updated 26 January 2021
© Patricia Dietzi/Durand

Betsy Jolas

French-American composer born 5 August 1926 in Paris.

A French-American composer born in Paris on 5 August 1926, Betsy Jolas grew up in the artistic circles of the Paris literary review transition (1927-1938), which was founded by her parents.

From 1940 to 1946, the family lived in New York, and Betsy Jolas earned her Bachelor of Arts from Bennington College. She sang in and was an accompanist for the Dessof Choirs, directed by Paul Boepple, who also ran the Dalcroze School, which she attended. It was through her work with Boepple, who also taught her counterpoint and harmony, that she discovered the polyphonies of the Middle Ages and the Rennaissance. Additionally, she studied organ with Carl Weinrich and piano with Hélène Schnabel.

Upon her return to Paris, she enrolled in the École Normale, where she studied with Arthur Honegger. On the advice of André Marchal, Jolas entered the Conservatoire de Paris, where she received high honors (Deuxième Prix) in fugue (1953), in the class of Simone Plé-Caussade. After winning the Besançon Orchestra Conducting Competition in 1953, Jolas continued studying analysis with Olivier Messiaen (Première Mention, 1954), and composition with Darius Milhaud (Deuxième Accessit, 1955).

From 1955 to 1970, she worked as a radio programmer, and, with the support of Henri Dutilleux, received numerous commissions for radio cantatas and orchestral pieces. Between 1971 and 1974, she was assistant to Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatoire de Paris, succeeding him as professor of analysis there in 1975 and of composition from 1978-1992. Starting in the early 1970s, she also taught in the United States, at Yale, Berkeley, Harvard, and Mills College (where she held the Darius-Milhaud Chair).

While Monteverdi, familiar to her since before the Second World War, and Debussy, discovered on record in New York, were strong guiding forces in her work as a composer, Jolas, although fascinated by the early works of Webern, maintained a certain distance from the Vienna School, and did not seek the break with Romanticism for which it called. She was also attentive to the work of composers on both sides of the Atlantic. Decisive to her work, too, were her encounters and enduring friendships with composers such as Iannis Xenakis, Gilbert Amy, Jean-Claude Éloy, and André Boucourechliev, and, in the 1970s, with Earle Brown, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Morton Feldman, and John Cage, among others. She was in frequent contact with Pierre Boulez, who featured her Quatuor II (1966) at the Domaine musical concerts, as well as with Luciano Berio and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Her compositions have been performed in many festivals, including Royan, Avignon, Paris, and Strasbourg, and she has received major commissions from such institutions as the French Ministry of Culture, including for Schliemann (1982-1993), with support from the Opéra de Lyon, the Tanglewood festival (Tales of a Summer Sea, 1977), and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (A Little Summer Suite, 2015).

From childhood, Jolas was sensitive to reciprocities in the arts and to European-American dialogue, doubly questioning music through the ambiguity of vocality and poetic utterance, and the attribution of speaking voices and even personalities to instruments. The titles of her scores upended genres and formations: D’un opéra de voyage (1967), for twenty-two instruments, or Sonate à 12 (1970), for twelve solo vocalists with no text. This was one source of the attention Jolas gave to poets, writers, and members of the theater world, including Pierre Reverdy, André du Bouchet, Jacques Dupin, Bernard Sobel, and Bruno Bayen, as well as to artists such as Sam Szafran, Diego Giacometti, Jean-Paul Riopelle, or Joan Mitchell. The composer’s rich catalogue, because she sought the unpredictable fluidity of a “building without seams,” made use of a variety of formations that evoked known genres and forms (opera, motet, concerto, sonata, for example), as well as indefinite ones (figures, tranches, states, or episodes, for example).

