Jean-Louis Agobet Composes for the San Antonio Symphony

October 29, 2014 | By FRENCH CULTURE HOUSTON

The French composer Jean-Louis Agobet studied at the Conservatoire de Lyon. He is now professor of music composition at the Conservatory of Bordeaux, a position he accepted after serving as professor of composition at the Conservatory of Caen from 2008 to 2011. In 1999 a first CD of chamber music and ensemble pieces was released with the group Itinéraire under the direction of Mark Foster for the Label MFA-Radio France/Harmonia Mundi (awarded the Choc prize from Le Monde de la Musique). In 2005, the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra directed by François-Xavier Roth dedicated a CD of orchestral works to him, released by Timpani, which won him a prize from the Charles Cros Academy. The following year this CD was voted Classical Recording of the Year in the 2006 Victoires de la Musique Classique.

He was commissioned to write an orchestral piece for the San Antonio Symphony. His composition "Oculus" part of the American Prelude, premiered on November 7th at the Tobin Center for Performing Arts in San Antonio.

What led you to become a composer?

This is a tough question! Let's say that when I started studying music, I was a little bored as an interpreter. I was passionate about architecture; the architect builds, creates and puts into shape. I wanted to find this in music and of course, the composer is the architect of sounds. I therefore became interested in composition and wanted to pursue it as a career. Since then, I feel that nothing has changed, I still find as much joy in inventing music. I also have the chance to teach composition at the "conversatoire de Bordeaux" which is one of the leading institutions in this field. I have the joy of transmitting this passion to my students.

How did you get in contact with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra?

I met Sebastian Lang-Lessing ten years ago for the creation of a piece for cello and orchestra in Strasbourg with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Strasbourg where I was in residency. I kept a great memory of this collaboration and he must of as well because he contacted me to ask if I would be interested to participate in the "American Prelude" project.

Who is your favorite French composer?

All of them! I am exagerating but it is impossible for me to choose between Berlioz, Debussy, Ravel, Boulez... A very diverse selection but all of them have a peculiarity that I cannot describe, something we call "musique française": a strong taste for timbre and texture.

What is next for you?

In the following months, I will dedicate myself to the composition of a Cantate for soloists, choir and orchestra commissioned for the National Orchestra of Lorraine, in Metz (France) where I am in residency as a composer. The piece will be performed at the end of the month of May at the Metz Arsenal, one of the most beautiful concert halls of Europe. Before then, I wil be teaching in Bordeaux where I live. There will also be the premiere of a new piece for cello in December in Paris entitled "Spirit of Prelude".

For more information please visit the San Antonio Symphony and Jean-Louis Agobet.

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