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Thierry Escaich


Composer, organist and improviser Thierry Escaich is a unique figure in contemporary music and one of the most important French composers of his generation. The three elements of Escaich’s artistry are inseparable, allowing him to express himself as a performer, creator and collaborator in a wide range of settings.

Escaich composes in many genres and forms, always exploring new sound horizons. His catalogue numbers over 100 works which, with their lyrical, rich harmonies and rhythmic energy, have attracted a wide audience. Drawing from the French line of composition of Ravel, Messiaen and Dutilleux, and imbued with references from contemporary, folk and spiritual music, the distinctive sound-world of Escaich’s music is anchored by an obsessive rhythmic drive and an overarching sense of architecture.

This very personal style encompasses both intimate works and large-scale pieces, such as Chaconne for orchestra; oratorio Le Dernier Évangile and a double concerto for violin and cello, Miroir d’Ombres. His first opera Claude, on a libretto by Robert Badinter after Victor Hugo’s Claude Gueux, was premiered at the Opéra de Lyon in March 2013 to great acclaim. His most recent new works include a Viola Concerto for Antoine Tamestit commissioned by Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and Organ Concerto No.3 which receives its European premiere by Escaich and Orchestre National de Lyon in November 2017.

Escaich has composed many works for the organ including solo works, three concerti and the symphonic poem La Barque Solaire for organ and orchestra. Escaich’s Organ Concerto No.1 has been performed by orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Orchestre National de Lyon, and was selected as a highlight of the organ concerto repertoire in Gramophone: “His concerto exploits the full sonic and colour ranges of orchestra and organ in this thrilling three-movement work, the second movement rising to an awe-inspiring climax only topped by the shattering coda of the finale.”

His works are performed by leading orchestras in Europe and North America and by musicians such as Lisa Batiashvili and François Leleux, Valery Gergiev, Lothar Zagrosek, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Emmanuelle Bertrand, Paul Meyer, John Mark Ainsley and the Quatuor Voce. Escaich has been Composer-in-Residence with the Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre National de Lille and the Paris Chamber Orchestra and his music has been honoured by four ‘Victoires de la Musique’ awards (2003, 2006, 2011 and 2017). Escaich continues to teach composition and improvisation at the Paris Conservatoire, where he himself studied and obtained eight ‘premiers prix’. In 2013 he received the honour of being appointed to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Thierry Escaich’s career as a composer is closely linked to his career as an organist, which has led him to be one of the ambassadors of the great French school of improvisation, in the wake of Maurice Duruflé, whom he succeeded as organist of Saint Étienne du Mont in Paris. He appears in recitals internationally, combining repertoire pieces with his own compositions and improvisations. His passion for cinema has led him to perform ‘cine-concerts’, improvised accompaniments on both the organ and piano for silent films such as Phantom of the Opera and Metropolis.

Highlights of the 2017/18 season include several performances of Escaich’s music at the Radio France Presences Festival, the world premiere of his Viola Concerto for Antoine Tamestit with Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Stéphane Denève and the European Premiere of Organ Concerto No.3 with Escaich as soloist alongside the Orchestre National de Lyon and Leonard Slatkin in Lyon and at the Paris Philharmonie. He returns to the Paris Philharmonie for a cine-concert improvisation, which he will also perform at the Berliner Philharmonie and Rotterdam’s de Doelen. Elsewhere this season Escaich performs Saint-Saens Symphony No.3 with Orchestre National de France/Emmanuel Krivine and has engagements with La Monnaie Symhpony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Mariinsky and Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille; he performs in recital at Mariinsky Concert Hall and Stockholm Concert Hall among others.

Many of Escaich’s works have been recorded by Accord/Universal. Most recently the disc Baroque Song was released on Sony Classical to critical acclaim. His 2011 release Les Nuits hallucinées crowned his residence with the Orchestre National de Lyon, and received numerous distinctions, including a ’Choc de l’année’ from Classica magazine as an outstanding release of the year.

(2017/18 season / 713 words. Not to be altered without permission).


> Premieres

Orchestre de Paris - Cond.: Paavo Järvi
Philharmonie de Paris - Paris - France

SEXTET, for sextet
Cl.: Jerry Chae
Vla: Hung-Wei Huang
Cello: Sangmin Park
Dbasse : Michinori Bunya
Pno: Tae-Hyung Kim
Perc.: Adrien Perruchon
Alpensia Concert Hall, Great Mountains Music Festival - Alpensia - South Korea

LITANIES POUR UN JUBILE, for grand choir (4 voices), choir (2 voices), brass ensemble, percussions and 2 organs
Choeur and Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg - Voix de Stras’ - Studients of Académie supérieure de musique de Strasbourg (brass ensemble and percussions)
Grand organ: Vincent Dubois
Choir organ: Thierry Escaich
Cond.: Catherine Bolzinger
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg - Strasbourg – France

> News

- CD release: Études baroques for piano, by Béatrice Berrut, for the label Aparté AP 100.

