This edition focuses on Bernard Parmegiani (1927-2013), a French composer and performer best known for his electro-acoustic music of which he is one of the pioneers.
“Despite everything, I’m afraid of speaking and so I prefer to leave it to the music” (Bernard Parmegiani 2002).
In his long career he has always been searching for new sound material and new and original production techniques to highlight the multiple aspects of the nature of sound. He also wrote “applied” works for radio, television, cinema, ballet, advertising and the stage.
Between 1957 and 1961 he studied mime with Jacques Lecoq, a period he later regarded as important to his work as a composer. He joined the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) in 1959 for a two-year master class, shortly after its founding by Pierre Schaeffer. He was first a sound engineer and was later put in charge of the Music/Image unit for French television (ORTF). There he worked in the studio with several notable composers like Iannis Xenakis.
While at ORTF Parmegiani produced music for numerous film directors including Jacques Baratier and Peter Kassovitz, and for A, a 1965 short film animated by Jan Lenica. He also wrote a number of jingles for the French media and the “Indicatif Roissy” that preceded every PA announcement at Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris until 2005 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA14TbBO-Mo).
Parmegiani composed his first major work, Violostries (at 04’28” in this edition of Electronic Frequencies), for violin and tape in 1964 for a choreography performed for Théâtre Contemporain d’Amiens directed by Jacques-Albert Cartier.
In 1992 Parmegiani left the GRM and set up his own studio in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. In April 2010 he sat on the jury at the sixth Qwartz Electronic Music Awards, a promotional project and support group for electronic music artists.
Parmegiani has been cited as a major influence by younger experimentalists like Aphex Twin, Autechre and Sonic Youth.