Guillaume Connesson

Guillaume Connesson


• Born 1970


Guillaume Connesson has emerged as one of the more promising voices of the younger generation of French composers. He has won a number of prizes for his compositions, including the Nadia and Lili Boulanger Prize in 1999. His style has been described as highly individual in its generally accessible language, having hints of Ravel, Messiaen, Stravinsky, and others. Among his most successful works are Supernova for orchestra and Techno-Parade for flute, clarinet and piano.

Connesson was born in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt in 1970. He took piano lessons in his youth and became quite accomplished on the instrument early on. Later he enrolled at the CNR (Conservatoire National de Région) in Boulogne-Billancourt, where he studied piano and choral music. More advanced study came at the CNSM (Conservatoire national supérieur de musique) in Paris, where he studied composition and orchestration. Among his most important teachers have been composer Marcel Landowski, conductor/pedagogue Dominique Rouits and composer/conductor Alain Louvier.

Among Connesson's earliest successes was his orchestral work Fêtes du solstice, premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in 1992. He continued to draw attention for the compositions that followed, including the orchestral piece Night-Club, written in 1996. By this time he was attracting many impressive commissions, which he met with his usual facility and highly individual imagination. His 1997 orchestral piece Supernova, written on a commission from the Montpellier Philharmonic Orchestra, which premiered the work, won the Cardin Prize of the Institute of France in 1998.

Subsequent compositions also quickly gained attention. Among them are his choral work Liturgies of the Shade (2000) and Night Scenes (2001), for orchestra. Among his first recordings has been the 2005 BMG release entitled Techno-Parade, which contained the titled work as well as other instrumental pieces, including Disco-Toccata (1994) and Jurassic Trip (1998).

While Connesson has achieved success in his native France, he has been making considerable headway abroad, as well: his 2005 orchestral work Une Lueur dans l'age sombre (A Glimmer in the Age of Darkness) was commissioned by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and premiered by that ensemble in September 2005, under conductor Stéphane Denève, the work's dedicatee. It was given its Canadian premiere in November 2005 by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, also under Denève's direction. Connesson has served as professor of orchestration at the CNR, Aubervilliers, France.