updated 23 January 2023
© Esteban Zúñiga

Denis Dufour

French composer and teacher born 9 october 1953 in Lyon.

Denis Dufour was born in France in 1953. He entered the Conservatoire National de Région (CNR) in Lyon in 1972, and then from 1974-1979 studied at the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMDP) with Michel Philippot and Ivo Malec (instrumental composition), Claude Ballif (analysis), and Guy Reibel and Pierre Schaeffer (electroacoustic composition). A researcher and a staff member of the INA-GRM starting in 1976, he was a teaching assistant in the electroacoustics class at the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMDP). In 1977, he founded the TM+ Ensemble, and was the impetus for the creation of a major corpus of mixed and “live electronic” compositions. He was a studio assistant to Pierre Schaeffer, Marcel Landowski, Guy Reibel, and François Bayle, and participated in the design and building of the Acousmographe, as well as helping to organize conferences and seminars. He also contributed to the building of the SYTER system, for which he composed the first piece for instruments and real-time digital processing, Ourlé du lac (1984), performed during the 1984 ICMC in Paris, organized by the IRCAM.

In 1980, he created an acousmatic and instrumental composition class at the CNR de Lyon, which he taught until 1995. He launched the Acore concerts in 1982, organizing a regular cycle of performances each year. In 1984, he helped to found the Quark composers’ collective, and hosted the Rencontres de Crest sur l’Art Acousmatique from 1989 to 1994. In 1993, he created the Festival Futura (an international festival for acousmatics and related arts) in Crest (Drôme), France. In 1997, he launched Motus, which organizes concerts and events (such as Odysson, Acousma-rave, etc.) and manages the world’s largest privately-owned sound projection system and runs a recording label dedicated to contemporary music (acousmatic and instrumental). In 2004, he founded the Syntax ensemble with five other professors at the CNR Perpignan-Méditerranée, which has its own acousmonium. In 2017, he co-founded the duo HD, which works in performance and conceptual events.

In 1995, he took over the composition class at the Conservatoire de Perpignan, where he organizes six concerts per year. Starting in 1997, he organized Les Empreintes, an annual lecture series given by invited composers at the INA-GRM, as well as L’Atelier, whose purpose is to foster exchanges between the GRM and the music world. He also created a database to manage the works and documents of the Acousmathèque. He left the GRM in 2000.

In 2002, he founded the first summer course in acousmatic performance in Crest, which brings together a dozen students from around the world for over a week each year. In 2007, he designed and taught a class on electroacoustic composition and sound design at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris. Two years later, he became professor of musical creation in electroacoustic composition at the Pôle supérieur d’Enseignement Artistique Paris in Boulogne-Billancourt.

Dufour has been composing since 1976, and is the author of numerous instrumental works (orchestral, chamber, vocal) and electroacoustic pieces, where, with the fluidity of baroque phrasing, he plays wth the mobility of figures, the exploration of new morphologies (from work with different media), with colors and interactions, in a style whose language and lyricism are strongly his own. In his latest acousmatic pieces, he has reintroduced human voices and their dramatic and narrative impact into the highly formal universe of acousmatic music, which he has transformed into a space for a new form of theatricality. Denis Dufour is one of a handful of French compsers working with equal enthusiasm in both the instrumental and acousmatic worlds, for which he writes works of equal stylistic maturity and iconoclastic, rigorous fervor.

Denis Dufour promotes a concept of spatialization performed in sound works on acousmonium or by loudspeaker orchestra; for these he has composed numerous pieces including Bocalises, grande suite (1978), Entre dames (1982), Messe à l’usage des vieillards (1987), Les Joueurs de sons (1999), La Nuit du Dibdak (2000), Caravaggio (2000), and Volver (2012).

In 2009, he was awarded the SACEM prize for best electroacoustic composition for PH 27-80 (2008).

Since 2013, his instrumental and mixed pieces have been published by Maison Ona.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2007

By Vincent Isnard

Rich with aesthetic influences, opposing ideologies, collaborations, connections, and friendships, the work of Denis Dufour is that of several lifetimes. An exhaustive examination of it would require grasping each of his decisive trajectories. His compositional career began in the 1970s under the influences of Pierre Schaeffer (1910-1995) and Ivo Malec (1925-2019), and it captured and built upon the stylistic and technological developments from after the Second World War. To date, he has composed nearly two hundred high-quality and sonorous works.1 In both acousmatic and instrumental music, as well as in mixed music and real-time music,2 Dufour has composed and championed large-scale works that have frequently been hailed by critics, including Bocalises, petite suite (1977), which won first prize at the Luigi Russolo International Composition Competition; PH 27-80 (2008), which earned the SACEM prize for best electroacoustic composition; Ourlé du lac (The Lake’s Edge, 1984) for violin, synthesizer, and real-time digital transformations, which was one of the first works of this type produced with the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) Syter system created at IRCAM; and Chanson pensive (Pensive Song, 1990), an instrumental piece premiered by Ensemble 2e2m. To understand the reach of this inexhaustible creator, one must also mention his outreach and educational activities. Dufour was a member of the GRM from 1976 to 2000 and a founding member of the GRM Trio in 1977 (which would become the ensemble TM+). As a professor, he founded the composition studios at the Lyon Conservatory in 1980, in Perpignan in 1995, and in Paris in 2007, where he trained more than 250 students.3 In the 1990s, he founded Motus Music4 and the Futura Festival.5

Dufour’s activity branched into three main dimensions. First, his craftmanship in composing lies in his proximity to the surrounding environment, closely related to an artisanry he developed in his childhood. Second, later in his career, he established links between seemingly incompatible musical aesthetics. Third, determined to ensure the sustainability of twentieth-century composition, notably through its inclusion in society, he encourages everyone to embrace and nurture the artistic spaces that surround us.

