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Ces belles années… (Betsy Jolas) London 2023 Simon Rattle, Faustine de Monès

Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: Barbican, mezzo  
  • Date Published: 2023  
  • Format: Streaming
  • Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
  • Subtitles: nosubs  
  • This Recording is NOT AVAILABLE from a proper commercial or public source

* Betsy Jolas: Ces belles années… (world premiere)

* Olivier Messiaen: Turangalîla-Symphoni

Peter Donohoe (Piano)
Faustine de Monès (Soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle

Elizabeth Jolas (born 5 August 1926) is a Franco-American composer.

Jolas was born in Paris in 1926. Her mother, the American translator Maria McDonald, was a singer. Her father, the poet and journalist Eugene Jolas, founded and edited the magazine transition, which published over ten years most of the great names of the interwar period.

Her family settled in the United States in late 1940. While completing her general studies in New York, then specializing in music at Bennington College, she joined the Dessoff Choirs, thus discovering notably Renaissance music which was to have a lasting influence on her work.

Having returned to Paris in 1946, Jolas resumed her studies at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique, notably with Darius Milhaud and Olivier Messiaen. From 1971 to 1974 she served as Messiaen’s assistant at the Conservatoire and was appointed herself to the faculty in 1975. She has since then also taught in the United States, at Yale, Harvard, Mills College (D. Milhaud chair), the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego, at Tanglewood and the University of Michigan.

Jolas is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1983) and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1995).

After graduating from Bennington College, Jolas returned to Paris in 1946 to continue her studies with Milhaud and Messiaen at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique of Paris.

Her numerous works (she has been composing steadily since 1945) are written for a great variety of combinations and have been widely performed internationally by artists such as Kent Nagano, Anssi Karttunen, Claude Delangle, William Christie, Håkan Hardenberger, Antoine Tamestit, Nicolas Hodges and Sir Simon Rattle, and leading ensembles and orchestras including: the Ensemble intercontemporain, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Among Jolas’s notable students is the composer Robert Carl.


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Find sources: “Betsy Jolas” – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (July 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Through her family background, Jolas was confronted at an early age with words and the singing voice and this may have protected her from some musical excesses of the post-war music world. An early follower of Pierre Boulez’s Domaine musical in the 1960s, she was always more a “fellow-traveler” than an unconditional disciple. Her music clearly sounds contemporary, if only for being consistently atonal. Yet, unlike most composers of her generation, Jolas never encouraged a break with the past and her keen knowledge of tradition is often felt to inform her creative drive. She has indeed openly admitted many times her ambition to write expressive and beautiful music when such considerations were deemed outdated.
Quoted from Wikipedia

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