updated 20 September 2021
© Caroline Doutre

Yves Chauris

French composer born 12 March 1980 in Brest.

Yves Chauris was introduced to the piano and improvisation at an early age. He studied at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he earned three first prizes, and in 2005 he left with a degree. He later had two residencies, at Casa de Velázquez from 2008 to 2010 and at Villa Kujoyama in 2011. During the latter, he wrote the string quartet Shakkei, a piece whose starting point imitates the sound of Japanese cicadas. Chauris has won several prizes, including the 2005 Fondation Francis et Mica Salabert Prize, the 2008 Pierre Cardin Prize for musical composition, and the 2019 SACEM Hervé Dugardin Prize.

His pieces have been played by the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Les Siècles, the Orchestre National de France, and the Orchestre National d’Ile de France, by ensembles such as Intercontemporain, Itinéraire, Atmusica, and Sillages, by soloists and conductors such as Jean-Guihen Queyras, Bertrand Chamayou, Jean-Frédéric Neuburger, Nicolas Hodges, François-Xavier Roth, Pablo Heras-Casado, and Nicholas Collon, and at venues and festivals such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Ars Musica in Bruxelles, Radio-France’s Festival Présences, Musica in Strasbourg, the Philharmonie de Paris, and the Donaueschingen Festival.

His works hold a tenuous relationship with poetry, notably that of Stéphane Mallarmé in Solitude, récif, étoile (Solitude, Reef, Star; 2002) for piano and ensemble, and Paul Celan in Entre toujours et jamais (Between Always and Never, 2005) for orchestra. In his pieces, Chauris is primarily concerned with space and directionality, leaving ample room for silence. This is most evident in his piece Why so quiet (2015) for large orchestra. This title is a translation of poet André du Bouchet’s essay, Pourquoi si calmes, which speaks of the unnatural silence that precedes an earthquake. Sound propagation is central to the score. Six percussionists are placed on the periphery of the orchestra to “open the field of sound to a maximum.” R.FL.TS D.NS L’… (2021) is a rereading of Claude Debussy’s Reflets dans l’eau (Reflections in the Water), itself a rendering of the myth of Narcissus. For this piece, the instrumental ensemble is divided into two groups that mirror one another and are placed on independent stages. The piano soloist is divided as well, playing on two perpendicular pianos. In this way, “the soloist’s timbre, tuning and color are constantly duplicated.”1 This diffraction of sound is further reinforced by two stand-up pianos placed at the extremities of the room. The work was premiered in September 2021 at the Philharmonie de Paris, alongside pieces by Yann Robin and Brice Pauset.

1. Jéremie Szpirglas, “Échos de narcisse: Entretien avec Yves Chauris, Brice Pauset et Yann Robin,” Ensemble Intercontemporain, 2 September 2021. 

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2021


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(liens vérifiés en septembre 2021).