Jolas has received numerous awards, prizes, and honors, including from the Copley Foundation award (Chicago, 1954), the ORTF (1961), the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1973), and the Koussevitzky Foundation. She has been honored by France’s Grand Prix National de la Musique (1974), the Grand Prix of the City of Paris (1981), the Grand Prix de la Sacem (1982), the Prix international Maurice-Ravel, and France’s “Personnalité de l’année“ award (1992), as well as the SACEM Prize for best premiere of the year (1994), the Prix René-Dumesnil (2003), and the Prix du Président de la République (2012). Betsy Jolas is also an honorary professor at the Conservatoire de Paris, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1983) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1995), a Commandeur des Arts et Lettres (1985), an Officier de l’Ordre national du mérite (2001), and a member of the French Legion of Honor (2011).

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2021


  • Site de Betsy Jolas (voir ressources documentaires) ;
  • Xavier Hascher, Editions Billaudot.

By Alban Ramaut

Within the landscape of contemporary music, Betsy Jolas describes her place as one of “independence” and “difference.” This has been true since the 1960s, when her creative life became public. Inflexible in her choice to remain at the margins, she nevertheless maintained active friendships with members of the serialist movement in the post-war period, although she never joined it. She was also interested in extra-European music, American music, and “non-highbrow music”— from Bali to jazz — as well as, albeit somewhat remotely, in electro-acoustic research, which she notably used for her opera Schliemann (1983-1993).

Paris 1950-1970

The December 1965 article Betsy Jolas wrote for the journal Preuves, “Il fallait voter sériel même si…,” (“You had to vote serial, even if…”) analyzes, among other things, how she, as an emerging composer, got through an era in music that perceived forgetting the past as a kind of duty. For Jolas, serialism, while it helped with the renewal of what had become a “backwater,” could not actually replace it. “For us, a complete break, starting from nothing, was unthinkable. […] Rethinking, for us, was first of all a matter of listening to the past with a new ear. Of re-examining, of re-evaluating our heritage down to the tiniest details, and then – only then – once fully informed, of sorting out, and even eliminating. Then, [it was possible] to return with an open ear to the material at its source, to give it a new impact, an absolute need to exist1”. Jolas discovered the Vienna school on 10 April 1954, at the fourth concert of the Domaine Musical concerts, during which Anton Webern’s Five Pieces for Orchestra Op. 10 were performed for the first time in France. “A very gentle shock,” Jolas declared in an interview thirty years later (Le Monde, 23 September 1983), recalling that she enjoyed this period, which she described as a “purgatory” – a time all composers must traverse in order to find themselves.
