrail et des oiseaux for piano, woodwinds, trumpet, and percussion by Olivier Messiaen (79) is performed for the first time, in Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris conducted by Pierre Boulez (63). It is part of a concert to celebrate the composer’s 80th birthday.
Performance icon
January 17, 1989: A revised version of Livre pour cordes by Pierre Boulez (63) is performed for the first time, in London the composer conducting. See 1 December 1968.
Event icon
September 15, 1989: Pierre Boulez (64) is named as one of the winners of the new Praemium Imperiale, given by the Japanese Art Association, in New York.
Performance icon
November 16, 1989: A revised version of Le visage nuptial for soprano, alto, female chorus, and orchestra by Pierre Boulez (64) to words of Char is performed completely for the first time, in Metz conducted by the composer. See 25 January 1988.
Performance icon
November 17, 1989: La Ville d’en-haut for piano and chamber orchestra by Olivier Messiaen (80) is performed for the first time, in Salle Pleyel, Paris conducted by Pierre Boulez (64).
Performance icon
April 18, 1990: A revised version of Don for soprano and orchestra by Pierre Boulez (65) to words of Mallarmé is performed for the first time, in Helsinki. See 13 June 1960 and 5 July 1962.
Performance icon
June 21, 1990: Dérive II for eleven instruments by Pierre Boulez (65) is performed for the first time, in Milan, conducted by the composer. See 7 February 1993 and 1 December 2001.
Performance icon
October 16, 1990: A revised version of Calmo for mezzo-soprano and 22 players by Luciano Berio (64) to words of various authors is performed for the first time, in Paris, conducted by Pierre Boulez (65). See 25 March 1974.
Performance icon
November 18, 1991: Several new works are performed for the first time, in the Konzerthaus, Vienna to celebrate the 90th birthday of Alfred Schlee, director of Universal Edition: Pièce pour piano et quatuor à cordes by Olivier Messiaen (82), Anthèmes I for violin by Pierre Boulez (66), the second movement of the Sonata for viola by Györgi Ligeti (68), Psalom for string quartet by Arvo Pärt (56), Zwischen den Zeilen for string quartet by Wolfgang Rihm (39) and Freize I for string quartet by Harrison Birtwistle (57). See 19 October 1997, 28 March 1993, 23 April 1994, and 28 April 1996.
Performance icon
December 12, 1991: Chicago Skyline for brass and percussion by Shulamit Ran (42) is performed for the first time, in Chicago conducted by Pierre Boulez (66).
Performance icon
November 20, 1992: An extended version of Initiale for brass by Pierre Boulez (67) is performed for the first time, in Chicago, conducted by the composer.
Performance icon
February 7, 1993: A revised version of Dérive for eleven instruments by Pierre Boulez (67) is performed for the first time, in London. See 21 June 1990 and 1 December 2001.
Performance icon
May 5, 1993: Antiphonies for solo piano and orchestra by Harrison Birtwistle (58) is performed for the first time, in Paris conducted by Pierre Boulez (68).
Performance icon
June 9, 1993: The definitive version of the Concerto for violin and orchestra by Györgi Ligeti (70) is performed for the first time, in Lyon conducted by Pierre Boulez (68). See 3 November 1990 and 8 October 1992.
Performance icon
September 13, 1993: A version of “...explosante-fixe...” for MIDI flute, orchestra, and electronic sound generators by Pierre Boulez (68) is performed for the first time, in Turin.
Performance icon
November 11, 1993: Originel for orchestra by Pierre Boulez (68) is performed for the first time, in New York, the composer conducting.
Performance icon
October 21, 1994: Incises for piano by Pierre Boulez (69) is performed for the first time, in Milan.
Performance icon
March 30, 1995: Esprit rude/Esprit doux II for flute, clarinet, and marimba by Elliott Carter (86) is performed for the first time, in Grainger Ballroom of Orchestra Hall, Chicago. It was composed to honor Pierre Boulez (70) on his 70th birthday.