The spontaneous artisanry of Dufour

Dufour’s work calls into question the common distinction between art and artisanry, as he grew up in close contact with nature and was inspired to draw from it an approach to raw artistic material. Building, shaping, and inventing put him in relationship with the world around him and allowed him to take notice of its latent potential for art. “I sculpted wood, made enamels on copper plates. I was given a Super 8 camera, and I made films,” he related.6

As a shrewd young aesthete and a self-taught learner, he confronted art confidently and independently. Music proved to be more of a challenge for him than other artistic domains, and yet, he realized its potential for rich expression. At the age of 19, he turned his whole attention to the classical music courses offered at the Lyon Conservatory: music theory, viola, harmony, counterpoint, analysis, aesthetics, and history. By now, he had the sole objective of becoming a composer.

“Electroacoustics”— this was the word Malec repeated during their meeting at his Parisian home. Thanks to Malec, Dufour understood that contemporary music contains an immense and unexplored creative potential that can no longer be confined to the theories and instrumental techniques of the past. From that moment on, he would throw himself into exploring that potential. He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris in Schaeffer’s electroacoustic composition studio7 in 1974, then with Malec two years later. Dufour has kept exploring ever since.

He discovered a mirror universe into which he projects reality and learns to better recognize the feelings and emotions it arouses. He then conveys them through his own artistic ideas. In this way, he does not conceive of composition as merely an abstraction of notes or an approach to their organization, but rather as a means of capturing and harnessing a part of the complex sonic universe to express sensitive human qualities. To do so takes both experimentation and practice, and this conception of musical art considers both the artistic object and the medium into which it is fused. This is why Dufour thinks of composition as artisanry. It provides a set of techniques that can be applied to the object, and, as often as desired and even as early as the conception phase, the result can be tested by playing it on sound recordings or on instruments, so that the composer can share the object and techniques with others, refine them, and see how the musical proposal stands up against the initial artistic intention.8 This approach is a result from the lessons with Schaeffer and Malec. On the one hand was Schaeffer’s musique concrète and an experimental approach built on new, twentieth-century sound technologies; it was meant to extend the boundaries of human artistic perception and comprehension. On the other was Malec’s insistence on, in Dufour’s words, the importance of “the aesthetic coherence and the functional qualities of the score, its viability, its playability.”

From conception to reception, a musical work is always situated within a perceptive reality. It cannot be reduced to theoretical systems. This almost naturalist conception of music makes Dufour’s approach accessible even to novices of art music. His works reflect a personal relationship to individuals and their rites (Messe à l’usage des enfants [Mass for Children], Messe à l’usage des vieillards [Mass for the Elderly], La douceur a des cils [The Softness of Eyelashes], En effeuillant la marguerite [Plucking Daisies]), psychological troubles (the cycle Le Livre des désordres [The Book of Disorders], Notre besoin de consolation est impossible à rassasier [Our Need for Consolation Cannot Be Quenched], Litanie pour les vierges [Litany for Virgins]), objects of daily life and human activity (Bocalises, Altitude, Cinq formes d’appel, Hentai), animals (Cycle des Marais [Cycle of the Marshlands], In-quarto, La Nuit de Dibdak [The Night of Didbak]), urban environments (Entre dames [Among Ladies], Les Cris de Tatibagan [The Screams of Tatibagan]), plants (Dionaea, Amor Niger L., Symphonie des simples [Symphony of the Simple]), landscapes (Terra incognita, Nautilus, Avalanche), and nature (La terre est ronde [The Earth Is Round], Le Mystère des tornades [Mystery of Tornados], Tapovan). Through composition, Dufour brings the surrounding environment closer to the listener, as if to suggest sounds emanating from our inner worlds. Inversely, this dreamy musical mirror-world, even if it might stand alone as art, also offers a way to “reopen one’s musical ear” to the potential art that surrounds us. That world seems to better grasp what is real and recall the circumstances of artistic perception.

This proximity to reality makes it all the more obvious when Dufour breaks free from this theme in other pieces. First, he shaped a musical sound environment in which articulations and sequences are organized by rules that are plausibly quasi-natural — a “why-not aesthetic,” to adopt an expression from Dufour’s friend Jean-Christophe Thomas. Then from the 1990s, Dufour unveiled new rules: a supernatural, or quasi-supernatural, order with registers similar to those in fantasy, mythology, or tales. The universes of Tom et la Licorne (Tom and the Unicorn, 1991), Archéoptéryx (1992), Allégorie (1995), and Blue Rocket on a Rocky Shore (2013) are examples. According to Dufour, music must be nourished by the psyche. It is evocative and has the power to skip between a sometimes realist, sometimes fantastic narrative. Music reminds us that the preoccupations, questions, and contemplations we feel in reality can tend toward surprise, stupefaction, or strangeness. In this way, his work illustrates his ambition to maintain a broad openness to all sound proposals, even when narrative references blur and dissipate so that listeners can construct their own paths.