- DVD release: Claude opera for solo voices, choir and orchestra, libretto by Robert Badinter from the novel by Victor Hugo “Claude Gueux”, by the Orchestre, Chœur and Maîtrise de l’Opéra de Lyon, under the direction of Jérémie Rhorer, staging by Olivier Py, for the label BelAir classiques (BAC 118).

- Elected on June 10, 2015 at the Institut de France, Académie des Beaux-Arts, in musical composition section, his academician’s sword was presented to him, at the end of the ceremony, by his sword Committee.

- Music SACD 2015 Prize.


> Premieres

PSALMOS, for orchestra
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - Cond.: Louis Langrée
Cincinnati – USA

From 17/06/16 to 19/06/16
CRIS, oratorio for narrator, choir, accordion, percussions and 8 cellos
Based on the novel by Laurent Gaudé
Les Cris de Paris - Trio KDM - Nomos, ensemble de violoncelles - Narrator: Pierre Val - Cond.: Geoffroy Jourdain
Théâtre de Verdun - Verdun / Ecurey - France

SALVE REGINA, for a cappella choir
Cappella Amsterdam - Cond.: Daniel Reuss
Eglise du Collège Saint-Michel - Fribourg - Suisse

> News

- CD release: Evocation IV, for organ, by Vincent Dubois, for the label Aeolus (AE 11101).


> Premieres

L’AUBE EXALTEE, for string sextet (2 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos)
Quatuor Capuçon - Vla: Marie Chilemme - Cello: Christian Pierre La Marca
Festival de Pâques - Aix-en-Provence - France

QUATRE VISAGES DU TEMPS, 3rd concerto for organ and orchestra
Ensemble Kanazawa - Cond.: Michiyoshi Inoue
Organ: Thierry Escaich
Ishikawa Ongakudo Concert Hall - Kanazawa - Japan

> News

- CD release: Psalmos, for orchestra, by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Louis Langrée, for the label of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

- CD release: Ground VI, for 2 clarinets, by Béatrice Berne and Jean-Marc Fessard, for the label Kairos / Clarinet Classics - CC0071.

- Monographic CD release: Baroque song for orchestra, Erinnerung for string orchestra, Concerto pour clarinette and orchestra, and Suite symphonique de Claude for orchestra, by Paul Meyer (clarinet) and the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon, under the direction of Alexandre Bloch, for the label Sony Classical - 88985430192.

- Victoires de la Musique Classique 2017: Winner Composer.
Cris, for narrator, choir, accordion, percussions and 8 cellos
Oratorio based on the novel by Laurent Gaudé
Les Cris de Paris - Trio KDM - Nomos, ensemble de violoncelles - Narrator: Pierre Val - Cond.: Geoffroy Jourdain
From 17/06/16 to 19/06/16: Théâtre de Verdun - Verdun / Ecurey - France

- CD release: Night’s birds, for cello, by Henri Demarquette, for the label DECCA - 4814968.


> Premieres

LA PISTE DES CHANTS, for children choir and chamber orchestra
Maîtrise de Radio France - Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France
Cond.: Mikko Franck
Festival Présences - Radio France - Paris - France

LA NUIT DES CHANTS, concerto for viola and orchestra
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest - Vla: Antoine Tamestit
Cond.: Stéphane Denève
Concertgebouw - Amsterdam - Netherlands

> News

- Composer of the 28th Présences 2018 Festival of Radio France from February 6 to 11.


> Premieres

VERS L’ESPRIT, for organ
Henri-Franck Beaupérin
Abbaye - Sylvanès - France

RITUAL OPENING, for orchestra
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra - Cond.: Valery Gergiev
Gergiev Festival Rotterdam - Rotterdam - Netherlands

> News

- CD release of Mecanic Song for wind quintet and piano, by Les Vents Français, for the label Warner Classics - 0190295548704.


> Premieres

VERS LES CIMES, for flute solo
Philippe Bernold
Festival des Forêts - Compiègne - France

> News

- Composer in residence at the Orchestre d’Auvergne for the season 2019-2020.

- Composer in residence at Auvers-sur-Oise Festival from May to July 2020.

