Born in 1958 in Bayonne (France), Bertrand Dubedout was schooled in his birthplace where he also began studying music. He went on to advanced musical training at the University of Pau, with Guy Maneveau and Marie-Françoise Lacaze, then at the Paris Conservatoire in the classes of Pierre Schaeffer and Guy Reibel (Electro-acoustic Composition and Musical Research), winning the Composition Prize in 1981. He also studied at the Centre d’Études Polyphoniques de Paris and the University of Paris. He is currently a tenured professor of electro-acoustic composition at the Toulouse Regional Conservatory. Founder of the Ensemble Pythagore in 1988, he is also co-artistic director of the éOle collective and the Novelum festival.
Since 1981 he has received commissions from the state and institutions such as the GRM (Musical Research Group), Radio-France, CIRM, GMEM, GRAME, et al. In France, he has been guest composer of festivals such as Présences (Radio-France, Paris), Aujourd’hui Musiques (Perpignan), Agora (IRCAM, Paris), Solistes aux Serres d’Auteuil (Paris) and Déodat de Séverac (Toulouse), the 38èmes Rugissants (Grenoble), MANCA (Nice), Les Musiques (Marseilles) and Musiques en Scènes (Lyons), and abroad, Realm (Helsinki), Roma Europa (Rome), Musica Viva (Lisbon), CCMC (Tokyo), L’Espace du Son (Brussels) and International Modern Music Festival (Kobe, Japan).
His works have been performed by ensembles such as the Diastéma Quartet, the Pulsaxion duo, Ensemble Cercles (Switzerland), Ensemble Icarus (Italy), Sond’Ar-te Electric Ensemble (Portugal), Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, 2e2m and Ensemble Orchestral Perpignan Languedoc-Roussillon, and by soloists including Claude Delangle, Jean Geoffroy, Donatienne Michel-Dansac, Sonia Turchetta, Marie Kobayashi, and Finghin Collins.
SACEM awarded him the Claude Arrieu Prize in 1997. Two years later, he was named composer-in-residence at the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto, Japan (Villa Kujoyama Programme, AFAA [French Association for Artistic Action] / Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
”Bertrand Dubedout’s sound universe lies within ultra-chromatic divisions, quarter-tones to be more exact. Iniji (1982)n his opus 1 for voice and harpsichord, possesses a non-tempered charm which already gives a sense of subsequent research into the microtonal domain. Early on, Dubedout approaches microtonalism in a structured way, using specific scales which allow for new areas to be integrated into his melodic/harmonic textures. The richness of his well-defined acoustic sphere, bound to a highly personal ethic of sound, confers on his music an original light. Dubedout in fascinated by the Asiatic world, especially Japan, which has stimulated his creative imagination for several years. Starting in 1988, Les nombres for seven instrumentalists inaugurates fresh areas of sound in which the echo of the japanese mouth organ sho, at once near and distant, seems to be heard surrounding the shakuhachi flute and the hichiriki found in the Japanese court music of Gagaku. The taut sonorities and sliding gestures of these traditional instruments fit like a personal timbre into his soundscape. Without directly borrowing from Japanese instruments (with the notable exception of the mokugyo - a cross between woodblock and wooden drum), Dubedout possesses his own “instrumental laboratory” where, like a practiced alchemist, he can lavishly experiment. In Bood Six of Fractions du Silence, for percussion, he probes deeper into ancient Japanese court music’s rhythmic richness and principle of development to realize, on his own terms, “the palimpsest of a Gagaku in Western notation.”
At the beginning of cach work, a referential color comes to the fore, flasching like a beam of light around which everything will be played out, like a primordial surge, a scene of movement and fluctuation which can swell without limit. Thus generated, the process joins up with a mysterious itinerary, and the result obtained can sound resolutely personal. Working with a highly refined feel for polyphony, Dubedout explores vibratory space and sensitizes the ear to the most subtle of intervals, above all when he chooses the homogeneous sounds of four saxophones : a true acoustic experience. The First Book of Fractions du Silence (1994), perhaps the most radical example, beckons us to listen in on the inner reaches of sound, into the live burgeoning of resonance.
With a subterranean energy pushing his works onward and propelling sound towards ever more luminous regions without renouncing the point of anchorage, Dubedout’s music acquires incantatory force. Through reiterated impulses (one thinks of Varèse), obsessive reworkings and an intense process which often solidifies material until it explodes, Dubedout likes to keep the listener’s ear under tension, until an emotional discharge grabs hold with a power -if not violence- transmitted by sudden explosions of sound.