Early and contemporary musical references

Although Dufour somewhat distances his music from the scholarly musical tradition, his aesthetic affinity with Jean-Philippe Rameau is clear in the “movements, phrases, soaring figures, and motifs that can be committed to memory,” as well as “in dynamics and balance” mastered through compositional “precision.” Dufour perpetuates longstanding formalities so the music will seem relevant to the listener and can be explained and systematized, or theorized in relation to familiar experience. He has explicitly referred to Rameau’s work. The fifth movement of his instrumental piece Cinq formes d’appel (Five Types of Calls, 2013) is a revised transcription of Rameau’s The Call of the Birds. Dufour has also alluded to more general correspondences between contemporary music and music from earlier times, such as between “La Comptine” from Variations pour une porte et un soupir (Variations for a Door and a Sigh) by Pierre Henry and Sarabande from Cello Suite No. 5 by Johann Sebastien Bach. Dufour explicitly reuses forms from early music, such as in his two masses, which “use the structure of an ordinary Catholic mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Agnus Dei and Sanctus.” In a completely different register, his Variations acousmatiques (Acousmatic Variations, 2011) are a theme and eleven variations, each sixty-six seconds long, in which recorded sounds are treated with classical imitative processes, including retrograde and transposition. For Dufour, contemporary music is never completely cut off from fundamental points of reference. These continue to be perceived to support a piece’s internal coherence and continue to be questioned, if not reused, even by the most radical composers of today. “The driving forces behind music are often the same,” Dufour said, “whatever the period, practices, or technology.”

In many respects, Dufour’s work is rooted in our times, particularly in terms of the theoretical and practical advances that were an inevitable breaking point for a whole generation of composers. The most brutal, profound, and irreversible upheaval was certainly that of technology, which led to the chaos of two world wars and the crisis of tonal music. Depending on the composer and the evolution of their artistic intentions, sound technology was treated with skepticism, radicalism, or opportunism. Dufour combined technology and musical artisanry, inevitably filling his works with the characteristic sound markers of this transitional period. Primary are the materials he uses: sounds from sources of all sorts, including new technologies. He explored sounds that, on their own, were not considered musical, to the point where today “there aren’t any sounds that astonish anyone.” Secondly, he developed the tools of his time and of his contemporaries: acoustic and analog sound, magnetic tapes and synthesizers.9 However, even with the advent of the digital, Dufour remained focused on the source of sound rather than relying on plugins, which he found are overly systematic in the way they transform sound and which he compared to “industrial tomato sauce.” His vocabulary is not constrained to sound effects or innovations from engineer-composers.10 Rather, in his instrumental and acousmatic works, he allows major and minor chords and other traditional melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic “possibilities.” In sum, he seeks out a wealth of material, even if it is simple and familiar (for example, the mason jars used for Bocalises). After having patiently put together his sound palette, his work consists in assembling the pieces of a temporal puzzle and fitting them together into a fresco of contrasts and lyricism.11

It is worthy of mention that Dufour sometimes uses conceptual systems and formulas to generate ideas, whether it be for structure, melody, rhythm, dynamics, or other aspects. He nevertheless pointed out that “as a final measure, I use perceptive criteria to verify the relevance of a score.” Ultimately, his musique is not written in an abstract way, ex nihilo, but rather reassembles a soundscape which, rich in its organic events and properties, could (or should?) have been. The resulting music reveals a proximity to the contemporary listener in its familiarity and accessibility, and within contemporary musical evolutions. All the while, Dufour aims for his music to transcend the grip of evolving technologies, by remaining focused on the original principles of music, particularly to be “a recognizable originality, sound, and form.”

Social commitment to transmission and diffusion

Schaeffer’s school of thought, of which Dufour was a student, was marked by technological advances, but also transversal partnerships with other art forms. Within the Research Department,12 several research groups operated in parallel to the GRM and produced collaborative and emblematic works, such as La symphonie pour un homme seul (Symphony for One Man Alone, 1950) by Schaeffer and Henry, accompanied by Maurice Béjart’s eponymous ballet. At the GRM, Dufour was an assistant to François Bayle, Guy Reibel, and Marcel Landowski. His works transmit an entire generation’s respect for the father of concrète/acousmatic music. Just as Dufour had reinterpreted Rameau’s music, he would also dedicate an entire cycle to Schaeffer: Souvenir de Pierre (Remembering Pierre), Stèle pour Pierre Schaeffer (Stela for Pierre Schaeffer), and others.

Dufour has continued in this collaborative spirit, whether in educational initiatives on contemporary music, events that have brought together different media arts (such as in the initial project for the Futura Festival to feature acousmatic music, cinema, photography, painting, and sculpture), or collaborative composing. He worked closely with Thomas Brando on the sound production, mixing, and scenario for Hérisson-cathédrale (1990), Chanson pensive (1990), Avalanche (1995), and other pieces, and on the poetic texts read in Les Invasions fantômes (Phantom Invasions, 2011) and sung in Cinq miniatures pour Barbe Bleue (Five Miniatures for Blue Beard, 1998) and Post mortem (et puis paf!) (2012), among others. He collaborated occasionally with others, including Agnès Poisson for Les Joueurs de sons (Sound Players, 1999) and Henry for Chanson de la plus haute tour (Song from the Highest Tower, 2000). For Voix-off (Voice-over, 2005), as many as fourteen artists from different backgrounds, including Dufour’s students from Perpignan, contributed to the piece’s text, recordings, and revisions. This project promoted promising new actors within the contemporary scene and was a way to pursue evolving technologies without leaving the field of composition.

