updated 7 February 2022
© M. de C. pour Milor Distribution

Christophe de Coudenhove

French composer born 26 June 1963 in Sisteron.

Christophe de Coudenhove began his musical studies in oboe class at the Conservatoire de Grenoble. From 1975 to 1982 he pursued his studies on Réunion Island, where his parents were transferred, and discovered a passion for polyphonic vocal music through his participation in choirs. In the same period, he began to write his first scores and became interested in programming, creating algorithms that combine graphics and sound in aleatoric compositions.

Having initially studied mechanical engineering at the Bourges University Institute of Technology, de Coudenhove changed course in 1984, enrolling in Guy Reibel and Laurent Cuniot’s electroacoustic music composition class at the Conservatoire de Paris. He then joined the instrumental composition course and attended Betsy Jolas’s music analysis class, Serge Nigg’s orchestration class, and Patrick Moutal’s Indian music class. In 1989, de Coudenhove won the Conservatoire’s Composition and Orchestration awards.

From 1985 to 1994, de Coudenhove taught electroacoustic music composition classes at the Centre de Formation des Musiciens-Intervenants of the University of Poitiers and the University of Tours. In 1991, he joined the composition and computer music program at IRCAM, where he wrote Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance) for clarinet and real-time computer. This was the first piece composed for the Musical Workstation 4X, which had recently been developed by researchers at IRCAM.

De Coudenhove pursued his career at IRCAM as a lecturer in the programming language Max and director of computer music. He worked with Qigang Chen, Martin Matalon, and Ivan Fedele, among others. These collaborations gave him an opportunity to develop various sound and spatialization transformation algorithms written in Max on the Musical Workstation 4X.

In 1994, Michel Decoust asked him to create a composition and computer music class at the Conservatoire de Montpellier. From that year until 2002, de Coudenhove was part of the choral direction of the Association pour le Développement de l’Animation Culturelle (Association for the Development of Cultural Activities) in Paris. He became head of the instrumental composition class at the Conservatoire de Bourg-la-Reine/Sceaux in 2005.

His involvement with the Conservatoire’s harp classes led him to compose several pieces for this instrument, such as Cahier de couleurs (Colored Notebook; for electroacoustic harp solo, 2006), Une harpe dans l’autobus (A Harp on the Bus; for electroacoustic harp and an actor, 2007; based on Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style), and Harpes de toutes couleurs (Harps of All Colors; show for electroacoustic harp, five harps, and video projection, 2008).

Since 2013, de Coudenhove has been associated with the Maison des Arts Sonore – KLANG! festival in Montpellier as a guest composer. With his work Scènes (Scenes; for six-track audio support) composed for this festival, he offered a reflection on the notion of space. For this piece, de Coudenhove developed spatialization algorithms for IRCAM’s Spat software.

Following his collaboration with organist Béatrice Piertot in 2015, de Coudenhove reflected on how best to integrate the organ into the orchestra and composed a series of pieces for young organists, such as Fusion (2015), Swing, Jeu(x), Miroir-Mémoire (Swing, Game(s), Mirror-Memory, 2016), and Ombre et lumière (Shadow and Light, 2017).

His works have been played by Ensemble TM+, Orchestre de Chambre Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Ensemble Résonances, Controverse Trio, Orchestre Colonne, and the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra. In February 2022, the Orchestre National de Jazz created the new version of En blanc et bleue (In White and Blue) for two harps and jazz orchestra, at Radio France’s Festival Présences.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2022


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