Passionate exploration into sound (which he also pursues in his electronic studio work) give rise to feelings of prolongation, of crossing through space. In Épisodes transparents for 32 voices and tape (1987), sound glides across space and time, freeing us from the sense of duration. Created as sequences, episodes and successive movements, Dubedout’s body of word seems dedicated to a sense of endless continuity. Yet it also embraces the importance of marking out the limits of this adventurous course, by according singular importance to the journey’s final stage as a sound plane distanced from the rest, like the negative exposure of an image which has just been projected. The process becomes then inverted : decantation, disembodiment in order to space out events, fritter away resonance and leave the last word to silence : rustlings wings disrupting the veiled skies, collapse into the abyss, the beating of mokugyos marking rhythm in a suddenly deserted space...
And then there are sounds which send us back to the original poetical source which always lies at the edge of musical desire : words, and their emotional impulses. For Dubedout, literature is the spark which constantly feeds his spirituel search. Since 1992, as part of a large-scale project involving the works of the poet André du Bouchet, Bertrand Dubedout has been approaching all kinds of musical groupings, including from the electro-acoustic medium. These offerings are organized under the generic title Fraction du silence. Each score -or, as he prefers, “Book”-of this multi-volume work carries a quotation as an epigraph, perhaps in the poetic vein of Ariadne’s clew, linking together different pages of the upcoming musical whole. The Eighth Book, recently completed, enlists a solo voice to “illuminate” the kind of poetic care he has shown all along : sonorous jubilation of verbs amid an instrumental galaxy ; a goldsmith’s meticulousness in the notation of prosodic rhythm : use of alternatively open and closed spaces, according to a text rendered in song, speech or Sprechstimme. Here is the loving intertwining of words and sounds, which keeps phrases breathing and blooming with emotion.”
- CD release: Zazpiak B for marimba solo, by Jean Geoffroy, and Zazpiak Z for instrumental ensemble, by the ensemble Court-circuit, under the direction of Jean Deroyer, for the label éOle Records.
Bertrand Dubedout’s works
Composer catalogue of Bertrand Dubedout[ pdf - 242 Kb ]
ÇA VA COMMENCER ÇA COMMENCE, for mezzo-soprano and soprano saxophone
Mezzo-soprano: Marie Kobayashi
Saxophone: Claude Delangle
BIS Records AB / BIS-CD-1630
ENDLESS ELEVEN, for percussion and electronics
Percussion: Jean Geoffroy
Vieo production - set design: Christophe Bergon
Promotional DVD produced by the Grame
ENTRE LES BRAISES ROUGES, for flute, viola and harp
Flute: Michel Brun
Viola: Louis Merlet
Harp: Sophie Martin
L’empreinte digitale / ED 13019
FRACTIONS DU SILENCE - 1er LIVRE, for four saxophones
L’empreinte digitale / ED 13070
FRACTIONS DU SILENCE - 2e LIVRE, for flute, oboe and cello
FRACTIONS DU SILENCE - 3e LIVRE, for violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone and piano
Violin: Claire Zarembowitch
Clarinet: Jean-Jacques Godron
Saxophone: Philippe Lecoq
Piano: François-Michel Rignol
éOle Records / éOr_002
FRACTIONS DU SILENCE - 5e LIVRE, for flute and piano
Flûte: Annie Ploquin-Rignol
Piano: François-Michel Rignol
FRACTIONS DU SILENCE – 6e LIVRE, for percussion
Percussions: Jean Geoffroy
Skarbo / DSK 1063
LES NOMBRES, for 7 instruments
L’empreinte digitale / ED 13070
ZAZPIAK B, for marimba solo
Jean Geoffroy (marimba)
ZAZPIAK Z, for instrumental ensemble
Jean Deroyer (conductor)
éOle Records / éOr_011 - de front (2016)
2017/10/09: ZAZPIAK N
Piano solo et ensemble
World premiere by:
Nouvel Ensemble Moderne de Montréal Soliste : Jacques Drouin dir : Lorraine Vaillancourt.
Odyssud Grand Salle - Blagnac, France
23 avril 2017: ZAZPIAK Z
Aventa ensemble dir : Bill Linwood
Victoria BC, Canada
21 mai 2017: ZAZPIAK B
Taiwan International Percussion Festival - Taiwan, Taiwan
9 juin 2017: ZAZPIAK B
Katarzyna Muscka Festival - Arcata, U.S.A
13 octobre 2017: ZAZPIAK B
Auditorium Saint Pierre des Cuisines - Toulouse, France