For Dufour, composition is a social commitment. As long as music supports cultural traditions and attitudes, it helps establish a connection with the surrounding world. Although “music has become progressively freed from functional aspects, while composers have become freed from their masters,” “social rules” cannot yet completely disappear, notably “this religion of the concert.” The main stake is to defend the place of contemporary music in the present-day artistic universe, taking into account musical forces at play and the social concerns they may represent.

Dufour has been a spectator in many ideological and institutional conflicts, including those within the GRM. One notable example is the opposition between concrète/acousmatic music, which is made in a studio and which Schaeffer developed and defended, and the real-time music of Pierre Boulez. The underlying cultural issues are considerably different when interpreting a piece that is fixed, for example, recorded on an acousmonium (an ensemble of various kinds of speakers), versus when dealing with the costs and logistics of the crew and equipment needed for real-time works.

Dufour has sought to adapt artistic techniques and transmit practical knowledge even in areas far removed from the distribution centers of the institutional art world. In short, he has wanted to reach as many people as possible, which is an aim no different from that of the radio, from which musique concrète and electroacoustic music emerged. Today, he observed, “the way in which we work on sound in musique concrète is everywhere, in international pop music and techno, as well as in commercials and cinema, where sound design plays an important part.” Dufour has never stopped promoting a dialogue between different types of present-day music. For example, in Le Mystère des tornades (1999), he alternated instrumental music and acousmatic music. He also wrote Piano dans le ciel (Piano in the Sky, 2001), an acousmatic work to be interspersed between piano pieces by other contemporary composers, including Boulez, Gilbert Amy, and Magnus Lindberg, demonstrating his will to gather them together. Confirming Dufour’s intuition about compositional means and their reach, today we can observe that the young generation of composers more easily adapts to the circumstances of the musical message, whatever the aesthetic heritage.

With meticulousness, perseverance, and an understanding of art as artisanry, Dufour creates works free from affectation. Composing is his way to approach the world with a fresh outlook, stripped of the biases of music theory, and favoring, on the contrary, a “verification of perception.” This attitude is close to that a concert audience has, whether they are well-versed in music creation or not. Proximity offers listeners a freedom to go back and forth through a piece, to dive into it, to move around it, to take the time to listen. This new way of exploring music became possible thanks to the technical innovations of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Dufour adapts his practices so that the tool becomes the mere means of building bridges with perception. This tool is then concealed in order to give way to new artistic and musical perspectives. He delivers his musical propositions in the immediacy of the listening. In other words, he composes the listening, as detached as possible from the means of production, instrumental or recorded. His style noticeably evolved with his human concerns, as well as with those of his contemporaries, with experiences, and with encounters, allowing timeless compositional subjects to emerge. With this awareness of aesthetic, technical, and social stakes, Dufour wrote music that reflects and diffracts the music of an era particularly rich in sounds. His work thus helps us focus on the fundamental needs and qualities of contemporary musical production. Beyond aesthetic norms and technical and institutional constraints, contemporary musical production must involve social developments, beginning with teaching and transmitting practical knowledge as an artistic, independent, demanding, and generous social skill.

Translated from French by Jessica L. Hackett.

1. All of Dufour’s music is published by Maison ONA. Certain instrumental pieces have been released by the Motus and Kairos record labels. Since 2021, Kairos has released his full acousmatic works. The first set Complete Acousmatic Works Vol. 1, which includes more than seventeen hours of music, received the Charles Cros Academy International Grand Prize. The complete catalogue is available on https://www.denisdufour.fr/ (link verified on 15 January 2023). 
2. For Dufour, although these schools both combine instrumental sound with sound transmitted through speakers, they remain distinct: “mixed” music includes a recording that, after being edited in a studio, is projected via loudspeaker during an instrumental performance. The terms are often confused today, among several other trends in electroacoustic music, although their underlying creative processes differ. See François-Xavier Féron’s postface on this topic in Vincent ISNARD, Entretiens avec Denis Dufour: La composition de l’écoute, Editions MF, 2021. 
3. The following people count among his students: Carole Rieussec (1953), Philippe Le Goff (1957), Franco Degrassi (1958), Jean-Marc Duchenne (1959), Franck Yeznikian (1969), Jonathan Prager (1972), Lautaro Vieyra (1973), Tomonari Higaki (1974), Vincent Laubeuf (1974), Bérangère Maximin (1976), Armando Balice (1985), Paul Ramage (1986), and Maxime Barthélémy (1989). 
4. Motus is a music company that Dufour created in 1996 to promote and propagate contemporary music. 
5. Futura is an international festival of acousmatic arts, begun in 1993. 
6. Unless otherwise mentioned, all quotes are excerpted from the interviews with Dufour available in ISNARD, Entretiens avec Denis Dufour
7. Offered from 1968 to 1980 by the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique and the GRM, this class was originally entitled Musique fondamentale et appliquée à l’audiovisuel (“Fundamental Music Applied to Audiovisual Media”). 
8. Dufour’s presentation L’Écriture acousmatique describes his way of working with sounds, articulations, sequences, phrasing, etc. The presentation is available online at https://webmedia.inagrm.com/2015/dufour/co/Ecriture_acousmatique_D_Dufour.html#S3hkGeEuEKjwFBQ8Chhfg (link verified on 15 January 2023). 
9. He especially engaged in this work with the Trio GRM, which was among the first experimental synthesizer trios. As early as 1978, Dufour composed pieces for the trio, such as Souvenir de Pierre, for two synthesizers and prepared piano. 
10. Schaeffer was a polytechnician, Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) was an engineer and an architect, and Jean-Claude Risset (1938-2016) was a student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure and obtained an agrégation in physics. 
11. See, for example, Dufour’s presentation on the acousmatic work Nautilus: https://webmedia.inagrm.com/2016/nautilus/hd/co/D_Dufour_Nautilus_youTube.html#BE298eeKz3hVpL676EBjag (link verified on 15 January 2023). His work on articulations, which is complementary to his work on sounds, is just as meticulous. He set it in opposition to the systematism of “music of explosions,” which “uses the two standard sequences that are tension-explosion and tension-rupture” to “attract” and “occupy space.” 
12. The Research Department, open from 1960 to 1974 at the Radio, was founded and directed by Schaeffer. It was composed of several research groups including, in addition to the GRM, the Technology Research Group, the Visual Research Group, and others. 