Other realities than serialism appear to have been more fecund for the composer, though. In addition to the musical dramaturgy of Wozzeck or the varying instrumentation in Pierrot Lunaire, Sprechgesang notation naturally caught the ear of Jolas, who, in 1948-1949, had composed six songs with piano, Plupart du temps I, using poems by Pierre Reverdy. Thus, in 1977, while analysing Pierrot lunaire in her class at the CNSM, she composed Épisode second (1977) for solo flute, sub-titled ohne Worte and based on the hidden vocal melodies she described discerning in the work of Arnold Schoenberg, notably thanks to the effacement technique she had observed in The Book of the Hanging Gardens op. 15 (1908-1909): “It is these melodies, which I gleaned from the three parts of the work [Pierrot lunaire], that I sought to expose, in the photographic sense of that term, and then to recompose, in my Épisode second for solo flute.” Later, in Perriault le Déluné (1993), whose title evokes her connection to Schoenberg, she called on the dramaturgical principle of madrigal comedies (three times four parts), in the manner of Orazio Vecchi’s_Amfiparnasso_. The shattering of speech in order to recompose it into music raises a – if not the – fundamental question. Her close listening of Pierrot lunaire also sparked her interest in this “no-man’s land located between singing and speaking. A movable area where the voice wavers dangerously between the semantic and the musical. Dangerously, because from one field to another the mode of perception changes radically. Giving rise to the need, felt for all time, for solutions of expectation and continuity2”.
In Webern’s work, Jolas drew inspiration from its atomized nature and the fragmentation of his writing across timbres. In reference to Six Pieces for Orchestra op. 6 – declared “unanalysable” by her students at the Conservatoire because they were not serial, but which she analysed with them nevertheless in her 1971 class – she declared, “You see that the work structures itself as we watch and listen, from a wholly new perspective of unity, an overarching view of the whole, which was missing from the work of Webern, each step leading very logically to the next, the serial following without a hitch from the atonal, through the same ways of being, at heart so very Viennese, and, why not say it, the same little fixations: obsession with symmetry, a constant need to make musically explicit the most obvious procedures (retrogrades, permutations, etc.)3”. It was freer models that fascinated Betsy Jolas, far more than the possibilities offered by using a system, as remarkable as that system might be.
The music of Claude Debussy (Pelléas et Mélisande, of course, as well as Jeux, and, to an even greater extent, Sonata for flute, viola, and harp) was organized along other ineffably formal lines – ineffable because they were not predictable. For Jolas, it was a kind of “sonic biology: an exciting fabric of living organisms that could be activated at any time through a vast network of organic software with innumerable effects”.
During this period, which was one of intense activity for her, the key work that revealed her to the composing community was Quatuor II for coloratura soprano without text (using phonemes following the techniques of the Swingle Singers) and string quartet. Composed in 1964, the quartet was the triumphant revelation of one of her greatest fascinations: the question of the relationship between voice –vocality – and expression – the mystery of this “instrument” and the way that it speaks to the instrumental truth of music. Other pieces complement her exploration of this question, such as D’un opéra de voyage (1967), which was written for twenty-two instrumentalists and no singers, turning the instruments into characters, or Le Pavillon au bord de la rivière (1975) which turns a stage actor into a singing instrument. After that, the desire to compose an opera, and thus to return to a stage space, with its characters, emerged, as well.

