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Anthony GIRARD

Over the past twenty years, Éditions Billaudot has published some 130 compositions by Anthony Girard. There still remains a considerable number of unpublished works, most notably pieces for choir and orchestra, chamber music and vocal music.

A few landmarks in the composer’s life:

  • 1982-1985 (Onze pièces brèves - Gioco - La Nuit) : studies at the Paris Conservatoire. The official credo - “Atonality is the only way !” - does affect the composer, against his will. His own musical language makes ample use of chromaticism, sometimes bordering on the systematic, yet it is always striving to be expressive. The most significant passages are suffused with a dreamlike vision. Instrumental idiosyncrasies (oboe, violin, trumpet...) are stretched to the utmost, but always at the service of passionate lyricism.
  • 1986 (Le Valet de Cœur) : graduation year. Freedom at last. Anthony Girard composes an opera bouffe, breaks from chromaticism and explores new
  • avenues (asymmetrical ostinatos, non-octavating modal sets etc.) He also plays on the combination of irony and emotion, while retaining his inclination for dreamlike lyricism.
  • 1987-1988 (Expérience de la lumière, Chant d’amour à l’éternité, Ecouter le silence) : residence at Casa de Velasquez (Madrid), later in Majorca. A decisive step in the composer’s stylistic evolution. Inspired by nature and literature (Segalen, Eliade, Borges ...), he works his way towards a more tonal language, in resonance with light, space, silence ...
  • From 1989 onward, reference dates are less important. The composer draws his main inspiration from poetry and a kind of mysticism that does not refer to any established religion. A wide array of authors leads him to a new
  • perception of time and space. Although of a rather contemplative essence, his music is nonetheless full of life and passion. Among his most significant instrumental pieces of ‘sacred’ inspiration : Magnificat, Prélude à la Vie
  • éternelle and Comme une étoile du matin. The texts he chooses to set to music are rarely canonic but rather at the border between the religious and the poetic (Tagore : Printemps des rivières or Ebou Hamid - a 16th c. Anatolian dervish - : Éloge de la Folie, or Ignacio de Loyola : Alcanzar.)

His style cannot be restricted to this search for clarity and peace. Although it heralds a world freed from violence, this spiritualism is the result of hard work which shows in the stoical struggle that takes place in the first of Deux pièces d’après Marc-Aurèle; in the obsessive-compulsive ghost-ridden dizziness in Deux Mouvements, in the sudden passionate outbursts throughout Sonate “pour saluer le Millénaire”, in the short, desperate dashing of L’effroi de la nuit froide or in Les âmes perdues, an orchestral piece based on a poem by Jean-Paul Hameury, calling us to cultivate despair.

What is life - what would a composer’s catalogue be - but a sum of chance encounters ? Would La voix lointaine d’Eurydice have ever existed without oboist Jean-Pierre Arnaud, a fellow-student from bygone Conservatoire days ? And it was guitarist Alain Rizoul who (re)kindled Girard’s interest for the instrument : Transparences, Pluie fragile ... are dedicated to the subtle expressivity of the inner world of the guitar. Ivan Milhet prompted him to compose two collections of etudes and a sonata for the euphonium - the instrument is an absolute must ! Conductor Bernard Calmel, who commissioned Comme une étoile du matin, is a keen champion of Girard’s orchestral compositions, having performed many of them in public (A ciel ouvert, Magnificat, Vingt-quatre Préludes, Pour la Paix, both Double-concertos, among others). Last but not least, pianist Geneviève Girard, Anthony’s wife and muse, who has premiered many of his works : Écouter le Silence, Des doigts d’ivoire, Vers la Simplicité...

Anthony Girard has written extensively for young players (piano, violin, clarinet, tuba, guitar ...), setting himself as a goal to reconcile the pedagogical and the poetic sides of music. His compositions therefore appeal not so much to the player’s technical ability as to his/her poetical imagination : Aimer la cime des arbres, Ecoute l’arbre et la feuille, Les perles du temps, Imagine le vent...

People sometimes ask me about my favourite compositions. Were I to make a selection (limiting myself to my published works), it might look like this :

Les âmes perdues
Vingt-quatre Préludes
Comme une étoile du matin
Double concerto for cello, piano and chamber orchestra
La voix lointaine d’Eurydice
Le Valet de cœur
Deux Mouvements for string trio
Écouter le Silence

Anthony Girard,January 2004


> News

- Jury price for the pedagogical publications.