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2023

  • Solo (excluding voice)
  • Chamber music
    • Le crin s'ébruite for viola and percussion (1977), 15 mn, Maison ONA
    • Souvenir de Pierre for three or more instruments (1978), 5 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Trio for violin, mandolin, synthesizer and live transformation device (1978), 14 mn, Opus 53
    • Velours des dunes for string instrument and synthesizer (1978), 11 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Cueillir à l'arbre un petit garçon for saxophone, synthesizer and real-time transformation device (1979), 14 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Un petit qui t'aime for six percussions and audio support (1979), 15 mn 30 s, Opus 53
    • J.a.ch.H.16 for three synthesizers (1980), 18 mn 45 s, Opus 53
    • Dune for two flutes (1981), 8 mn 30 s, Maison ONA
    • Rêve lisse for violin and two synthesizers (1982), 12 mn, Maison ONA
    • elec Dix portraits for three synthesizers and audio medium (1984), 40 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Ourlé du lac for violin, synthesizer and real-time transformation device (1984), 14 mn, Opus 53
    • Fantaisie soluble for clarinet, horn, percussion, violin, cello and two synthesizers (1985), 14 mn, Opus 53
    • Froncement des yeux for violin, cello and synthesizer (1985), 15 mn, Opus 53
    • Le Pistolet d'or for two violins, two violas and two cellos (1985), 23 mn, Opus 53
    • Tandem oblique for flute and piano (1986), 12 mn, Opus 53
    • Moirures éteintes de la galaxie for clarinet, horn, percussion, violin, cello and two synthesizers (1988), 20 mn, Opus 53
    • Duel for two trumpets (1990), 4 mn, Maison ONA
    • Hérisson cathédrale for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, celesta and harpsichord (1990), 19 mn, Opus 53
    • Interruption for flute, synthesizer, violin, viola, cello and actor (1991), 10 mn, Opus 53
    • Salamandre for flute, oboe, clarinet, harp, violin and cello (1992), 7 mn 30 s, Opus 53
    • Souvenir de craie for flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, accordion and piano four hands (1992), 4 mn, Opus 53
    • Excusez-moi, je meurs for piano, percussion and cello (1996), 6 mn 30 s, Opus 53
    • Trois transcriptions d’après Rameau for flute, oboe, clarinet, harp, piano, violin, viola and cello (1996), 14 mn, Opus 53
    • Lachrymae for six viols (1998), 25 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Le Mystère des tornades for oboe, harp, viola, cello and audio medium (1999), 25 mn 30 s, Opus 53
    • elec L'Heure exacte for clarinet, saxophone, trombone, piano and audio medium (2002), 13 mn, Opus 53
    • Silex for flute, clarinet, violin, viola and cello (2003), 13 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Deux rainettes vertes for two guitars and audio medium (2004), 10 mn 10 s, Maison ONA
    • Secret plié en seize dans le coffre de hune for guitar, violin, viola and cello (2004), 5 mn, Opus 53
    • Oriflamme for saxophone and percussion (2005), 12 mn, Maison ONA
    • elec Salves for flute, saxophone, percussion, piano and audio medium (2005), 35 mn, Opus 53
    • Spiritus Stella for two bass viol (2007), 10 mn, Maison ONA
    • elec Acid Folk for clarinet, cello and audio medium (2008), 42 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Face aux ténèbres for alto saxophone, percussion, piano and audio medium (2009), 10 mn 30 s, Maison ONA
    • elec La Chasse à l'ombilic for narrator, violin, viola, cello and audio medium (2009), 11 mn 6 s, Opus 53
    • Poursuite for violin and cello (2011), 10 mn, Maison ONA
    • Cinq formes d'appel for bass clarinet and trumpet in B flat (2013), 9 mn, Maison ONA
    • Dernier quatuor for two violins, viola and cello (2013), 15 mn, Maison ONA
    • elec Quatuor “les héros anonymes” for flute, oboe, viola, double bass and audio medium (2013), 10 mn 43 s, Maison ONA
    • Stèle pour Pierre Schaeffer for flute, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet and cello (2013), 5 mn, Maison ONA
    • Fluorescence for four flutes (2014), 13 mn, Maison ONA
    • elec Les Fleurs enchantées for three flutes and audio medium (2014), 12 mn, Maison ONA
    • elec Chambre 44 for flute, alto saxophone, percussion, piano and audio medium (2015), 10 mn 30 s, Maison ONA
    • Sprint for flute, percussion, violin, cello and double bass (2015), 12 mn, Maison ONA
    • In-quarto for two violins, viola and cello (2016), 21 mn, Maison ONA
  • Instrumental ensemble music
    • elec La Galerie for three sound bodies, three synthesizers and audio medium (1980), 46 mn 30 s, Opus 53
    • Nuit d'hiver for oboe, clarinet, horn, trombone, glockenspiel, harp and two cellos (1987), 14 mn, Opus 53
    • Nuit d'hiver for oboe, clarinet, horn, trombone, glockenspiel, harp, two cellos and narrator (1987), 14 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Chanson pensive for flute, flute in G, clarinet, basset horn, bass clarinet, viola and sampler (1990), 20 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Le Labyrinthe de l'amour /2 for jazz ensemble and audio medium (1990), 21 mn, Opus 53
    • Archéoptéryx for flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, accordion and piano four-hands (1992), 13 mn, Opus 53
    • Ataraxie for two recorder quartets and recorder ensemble (1992), 12 mn, Opus 53
    • Orange-Cité for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass (1998), 8 mn 30 s, Opus 53
    • Mille soleils for wind ensemble (2002), 18 mn, Opus 53
    • Sphère for symphony orchestra (2003), 6 mn 30 s, Opus 53
    • Flamme for symphony orchestra (2008), 3 mn 30 s, Opus 53
    • Gaillarde for recorder ensemble (2009), 6 mn 30 s, Opus 53
  • Concertant music
    • Concerto for violin and symphony orchestra (1977), 18 mn, Opus 53
  • Vocal music and instrument(s)
  • A cappella vocal music
  • Electronic music / fixed media / mechanical musical instruments
  • Unspecified instrumentation
    • Objet-danse music for a choreography by Dominique Dupuy, company Les Ballets Modernes de Paris (1977), 1 h 33 mn, Opus 53
    • Le Cercle dans tous ses états music for a choreography by Dominique Dupuy, Les Ballets Modernes de Paris Company (1979), 55 mn 30 s, Opus 53
    • Vendredi, jour de liberté music for the performance of the eponymous play by Hugo Claus by the Théâtre du Lys (1983), 25 mn 15 s, Opus 53
    • stage La Cour des immortels du désir music for a choreography by Denis Psaltopoulos, Ozonekasouze company (1985), 1 h 11 mn 5 s, Opus 53
    • stage Exactement le contraire music for a choreography by the company Michel Hallet-Eghayan (1986), 1 h 9 mn, Opus 53
    • elec Mur music for a video installation by Stéphan Barron (2010), 28 mn 40 s, Opus 53
    • elec Le Livre des désordres suite of acousmatic, instrumental and mixed works (2007-2018)