Different aspects of the catalogue

Reading Betsy Jolas’ catalogue, the impressive determination of its titles confirms the breadth of her creative questioning. Two major categories, one poetic, the other more formal, may be seen as two different ways to approach the same freedom of interpretation. The descriptive sub-titles she uses both stage and orient – or re-orient – the imagination. Thus, the subtitle of Onze Lieder (1977) does not indicate a vocalist and accompaniment, but rather a trumpet and a chamber orchestra; Quatre Psaumes d’Heinrich Schütz (1996) involves only an orchestra; Concerto-Fantaisie : “O Night, Oh…” (2001), whose title is a nod to Shakespeare5, was indeed written for piano – but with a 32-person mixed choir. This blurring of genres between voice and instrument illustrates Jolas’ manner of rethinking in the terms of her own era the order of what was and was not allowed. In reality, though, these seeming contradictions point to the mysterious tie that binds the nature of music to that of poetry, and poetry to the living expression of an action through the impulse of the body, too. The score hovers between abstraction and incarnation, substance and discourse.
This play with ambiguity allows us to understand that the two categories into which Jolas’ titles may be grouped resemble two levers that the composer uses as motives for her creation. While the literary category suggests Mots, Figures, or Tranche; the pragmatic one invokes the sonata, the quartet, or lieder.
The first category tends to establish links, both allusive or non-allusive, to a “source work” but also to a cultural, poetic, or theatrical legacy, comparable to a hidden citation. O Wall (1976), a doll opera for wind quintet, alludes to the famous romantic dialogue of Pyramus and Thisbe through the chink in the wall performed by the “rude mechanicals” in Act V of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From Shakespeare’s play within a play, Jolas deepens the idea of framing in her instrumental work for the piece. Lumor (1996) is described as “seven spiritual canticles” taken from a collection of Eugène Jolas’ writings titled Wanderpoem: or Angelic Mythamorphosis of the City of London (1946). The piece takes its title from the incipit, “Then Lumor Came,” leaving any question of filiation to those already in the know. Moreover, the score was written for a solo saxophone and orchestra. It is, in other words, a commentary in instrumental notes of a text that is offered only allusively. The work behind Motet II (1965) is, by the same token, carefully made imperceptible. While the genre of the motet implies a polyphonic performance of a text, one would never guess reading its spare title that the piece actually puts to music a poem by Jacques Dupin, which itself is “dedicated to the art of writing a poem”. Jolas, in a sense, extends the work of the poet using “a polyphony that brings one into the presence of the birth of the poem by allowing the text to emerge from its progressively illuminated fabric6”. Here as elsewhere, the composer was interested in the crafting of a process, which she deploys to the point that it becomes the structure of the score, and, as it is revealed, enunciates a non-predetermined form.
The way the writing for four parts of her “series” of quartets is rethought each time never fails to surprise. On this subject, the composer has explained how she proceeds: as a point of departure, she surrounds herself with analysed models, which she senses will be a “lineage,” opening up pathways toward a new horizon. From there, she reinterprets the elements she has perceived. Analysis holds the place of method in the composition: she observes, as the saying goes, “how it’s done,” while the composition goes about ensuring that “how it’s done” will not be grasped. The composition transcends the artisanal dimension of the analysis, although this artisanal knowledge is nevertheless tucked away in the unpredictable layout of the composition. This technique is similar to the one so carefully hidden by Olivier Messiaen, which Jolas unambiguously reveals: “Those who know my work and have been taught by me know that my musical thinking is nourished by my daily experience of life, and, to take form, must constantly refer to a lineage. A double lineage, really, running through my own work (which now covers nearly fifty years of my creative life) as well as a good portion of music History, refracted through my tastes and my sensibilities7”.
As a result, the eight quartets correspond more closely to the idea of four-part writing than they do the idea of the string quartet as a musical formation. One sees this in Quatuor II (1964), for example, which introduces the voice as a substitute for the first violin, or in Quatuor VI (1997), for B-flat clarinet and string trio, and Quatuor VII “Afterthoughts” (2018), for trumpet and string trio. The last piece in the series, Quatuor VIII (2019), while written for string quartet, is subtitled “Topeng,” a reference to Balinese theatre, and it recreates polyphonically the typology of gestures of the various characters.
Jolas’ four Motets follow a similar vein, and are intended as in-depth explorations of different texts. Initially intended to be an a cappella formation, they slowly took on the form of a grand motet with choir and orchestra, as well as a solo madrigal styled after Monteverdi’s last Madrigal Books, with voice and small ensemble accompaniment. The series “Épisodes,” — from Épisode I (1964) to Épisode neuvième (1990) — in ways that resemble Luciano Berio’s Sequenze, focus on the performer’s playing of their instrument, taking it as an experimental field drawn around an investigation-appropriation. For life itself offered Jolas sound models she merely needed to take in through careful observation, and then transcribe. These might take the form of a single note, a sound, a rhythm, or even hydraulic shocks in a pipe. Knowledge, in parallel to this data, provides more abstract notions, in pure form, and technique. The combination of the two functions as a double reference point of conscious lucidity; from there, Jolas can anchor the unpredictable and the unexpected of her music, as her freedom – freedom of structure and freedom to wander –, which she calls “her dreamsup>8”. The hand escapes the mind, which in turn observes the freedoms taken by the hand, making the artifice and the facileness of its sleight of hand disappear. Here, the idea of pure music, in which Jolas still believed at the beginning, is replaced by the significance of “sensual” ideas that underlie her discourse and that she seeks to set free from any theoretical stranglehold. Jolas’ relationship with performers is therefore decisive, because it reveals further aspects of her music.


