Tributes from across the music world have been pouring in after it was confirmed that one of the 20th century’s most innovative and influential figures in music, Pierre Boulez, has passed away aged 90.
The French born composer had been ill for some time and passed away at his residence in Baden-Baden, Germany, yesterday.
Long-term friend and colleague Daniel Barenboim paid tribute to the late musician:
Today, the music world has lost one of its most significant composers and conductors. Personally, I have a lost a great colleague, a deeply admired creative mind and a close friend. Pierre Boulez and I first met in Berlin in 1964 and there have been few fellow musicians with whom I have developed such a close and important relationship in the 52 years that followed – even though we always stuck to the formal ‘vous’ when speaking to each other, a rarity in our rather informal world, but from my side, certainly, an expression of my deepest respect and admiration.
The French prime minister Manuel Valls joined the stream of tributes, tweeting that his music was bold, innovative and creative, and an example as to what he was to the world of French music.
Audace, innovation, créativité, voilà ce que fut Pierre Boulez pour la musique française, qu'il a fait rayonner partout dans le monde. MV
— Manuel Valls (@manuelvalls) January 6, 2016
François Hollande, the French President, echoed the sentiment, saying in a statement that Boulez’ music allowed French music to “shine throughout the world”.
Boulez’ career as a conductor saw him lead some of the most prolific orchestras in the world, succeeding Leonard Bernstein as conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1971. He also worked with the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
His own compositions were regarded as revolutionary among post-World War II composers, and a figurehead in the development of serialist and aleatoric music. His interpretations of the work of Schoenberg, Stravinsky and Bartok earned him global recognition and celebration.
A statement released by Boulez’ family said: “For all those who knew him and who could appreciate his creative energy, artistic standards, availability and generosity, his presence will remain vivid and intense.”