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en janvier 2023)


(liens vérifiés en janvier 2023).

Bibliographie sélective

Écrits de Denis Dufour
  • Denis DUFOUR, Vincent ISNARD, « Denis Dufour, entretiens avec Vincent Isnard. La composition de l’écoute », Collection Paroles, Éditions MF, Paris, avril 2021.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Musiques mixtes : appellations incontrôlées ? », La musique mixte dans la création contemporaine, Journées nationales de la Musique Électroacoustique, 16ème édition du 17 au 21 novembre 2017, iBooks, ex-libris © Opus 53, Paris, Inédit, novembre 2017.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Denis Dufour, compositeur », La Mémoire en acte - Quarante ans de création musicale, CDMC / Collection Paroles, Éditions MF, Paris, avril 2017, p. 103-104.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Le Rire invisible », Le Rire en musique, Melotonia , Presse Universitaire de Lyon, sous la direction de Muriel Joubert et Denis Le Touzé, Lyon, 2017.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Trio TM+ : Premières explorations », Musique et technologie – Regards sur les musiques mixtes,Portraits polychromes n° 23, hors-série thématique, INA, Paris, octobre 2016, p. 135-147.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Écrire, composer, créer », Musique et technologie - Éveiller, enseigner, créer, Portraits polychromes n° 22, hors-série thématique, INA, Paris, 2015, p. 103-136.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Denis Dufour [Terra Incognita, mais plus pour longtemps…] », entretien avec Max Renn, revue Coda - Musiques et cultures électroniques, Paris, avril 2004, p. 20-21.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Quelques souvenirs en forme d’hommage », Ivo Malec, Portraits Polychrome n° 5, Michel de Maule, INA, GRM/CDMC, Paris, 2003, p. 61-62.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Entretien avec Denis Dufour », réalisé par Clément Riot, revue Écouter Voir, Paris, mars 2003.
  • Denis DUFOUR et Alexandre YTERCE, « Rencontre au sommet dufouryterce », entretien recueilli par Steven Hearn et Aymeric Lozet, revue Octopus n° 14, 2002, p. 48-52.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Futura : un festival dédié à la musique acousmatique et aux arts de support », Du sonore au musical : cinquante années de recherches concrètes, 1948-1998, actes du colloque organisé le 8 octobre 1998 à l’École normale de musique de Paris par le Centre d’études et de recherche Pierre Schaeffer, coordonné par Sylvie Dallet et Anne Veitl, L’Harmattan, 2001, p. 377-387.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « À propos du genre acousmatique », L’éducation musicale n° 486, Paris, novembre 2001, p. 20-23.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Peu importe le son… pourvu que j’aie la forme ou une plastique musicale au-delà des sons », Le Son des musiques, entre technologie et esthétique, enquête conduite par François Delalande, Bibliothèque de recherche musicale, INA-Buchet/Chastel, Pierre Zech éditeur, Paris, 2001, p. 142-146.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « L’art acousmatique dans sa totalité », revue Licences n° 1 : 2000-2001, Les Éditions Licences, Paris, 2001, p. 31-35.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Composition instrumentale et acousmatique », Acousmatique 1948-1998 - La musique concrète a fêté son jubilé, revue écouter voir n° 86, Revue des médiathèques et des bibliothèques, Paris, 1999.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Bruno GINER et Régis RENOUARD LARIVIÈRE, « Triple interview », Acousmatique, 1948-1998 la musique concrète a fêté son jubilé, revue écouter voir n° 86. Revue des médiathèques et des bibliothèques, 1999, p. 12.