Reading Jolas’s writing, reading interviews with her, listening to the many radio broadcasts dedicated to her and her work, studying her scores, other threads emerge than the ones established here between an almost prosaic everyday and erudite historical references. While it would be impossible to note them all individually, they are all bound up in the idea of duality evoked earlier on. But what seems to proceed from antagonisms nevertheless takes on a single question that inspires complementary points of view and strategies – multi-valent, but convergent solutions. Is this none other than a “polyphonic” understanding of difference?
The artistic roots of this coherence may be found in Jolas’ French-American dual citizenship. Beyond her immediate ties to the United States are roots in the ‘Old World,’ creating a cultural landscape that, while legible, is quite complex. On her father’s side, her background is “German Romantic”: her paternal grandparents emigrated to the United States because of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. There, they married and started a family, returning to Europe several years later. Her mother’s side of the family is the more eclectic, cultured side; of Scottish origin, they settled in Kentucky – a Southern state, it should be recalled – many years before. This mixed background brought with it a natural mastery of French, English, and German, and explains the attention paid by the entire family to linguistic genius and translation, to which music, in addition to creating a possibility for concatenation, offered yet another solution. The aesthetic identity of Jolas’ music was born of these interwoven certainties.
From one continent to another, between France and America, a certain attraction to a freeing and fertile alternation emerged. One land did not correct or counterbalance the other; rather, the one set the other in motion, turning it back to an otherwise forgotten past. In this play with identity-seeking, the first homeland inspired the second, which, in turn, rescued the first from whatever threatened confinement to any kind of sterile system. It was in New York that Jolas discovered Roland de Lassus, Palestrina, Josquin des Prez, and Heinrich Schütz, at a time when they were being forgotten in Paris. In this way, and very early on, the United States, by helping her to gain distance from France, acted as a kind of counterweight in Jolas’ sensibilities. Her article in the first issue of Musique en jeu (1970), titled “Sur The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives”, which gave an overview of lectures given at the American Cultural Center in Paris in 1958, forcefully affirmed: “I had finally understood the meaninglessness of all these words: triad, polytonality, dissonance, atonality… none of them accounted for what I already perceived so keenly: three distinct universes, perfectly defined9”.
After she returned to Paris in 1946, she showed her Messe (1945) for soloists and female choir to the organist André Marchal, who remarked, “Your music falls between Pérotin and Roussel”, revealing what he probably felt to be a kind of lack of classical knowledge – à la française – of the work of composition. Marchal recommended courses in harmony and counterpoint to Jolas – who had believed her studies to be complete – and offered to introduce her to Simone Plé-Caussade, a professor at the Conservatoire. From 1947 to 1948, Jolas studied with Plé-Caussade to prepare for entry into the conservatory, and it was during this time that she began making connections in the French music world. Her growing interest in counterpoint did not prevent her from continuing to compose Plupart du temps I, nor from pursuing studies at the École normale de musique with Arthur Honegger, whose music she had discovered and performed in New York.
André Marchal’s remark seemed to be a rebuke to Jolas for “composing” before even “having learned” music. This distinction, while somewhat embarrassing at the time, became a driving force Jolas sought to affirm every day. It also shed light on the undisputed fruitfulness of a regular creative life, paired with a persistent taste for work well done – irreproachable in the carefully thought-out complexities of its creation.
At a young age, Jolas accompanied her mother in a repertoire of lieder, Negro spirituals, Creole and French songs, and other light music, explaining the atmosphere of creative – and one might almost say Romantic – empathy in which she grew up. She maintained this atmosphere in her wide-ranging dialogues with the work of composers such as Lassus, Bach, Haydn, Berlioz, or Debussy. This unexpected beginning to her vocation as a composer created echoes of what might be described as spirituality in her music. The aesthetic world of the lieder, perceived as poetry’s most accomplished form of expression, is, in her work, an approach that can be perceived behind what is now her overarching preoccupation as a professional composer. An ongoing, if alternating path has been established in this way from Quatuor II (1964) to Frauenliebe (2010), ten lieder for viola and piano, and including the chamber opera Le Cyclope (1986), the opera Schliemann (1983-1993), and her more recent rewritings for concert or stage, Calling Hélène (1995), Lovaby (2000), and Illiade l’amour (2014).