- CD release: Behind the light sonata for violin and piano, and Deux pièces d’après Marc Aurèle, by Isabelle Flory (violin), Fabrice Bihan (cello) and Geneviève Girard (piano), for the label Naxos 9.70221.

- DVD release: Le cercle de la vie, 24 preludes for piano, by Geneviève Girard, for the label C.E.A Musika.


> Premieres

VERS DE LARGES HORIZONS, for clarinet and piano
Finalists of Vélizy Contest
Vélizy – France

> News

- Guest composer of the musical interpretation Velizy Contest 2016, dedicated to the clarinet.

- Book record release: Les âmes perdues for large orchestra, by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, under the direction of Kyrill Karabits, for the label Folle Avoine.

- Composer in residence at the CRR of Marseille : 2016-2017.

- CD release: Éloge à la folie for saxophone and piano, by Anna Marie Wytko (saxophone) and Amanda Arrington (piano), for the label TGD Recordings.


> News

- CD release: La nuit for trumpet and strings, by Guy Touvron (trumpet) and the Chamber Orchestra of Taïwan, for the label Ligia Digital - LIDI0105316.


> News

- CD release: Printemps des rivières for 4 flutes, by the Ensemble Tetrachord, for the label GENUIN - GEN 18611.

See all works composed by Anthony GIRARD

Works composed by Anthony GIRARD

See all works composed by Anthony GIRARD

Books written by Anthony GIRARD

See all books written by Anthony GIRARD



> 2015 / C.E.A Musika - Le cercle de la Vie (DVD)
LE CERCLE DE LA VIE, 24 preludes for piano
Geneviève Girard (piano)

CD Naxos 8.572993
L’éloge de la nuit, for clarinet and piano
Les Noces d’Orphée, for clarinet, cello and piano
L’effroi de la nuit froide, for clarinet
Le cercle de la vie, 24 preludes for piano
Clarinet: Jean-Marc Fessard
Cello: Fabrice Bihan
Piano: Geneviève Girard


CD Pavane ADW 7384
24 PRELUDES, for orchestra
Orchestre Bernard Calmel
Dir: Bernard Calmel
POUR LA PAIX, for violin, oboe and string orchestra
Violin: Hubert Chachereau
Oboe: Daniel Arrignon
Orchestre Bernard Calmel
Dir: Bernard Calmel
DOUBLE CONCERTO, for piano, cello and orchestra
Piano: Geneviève Girard
Cello: Philippe Pennanguer
Orchestre Bernard Calmel
Dir: Bernard Calmel


CD Pavane ADW 7443
MAGNIFICAT, for oboe and strings
Oboe: Jean-Michel Penot
Orchestre Bernard Calmel
Dir: Bernard Calmel
COMME UNE ETOILE DU MATIN, for string orchestra
Orchestre Bernard Calmel
Dir: Bernard Calmel
CHANT D’AMOUR A L’ETERNITE, for voice, violin, cello, flute, clarinet and piano
Soprano: Elena Liberova
Orchestre Bernard Calmel
Dir: Bernard Calmel


> 2019 / Azur Classical AZC 148 - Anthony Girard: Works for violin
LES QUATRE SAISONS quatre caprices, for violin
LUCKY WAYS quatre études, for violin
Jean-Luc Richardoz (violin)

> 2018 / GENUIN GEN 18611 - When Breath Becomes Sound
Ensemble Tetrachord

> 2017 / Ligia Digital LIDI0105316 - Itinérances musicales
LA NUIT, for trumpet and strings
Orchestre de chambre de Taïwan
Guy Touvron (trumpet)

> 2016 / TGD Recordings
ÉLOGE A LA FOLIE, for saxophone and piano
Anna Marie Wytko (saxophone)
Amanda Arrington (piano)

> 2016 / Folle Avoine - Chemins couleur du temps (Book record)
LES AMES PERDUES, for grand orchestra
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Kyrill Karabits (conductor)

CD Naxos 9.70221
BEHIND THE LIGHT, sonata for violin and piano
DEUX PIECES D’APRES MARC AURELE, for cello and piano

Violin: Isabelle Flory
Cello: Fabrice Bihan
Piano: Geneviève Girard