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Entretien avec Denis Dufour », réalisé par Jonathan Prager, revue Ars Sonora, Paris. Première partie, Ars Sonora n° 5, avril 1997, p. 5-22. Deuxième partie, Ars Sonora n° 6, septembre 1997, p. 6-19. Troisième partie, Ars Sonora n° 7, mars 1998, p. 13-35.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Enseignement de la composition de musique électroacoustique », 1967-1997, trente ans d’enseignement de la musique et de la danse en France, Marsyas, hors série n° 42, revue de pédagogie musicale et chorégraphique, Centre de ressources musique et danse de la Cité de la musique, Paris, mai 1997, p. 89-92.
  • François BAYLE, François DONATO, Denis DUFOUR, Marc FAVRE et Bertrand MERLIER, « Le point de vue de Denis Dufour sur l’interprétation des œuvres acousmatiques », compte-rendu de la table ronde réalisé par Hélène Planel, Thélème Contemporain, revue Ars sonora n°4, Ars Sonora, Paris, août 1996, p. 77-83.
  • Denis DUFOUR et all., « Support, narrativité », Réel / Virtuel, cinq questions d’acousmatique, publication interne de l’INA-GRM, février 1992.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Rondo : l’œuvre acousmatique, ce qu’elle est, ce qu’elle n’est pas… », Vous avez dit acousmatique ?, revue Lien, Musiques et Recherches, Ohain (Belgique), 1991, p. 15-16.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Les Espaces de l’extase », L’Espace du son II, revue Lien, Musiques et Recherches, Ohain (Belgique), 1991, p. 136-137.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « De l’écriture », Vers un art acousmatique, Rencontres Live 90, Groupe de Musiques Vivantes de Lyon, Lyon, 1991, p. 61-66.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Explication de texte », Cahiers de leçons de choses, revue d’arts et de littératures, cinquième cahier, MEM/Arte Facts, Lyon, janvier 1982, p. 32-37.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Jean-Loup GRATON, Philippe MION et Jean-Christophe THOMAS, « Réinventer le concert », Le concert Pourquoi ? Comment ?, propos recueillis par Michel Chion, Cahiers recherche musique n° 5, INA-GRM, Paris, 1977, p. 75-81.
  • Denis DUFOUR, entretien avec François Delalande et Jean-Christophe Thomas, Groupe de recherches musicales n° 67, INA-GRM, novembre 1985.
Écrits sur Denis Dufour
  • Pierre BARADEL, « Denis Dufour, portrait d’un compositeur à travers l’analyse de Messe à l’usage des vieillards », soutenance pour le Diplôme d’Étude Musicale, classe de composition acousmatique du Conservatoire à rayonnement régional Perpignan-Méditerranée, 2011.
  • Michel FISHER, « Acuité d’écoute acousmatique et itinéraire timbrique », analyse de l’œuvre de Denis Dufour ‘Collection de timbres’ présentée lors du colloque Enseignement de l’analyse de l’Observatoire musicale français (OMF), Centre de recherches de la faculté de musique et musicologie de l’université Paris Sorbonne, publiée dans la revue Analyse musicale n° 30, février 1993, p. 29-37.
  • Vincent LAUBEUF, « Collection de timbres de Denis Dufour, une analyse selon l’écriture morphologique », mémoire de DEA sous la direction de Ivanka Stoïamova, Université Paris 8 UFR Arts, philosophie, esthétique, Département de musicologie, 1999.
  • Vincent LAUBEUF, « Denis Dufour et l’écriture morphologique », mémoire de maîtrise sous la direction de Daniel Kawka, Faculté de musicologie de l’université Lyon II, 1998.
  • Jean-Christophe THOMAS, « Aridité Féconde », Lectures phénoménologiques, INA-GRM, Paris, février 1988.