Exploring the powers and the singularity of music is something Betsy Jolas has done in several texts, as well. The first manifestation of this theoretical need – in reality quite simple and pragmatic – was in a lecture titled “Voix et musique” (Voice and Music), given to the Société française de philosophie (French Philosophical Society) in 197210. She returned to this theme in four lectures, collected in Molto espressivo, delivered at Berkeley on the 14, 16, 21, and 23 of April 198111. She later gave the same title to a larger collection of texts and interviews. It is there, as well as in the program notes for her compositions, a parallel corpus to her scores, that we find the translation of what Betsy Jolas’s unclassifiable music seeks to grasp, at the same time maintaining the sage hope that it will remain just beyond her fingertips.

  1. Betsy Jolas, “Il fallait voter sériel même si…” (1965), De l’aube à minuit [AM] Paris, Hermann, 2017, p. 22.
  2. Betsy Jolas, “Images sonores et sens musical” (1991), Molto espressivo [ME], Paris, L’Harmattan, 1999, p. 160.
  3. Betsy Jolas, “Un choc très doux” (1983), AM, p. 31-32.
  4. Betsy Jolas, “Debussy quelle filiation” (1997), p. 52.
  5. Allusion to an ode to the night given by the tradesmen-actors in the play within the play in the Shakespeare comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, found in O Wall, Well Met, and How Now
  6. Betsy Jolas, Interview, 23 February 1996, ME, p. 86-87.
  7. Betsy Jolas, Program notes for the premier of Quatuor V (1997), AM, p. 154.
  8. Betsy Jolas, “Il fallait voter sériel même si…,” op. cit., p. 22.
  9. Betsy Jolas, “Sur _The Unanswered Question_” (1970), ME, p. 134.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2021

Catalog sources and details

Compositions pour des courts-métrages
  • Aventure en Laponie (1956, produit par Pierre Braunberger)
  • Poussins d’un jour (1956, produit par Pierre Braunberger)
  • Photo Souvenir (Henri Fabiani, produit par Pierre Braunberger, « Les Films de la Pléiade », 1960, la musique composée par Betsy Jolas ne sera finalement pas retenue)

Catalog source(s)

Compositions pour des courts-métrages
  • Aventure en Laponie (1956, produit par Pierre Braunberger)
  • Poussins d’un jour (1956, produit par Pierre Braunberger)
  • Photo Souvenir (Henri Fabiani, produit par Pierre Braunberger, « Les Films de la Pléiade », 1960, la musique composée par Betsy Jolas ne sera finalement pas retenue)

Liens internets

(liens vérifiés en janvier 2021).


  • Betsy JOLAS, « Interview by Guy Livingston », Paris Transatlantic Magazine, 2 décembre 1993 (lien vérifié en janvier 2021).

  • Betsy JOLAS, Molto espressivo, textes rassemblés, présentés et annotés par Alban Ramaut, Paris, L’Harmattan, coll. « L’Itinéraire », 1999.

  • Betsy JOLAS, D’un opéra de voyage. Entretiens avec Bruno Serrou, Paris, Cig’art, 2001 (voir également, dans les archives de l’Ina les Grands Entretiens, série « Mémoire musique », entretien de Bruno Serrou, réalisation de Jean-Baptiste Mathieu (lien vérifié en janvier 2021).

  • Betsy JOLAS, De l’aube à minuit, écrits et entretiens réunis et édités par Alban Ramaut, Paris, Hermann, coll. « Gream / Création contemporaine », 2017.

  • Marie-Jeanne CHAUVIN, « Entretiens avec Betsy Jolas », Courrier musical de France, 28 (1969), p. 163-173.

  • Makis SOLOMOS, « Musique — Entretien avec Betsy Jolas — Des féroces modernes à la postmodernité », Le Monde de l’éducation, 316 (2003), p. 17-25.

  • Antoine CAZÉ, « “Les Américains chantent et font de la musique spontanément.” Conversation avec Betsy Jolas », Revue française d’études américaines, III/117 (2008), p. 85-108.

  • Jean-Yves BOSSEUR, De vive voix. Dialogues sur les musiques contemporaines, Paris, Minerve, 2010.