See all works composed by Thierry ESCAICH



Works composed by Thierry ESCAICH

See all works composed by Thierry ESCAICH

Works in the collections directed by Thierry ESCAICH

See all the works in the collections directed by Thierry ESCAICH



> 2019 / Alkonost Classic ALK005 - Thierry Escaich: Short Stories
LA RONDE, for string quartet and piano
APRES L’AURORE, for string quartet
NUN KOMM..., for solo violin
SCENES DE BAL, for string quartet
SHORT STORIES, for violin and piano
Tchalik Quintet

> 2017 / Sony Classical 88985430192 - Thierry Escaich, Baroque song
BAROQUE SONG, for orchestra
CONCERTO POUR CLARINETTE, for clarinet and orchestra

Paul Meyer (clarinet)
ERINNERUNG, for string orchestra

Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon - Alexandre Bloch (conductor)

> 2015 / BelAir classiques BAC 118 - Claude (DVD)
CLAUDE, opera for soloists voices, choirs and orchestra
Libretto by Robert Badinter from the novel of Victor Hugo ”Claude Gueux”
Orchestre, Choeurs & Maîtrise de l’Opéra de Lyon - Jérémie Rhorer (conductor)
Olivier Py (staging)

Motet I, Motet II and Motet III, for 12 mixed voices and organ
Récit, for organ
Tanz-Fantaisie, for trumpet and organ
Thierry Escaich (organ), Eric Aubier (trumpet), Ensemble Soli-Tutti, Denis Gautheyrie, conducting
Calliope Records CAL 1205

Les Nuits hallucinées
Les Nuits hallucinées (1) – La Barque solaire (2) – Concerto pour violon et orchestre (3)
Nora Gubisch (mezzo-soprano), Thierry Escaich (organ), David Grimal (violin), Orchestre national de Lyon, Jun Märkl (direction : 1 et 2), Christian Arming (direction : 3)
Accord / Universal 476 4369 - 70

Lettres Mêlées
Scènes d’enfants au crépuscule – Lettres mêlées
Emmanuel Pahud (flute), François Leleux (oboe), Paul Meyer (clarinet), Trio Wanderer
Accord / Universal 480 1152 – 2009

Oeuvres orchestrales II
Miroir d’ombres [1] – Vertiges de la Croix [2] – Chaconne [3]
Renaud Capuçon (violin), Gautier Capuçon (cello), Orchestre national de Lille,
Paul Polivnik [1], Michiyoshi Inoue [2], Jean-Claude Casadesus [3] (direction)
Accord / Universal 442 9056 – 2007

Trois Motets – Les Lamentations de Jérémie – Terra desolata – Exultet – Ad ultimas laudes – Dixit Dominus – In memoriam
Ensemble vocal Sequenza 9.3, Catherine Simonpietri (direction)
Accord / Universal 476 9074 – 2006

La Ronde – Jeux de doubles – Nocturne – Chorus
Quatuor Ludwig, Bertrand Chamayou, Claire-Marie Le Guay et Thierry Escaich (piano), Xavier Phillips (cello), Florent Héau (clarinet)
Accord / Universal 476 1282 – 2003

Oeuvres orchestrales I
Fantaisie concertante pour piano et orchestre
Claire-Marie Le Guay (piano), Orchestre philharmonique de Liège, Pascal Rophé (direction)
Accord / Universal 472 2162 – 2002

Le Dernier Evangile
Le Dernier Évangile
Ensemble orchestral de Paris, Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris, Choeur Britten, Olivier Latry (organ), John Nelson (direction)
Hortus 024 – 2002

Escaich joue Escaich (works for voice and organ)
Trois Motets – Tanz-Fantasie
Thierry Escaich (orgue), Ensemble vocal Soli Tutti
Calliope 9937 – 2001

Le Chant des Ténèbres
Le Chant des ténèbres – Antiennes oubliées – Ad ultimas laudes
Claude Delangle (saxophone), Ensemble Erwartung, A Sei Voci...
Chamade 5638 – 1996


> 2020 / Orchestre national d’Auvergne Live - Prélude symphonique
PRELUDE SYMPHONIQUE, for string orchestra
Orchestre national d’Auvergne - Roberto Forés Veses (conductor)

> 2019 / B Records - collection Deauville Live - Les chants de l’âme
DOULEURS MUETTES, for mezzo soprano, cello and piano
Marie-Laure Garnier (mezzo soprano) - Yan Levionnnois (cello) - Philippe Hattat (piano)

> 2019 / Warner Classics 0190295548704 - Moderniste
MECANIC SONG, for wind quintet and piano
Les Vents Français - Eric Le Sage (piano)

> 2018 / Edicions Albert Moraleda - Laura Farré Rozada, The French Reverie
JEUX DE DOUBLE, for piano
Laura Farré Rozada (piano)

> 2017 / DECCA 4814968 - Vocello
NIGHT’S BIRDS, for cello
Henri Demarquette (cello)

> 2016 / Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - Concertos for orchestra
PSALMOS, for orchestra
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - Louis Langrée (conductor)

> 2016 / Aeolus AE 11101 - Hymnes
EVOCATION IV, for organ
Vincent Dubois (organ)