  • Denis DUFOUR, Avalanche, François-Michel Rignol : piano, 1 CD Kairos, 2022, 0015088KAI
  • Denis DUFOUR, Complete Acousatic Works Vol.1, 16 CD Kairos, 2021, 0015076KAI.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Stèle pour Pierre Schaeffer ; Oriflamme ; Duel ; Cinq formes d’appel ; Poursuite ; Spiritus Stella ; Dune, dans « Inventions », 1 CD DigiSleeve Motus, 2018, M218010.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Ryoan-ji (le jardin de Pierre de Kyoto), dans « Singularities #4 », avec des œuvres de Jacopo Baboni Schilingi, Robert Scott Thompson, Maria Cristina Kasem, Chris Brown, Pierre Boeswillwald, David Shea et Martina Claussen, 1 CD Digisleeve Singularities, 2017.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Nautilus, dans « Passage à Paris », avec des œuvres de Maxime Barthélemy, Hém-Ish, Maylis Raynal, Alejandro Gomez Villagomez, Esteban Zuniga Dominguez, Eric Broitmann et Sina Fallazadeh, 1 CD Digipack Licences, 2017.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « PH 27-80 », 1 CD Digipack EAP Records, 2013, EAPR01.
  • Denis DUFOUR, La Malédiction des flammes, dans « Brûlures des langues I-X », avec des œuvres de Fabien Saillard, Guillaume Hermen, Emmanuel Mieville, Frédéric Kahn, Vincent Laubeuf et Alexandre Yterce, coffret CD Licences, 2009, LCS CD 01.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Bocalises, grande suite ; Le Lis vert, dans « Bocalises », 1 CD DigiFile Motus, 2006, M306011.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Suite en trois mouvements ; Exil ; Hélice ; Elixir ; La terre est ronde, dans « La Terre est ronde », 1 CD DigiFile Motus, 2003, M303006.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Le Labyrinthe de l’amour dans « Licences n°2 2002-03 », avec des œuvres de Maki, Jacques Lejeune, Catherine Pougeol, Isabel Trocellier et Alexandre Yterce, revue-cd Licences, 2003.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Terra incognita ; Ebene Sieben ; Lux tenebrae, dans « Terra incognita » 1 livre-CD Motus, coll. MotusAcousma, 2002, M199005.
  • Denis DUFOUR, La Nuit du Dibdak dans « Virtual Zoo », avec des œuvres de Philippe Blanchard, Jean-Louis Belmonte, Agnès Poisson, Marc McNulty, Helm & MotoFondue, Bérangère Maximin, Reinhold Knirps, Frédéric Kahn, Bernard Donzel-Gargand & Els Dekker, Jonathan Prager, Marc Favre & Lucia Recio & Gérard Le Vot, Jaqui Détraz, Rodrigo Sigal, Françis Dhomont, Patricio Villaroël & Philippe Deschepper & François Merville, Bruno Bocca, Alex Grillo, Eduardo Miranda, Thierry Lestien, Vincent Laubeuf, Patrick Devers, Petri Kuljuntausta, Rossana Maggia et Artotem, 1 CD Cristal Studio Forum, 2001.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Caravaggio ; Entre Dames, dans « Licences n°1 2000-01 », avec des œuvres de Michel Chion, Georges Gabriele et Alexandre Yterce, revue-cd Licences, 2001.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Où est maintenant la forêt ?, 1 CD Cristal Motus, 1997, M197001.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Tandem oblique dans « L’Air du Large », Annie Ploquin-Rignol : flûte, François-Michel Rignol : piano, avec des œuvres de Bertrand Dubedout, Philippe Leroux, Daniel Tosi et Bruno Giner, livre-cd Motus, 1998, M 298004.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Douze mélodies acousmatiques ; Dix portraits, dans « Dix portraits », 1 livre-CD Motus, 1997, M197002.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Bocalises, petite suite dans « XIX° Concorso internazionale Luigi Russolo di musica elettroacustica », avec des œuvres de Chin Chin Chen, Manuel Rocha Iturbide, Giovanni Verga, A. Russolo, G. Balla et Santoboni Maggia, 1 CD, 1997, ef-er P’97-2.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Chrysalide », 1 CD Digipack INA-GRM, 1996, e5007.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Ataraxie dans « L’Air du temps », Ensemble de flûtes à bec de Lyon, direction : Madeleine Mirocourt, avec des œuvres de George Frederic Haendel, Arnold Cooke, Antonio Vivaldi, Heberhard Werdin et Georg Philipp Teleman, 1 CD, 1993, MA 2005.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Bocalises petite suite ; Suite bleue ; Messe à l’usage des vieillards, dans « Messe à l’usage des vieillards », 1 CD Cristal Accord, 1992, 202222.
  • Denis DUFOUR, « Notre besoin de consolation est impossible à rassasier », 1 CD Cristal INA-GRM, 1991, c1010.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Torrents du miroir dans « 3ème Concours de Composition André Jolivet », avec des œuvres de Antonio Pedro Palacio, Patrice Challulau et Philippe Liederman, 1 CD, 1991, ENMD03.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Rêve lisse dans « TM+ Trio instrumental électroacoustique », avec des œuvres de Yann Geslin, Laurent Cuniot, Philippe Mion et Bernard Parmegiani, 2 cd INA-GRM, 1984, 9115-16 TM.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Souvenir de Pierre dans « Schaeffer, Paroles et Musique », avec des œuvres de Pierre Schaeffer, INA-GRM, 1982, 9106 SC.
  • Denis DUFOUR, Cueillir à l’arbre un petit garçon dans « Duo Delangle, saxophone et piano », Claude Delangle : saxophone, Odile Delangle : piano, avec des œuvres de Jacques Charpentier, Antoine Tisné, Marius Constant et Olivier Messiaen, 1979, REM 10864.