Performance icon
November 3, 1995: Dialogue de l’ombre double by Pierre Boulez (70), in the version for bassoon and electronic sound generators, is performed for the first time, in Paris. See 28 October 1985.
Performance icon
April 27, 1996: Several new works are performed for the first time in the Concert Hall of the Stadt-Casino, Basel: A 6 Letter Letter for english horn by Elliott Carter (87); Sur Incises for solo piano, two pianos, three harps, two vibraphones, and marimba by Pierre Boulez (71); An Eye, open for soprano, two clarinets, viola, cello, and double bass by Harrison Birtwistle (61) to words of Celan (tr. Hamburger); and Kol Od for trumpet and chamber orchestra by Luciano Berio (70). All but the Carter are conducted by Pierre Boulez. See 28 April 1996 and 30 August 1998.
Event icon
May 8, 1996: Pierre Boulez (71) is presented with the Polar Prize in Stockholm.
Performance icon
November 13, 1996: Nucleus for 13 players by Wolfgang Rihm (44) is performed for the first time, in Badenweiler, conducted by Pierre Boulez (71) as part of Pol-Kolchis-Nucleus.
Performance icon
January 10, 1997: Clarinet Concerto by Elliott Carter (88) is performed for the first time, in Le Châtelet, Paris, conducted by Pierre Boulez (71).
Performance icon
October 19, 1997: Anthemes II for violin and electronic sound generators by Pierre Boulez (72) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen.
Performance icon
August 30, 1998: An extended version of Sur Incises for piano solo, two pianos, three harps, vibraphone, and marimba by Pierre Boulez (73) is performed for the first time, in Edinburgh. See 27 April 1996.
Performance icon
January 14, 1999: The orchestration of Pierre Boulez’ (73) Notations VII is performed for the first time, in Chicago.
Performance icon
March 26, 2000: Several works are performed for the first time, in South Bank Center, London, in honor of the 75th birthday of Pierre Boulez: Retrouvailles for piano by Elliott Carter (91), Hommage à Pierre Boulez for piano by György Kurtág (74), Ostinato with Melody for piano by Harrison Birtwistle (65), Vers for piano by Jonathan Harvey (60), Piano Jubilees for piano by Magnus Lindberg (41), and Piano Etude no.6 by Unsuk Chin (38).
Event icon
November 28, 2000: The University of Louisville awards the Grawemeyer Award of $200,000 to Pierre Boulez (75) for Sur Incises .
Event icon
November 2, 2001: Pierre Boulez (76) is awakened in his Basel hotel room by police who accuse him of being a terrorist and confiscate his passport. Police return his passport two hours later with profuse apologies.
Performance icon
December 1, 2001: A revised version of Dérive called Dérive 2 for eleven instruments by Pierre Boulez (76) is performed for the first time, in Amsterdam, conducted by the composer. See 21 June 1990 and 7 February 1993.
Performance icon
September 14, 2002: A completed version of Dérive 2 for chamber ensemble by Pierre Boulez (77) is performed for the first time, in Lucerne.
Performance icon
February 15, 2005: Réflexions for chamber ensemble by Elliott Carter (96) is performed for the first time, at Cité de la Musique, Paris, conducted by the dedicatee, Pierre Boulez (79).
Performance icon
August 20, 2006: …miramondo multiplo… for trumpet and orchestra by Olga Neuwirth (38) is performed for the first time, in the Großes Festspielhaus, Salzburg, directed by Pierre Boulez (81).
Event icon
September 4, 2015: The Lucerne Festival Academy announces that Wolfgang Rihm (63) will replace Pierre Boulez (90) as its artistic director.
Death icon
January 5, 2016: Pierre Boulez dies at his home in Baden-Baden, Federal Republic of Germany, aged 90 years, nine months, and ten days.
Event icon
January 13, 2016: After a private funeral service in the Stiftkirche, the mortal remains of Pierre Boulez are laid to rest in the Hauptfriedhof of Baden-Baden.
Event icon
January 14, 2016: A service in memory of Pierre Boulez takes place in the Church of Saint-Sulpice, Paris.