> 2016 / Kairos / Clarinet Classics CC0071 - French Clarinet Exports
GROUND VI, for 2 clarinets
Béatrice Berne and Jean-Marc Fessard (clarinets)

> 2014 / GENUIN GEN 14543 - Bolero : Ellipsos Quartet
LE BAL, for saxophone quartet
TANGO VIRTUOSO, for saxophone quartet

Ellipsos Quartet: Paul-Fathi Lacombe (soprano saxophone), Julien Bréchet (alto saxophone), Sylvain Jarry (tenor saxophone), Nicolas Herrouët (baritone saxophone)

Denis Comtet (choir organ), Le Madrigal de Paris, Pierre Calmelet (direction)
” TU ES PETRUS ” / Studio SM 62 – 2004

Le Bal
Saxophone quartet Jean-Yves Fourmeau
” LEBAL ” / Airophonic 5411499 80062 – 2005

Choral’s Dream
Thierry Escaich (organ)
” CONFLUENCE ” / Accord - Universal 476 0967 – 2003

Dixit Dominus
Choeur Arsys Bourgogne, dir. Pierre Cao – Schola Gregoriana Pragensis, dir. David Eben
” VÊPRES POUR SAINTE MARIE-MADELEINE ” / Accord - Universal 476 9939 – 2006

Éric Aubier (trompet), Orchestre de Bretagne, François- Xavier Bilger (direction)
” LA TROMPETTE FRANÇAISE, VOL. 1 ” / Pierre Vérany PV 798011 – 1998

Etudes baroques
Beatrice Berrut (piano)
” LUX AETERNA ” / Aparté AP100

Evocation IV, for organ
Vincent Dubois (organ)
” HYMNES ” / Aeolus - AE 11101

Grande Messe solennelle
The Choir of Sheffield Cathedral, Antony Gowing (organ), Neil Taylor (direction)
” TU ES PETRUS ” / Regent Records REGCD 360 – 2010

Vincent Dubois (organ), Denis Comtet (choir organ), Le Madrigal de Paris, Pierre Calmelet (direction)
” TU ES PETRUS ” / Studio SM 62 – 2004

Ground II
Emmanuel Curt (percussions), Thierry Escaich (organ)
” A LA SEIS DE LA TARDE ” / Indésens – à paraître en 2011

Ground IV, for clarinet quartet
Quatuor Vendôme
Indesens Records / Inde044

In memoriam
Cambridge Voices, Ian de Massini (direction), Thierry Escaich (organ)
” HOMMAGE À DURUFLÉ ” / Calliope 9939 – 2002

Jeux de doubles
” DEBUSSY EN MIROIR ” / Triton TRI 331143 – 2006
Dana Ciocarlie (piano)
” LUX AETERNA ” / Aparté AP100
Beatrice Berrut (piano)

Phantasia antiqua, for alto saxophone, tenor (and barytone) saxophone and piano
Anne Lecapelain, saxophone alto saxophone
Nicolas Prost, tenor and barytone saxophone
Laurent Wagschal, piano
”TRIO SAXANA” / Saphir LVC 1123

Poèmes pour orgue I et III
Vincent Warnier (organ)
” RÉCITAL DE VINCENT WARNIER ” / Hortus 024 – 2002

Poèmes (1er livre), pour orgue
”Vers l’espérance” et ”Eaux natales”
Erwin Wiersinga, organ
”L’ART DE LA TRANSCRIPTION” - Orgelparkrecords 005-2009

Éric Aubier (trumpet), Orchestre de Bretagne, Jean-Jacques Kantorow (direction)
” RÉSURGENCES ” / Pierre Vérany PV 703021 – 2003

” RÉCITAL ROMAIN LELEU ” / Indésens INDE008 – 2008
Romain Leleu (trumpet)
Julien Le Pape (piano)
” UNLIMITED ! ” / Indésens 025 – 2010
Thierry Escaich (organ)
” TANZ-FANTASIE ” / Indésens 00012 – 2009

Trio américain (Suppliques)
Jean-Marc Fessard (clarinet), Arnaud Thorette (viola), Johan Farjot (piano)
” TENEBRÆ ” / Accord - Universal 442 8464 – 2006


Choral varié
Orchestre de jeunes du Conservatoire à rayonnement régional de Paris, Xavier Delette (direction)
Billaudot G8956B (partition + CD) – 2010

Aurélien Pascal (piano)
Thierry Escaich improvisation (piano)
With works of K. Beffa, N. Bacri, A. Girard, J.-J. Di Tucci
Billaudot G8429B (partition + CD) – 2009

Sax Trip
Orchestre de jeunes du Conservatoire à rayonnement régional de Paris, Xavier Delette (direction)
Billaudot G8175B (partition + CD) – 2010