  • Philippe ALBÉRA, Le Son et le Sens. Essais sur la musique de notre temps, Genève, Contrechamps, 2007, p. 359-360.

  • André BOUCOURECHLIEV, « Jolas, Betsy », The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Stanley Sadie, éd.), Londres, Macmillan, 1980.

  • James R. BRISCOE, Contemporary Anthology of Music by Women, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1997, p. 60-96.

  • Danielle COHEN-LÉVINAS, Récit et représentation musicale, Paris, L’Harmattan, coll. « L’Itinéraire », 2002.

  • Nicolas DARBON, « La représentation de l’opéra dans les pièces instrumentales de Betsy Jolas », Les Cahiers du Cirem, 37-38-39 (1996), p. 83-96.

  • Nicolas DARBON, « L’opéra postmoderne. La quête de l’Unitas multiplex », Labyrinthe, 10 (2001), p. 65-82.

  • Desamparados FABRA CRESPO, Betsy Jolas’s Musical Language, PhD., City University of New York, 2012.

  • Alban RAMAUT, « Schliemann de Betsy Jolas : l’opéra comme genre », Composer un opéra aujourd’hui (Béatrice Ramaut-Chevassus, éd.), Saint-Étienne, Publications de l’Université de Saint-Étienne, coll. « Centre interdisciplinaire d’études et de recherches sur l’expression contemporaine (CIEREC) », 2003, p. 47-67.

  • Michel RIGONI, « Méthodologies de l’analyse de la musique contemporaine : pluralité des esthétiques, multiplicité des analyses », Musurgia, III/3 (1996), p. 56-80.

  • Ivanka STOÏANOVA, « Betsy Jolas », Revue musicale suisse, 6 (1974), p. 342-349.


  • Betsy JOLAS, Quatuor II, Mady Mesplé, Trio à cordes français, EMI, CDC7 49904 2, 1989.
  • Betsy JOLAS, Musique de jour, dans « L’Orgue contemporain 1 », Bernard Foccroulle (orgue), Ricercare, RIC 072051, 1990.
  • Betsy JOLAS, Études aperçues, Thierry Miroglio (percussion), Salabert / MFA, SCD9411, 1992.
  • Betsy JOLAS, Épisode quatrième, dans « Claude Delangle. The Solitary Saxophone », Grammofon AB BIS, BIS-CD-640, 1994.
  • Betsy JOLAS, Fusain, dans « Récital », Pierre-Yves Artaud (flûte), coll. « 2e2m », cd 1004, 1995.
  • Betsy JOLAS, Stances ; B for Sonata ; J.D.E. ; Points d’aube, Claude Helffer, Jacques Prat, Serge Collot, Claude Maisonneuve, Nouvel Orchestre philharmonique de Radio-France, sous la direction de Marius Constant, Ensemble Ars Nova, sous la direction de Gilbert Amy, Adès, 205762, 1997.
  • Betsy JOLAS, O Wall, dans « Répertoires Polychromes 1 », MFA – Radio France, 216021/22, 1998.
  • Betsy JOLAS, Épisodes I & II, dans « Œuvres françaises du xxe siècle », Juliette Hurel (flûte), Conservatoire de Paris / Cité de la Musique, CREC 99/006, 1999.
  • Betsy JOLAS, Quatuor VI « avec clarinette » ; Motet IV « Ventosum Vocant » ; Lovemusic ; Trio « Les Heures », Ensemble Accroche Note, Accord 442 8449, 2006.
  • Betsy JOLAS, B for Betsy, Quatre Duos, Quoth the Raven, Pièce pour Saint-Germain, Ruht wohl, Épisode sixième, B for Sonata, Géraldine Dutroncy (piano) et Laurent Camate (alto), Hortus 099, 2012.
  • Betsy JOLAS, Lassus-Fantaisie, « Ô doux parler », dans « Mutations. Les chimères de Clément Janequin », Ensembles Xasax et Thélème, sous la direction Jean-Christophe Groffre, Coviello, COV 92011, 2020.