updated 5 July 2023

Francis Dhomont

French composer, Canadian resident born 2 November 1926 in Paris.

Trained by Nadia Boulanger and Charles Koechlin, Francis Dhomont began his career composing instrumental music. But from 1947, before musique concrète was theorized by Pierre Schaeffer, he began experimenting with one of the first Webster wire recorder models. He would record sound objects, before this term existed, and compose with them.

Dhomont settled in Baux-de-Provence, where, to earn a living and raise his children, he became a woodworker. In his free time, he composed in a studio he built in Avignon. Away from the Parisian music scene, he started producing his music in a closed circuit and only composed acousmatic pieces. On discovering works by the Groupe de Recherche Musicale, he started a course with them from 1973 to 1974 and programmed their creations in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence at the Musiques Multiples festival, which he founded and was president of from 1975 until 1979. It was during one of these festivals that he met the soprano Marthe Forget, with whom he traveled to Canada, settling in Québec. He carried out a one-year residence at the Université de Montréal’s Music Faculty and stayed twenty-six years on Canadian soil. During this time, he wrote, composed, and taught, mainly at the Université de Montréal from 1980 to 1996. Since 2004, Dhomont has been living in Avignon.

Apart from works written in his first few years of composing, Dhomont’s catalog is strictly dedicated to acousmatic music. This form, by its nature, is absent of any visual spectacle. Affected by eye problems in his youth, Dhomont was forced to remain in the dark to heal. These conditions, present during his formative years of making music, made his output a strictly sound affair.

These conditions are also the reason behind the recurrent theme of darkness and night in his catalog. Examples include Figures de la nuit (Figures of the Night, 1991), Studio de nuit (Night Studio, 1992), Nocturne à Combray (Nocturne in Combray, 1996), and Forêt profonde (Deep Forest, 1996). This last piece, inspired by Austrian-American psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales also attests to his sensitivity toward psychoanalysis as a subject of composition. He read and worked on psychiatrist R.D. Laing’s writing, particularly Knots, a collection of poetic texts on confusions of the mind and difficulties in relationships. He later drew inspiration from Laing’s book The Divided Self for his piece Sous le regard d’un soleil noir (Under the Gaze of a Black Sun, 1979-1981), which deals with schizophrenia. This piece is a good example of Dhomont’s belief that electroacoustic music allows “sound compositions close to opera in their dramaturgy, but an opera without singers, without instruments, and completely free from the conventions of lyrical art.”1 Often bordering on texts, even when absent of lyrics, his pieces are figurative and develop an idea, as the different titles of his cycles testify: Cycle de l’errance (Wandering Cycle), Cycle du son (Sound Cycle), Cycle des profondeurs (Deep Cycle).

Dhumont is very active in contemporary music institutions. A founding member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community begun in 1986, he is also president of the Marseille collective Les Acousmonautes and the Klang Projekte Weimar organization’s Ehrenpatron. In 2014, he became Honorary Member of the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music (CIME). He has also been guest editor for the reviews Musiques & Recherches and Circuit and directed several programs for Radio-Canada, such as Voyage au bout de l’inouï (Journey to the End of the Incredible) and Radio France, such as L’Acousmathèque.

Awards and Prizes

  • Honorary president of the Klang! festival (Montpellier), 2017
  • Grand prix Giga-Hertz-Preis, 2013
  • Qwartz Pierre-Schaeffer, 2012
  • Baiocco d’oro, 2012
  • Doctorate honoris causa from the Université de Montréal, 2007
  • SACEM prize for best contemporary electroacoustic creation, 2007
  • Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award, Canada Council for the Arts, 1997
  • Prix Ars Electronica “Auszeichnungen” for Chiaroscuro, 1992
  • First Prize at the Tape Music Competition at Brock University (Canada) for Points de fuite (Vanishing Points), 1985
  • Prix du Concours International de Bourges, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1988

  1. Daniel TERUGGI, “Francis Dhomont,” Portraits polychromes, Paris, INA-GRM, 2006, p. 14.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2023

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en juin 2023).


  • Frédéric DALLAIRE, « Le (re)mixage musical de George Martin et Francis Dhomont : la modulation, le chevauchement, l’interférence », _in Intermédialités / Intermediality _, n° 23, printemps 2014.
  • Francis DHOMONT, « Dynamique de l’arrêt sur image » in Ouïr, entendre, écouter, comprendre après Schaeffer, Paris, Ina, Buchet/Chastel, 1999.
  • Francis DHOMONT (dir.), « L’espace du son », Musiques et Recherches n° 1, 1998.
  • Francis DHOMONT (dir.), « Petite apologie de l’art des sons fixés », in Circuit, Volume 4, numéro 1-2, 1993, p. 55–66.
  • « Francis Dhomont at 80 », Computer Music Journal, Volume 30 n° 3, Fall 2006, 108 p.
  • Chantal LAPLANTE, « Le tandem Dhomont-Vande Gorne : la connexion acousmatique Québec/Belgique », in Circuit, Volume 31, numéro 2, 2021, p. 69–78.
  • Andréa MARSOLAIS-ROY, Loriane TAKLA, Vanessa SORCE-LÉVESQUE, « Analyse de Espace/Escape, pièce électroacoustique de Francis Dhomont », Circuit, Volume 25, Number 2, 2015, p. 65-81.
  • Maxime MCKINLEY, « Ultime édition de Rien à voir. Entretien avec Francis Dhomont sur l’avenir acousmatique », in Circuit, Volume 16, numéro 3, 2006, p. 119-124.
  • Rosemary MOUNTAIN, « From Wire to Computer: Francis Dhomont at 80 », in Computer Music Journal, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Autumn, 2006), p. 10-21.
  • Daniel TERUGGI (dir.), « Francis Dhomont », Portraits polychromes, Paris, INA-GRM, 2006.


  • Francis DHOMONT, Phoenix XXI ; Machin de machine ; Perpetuum mobile (Pluies fantômes) ; Quelques éclats ; Dénaturé parmé sons ; Happy new half-century, Adrian ; Glank-50 ; Forte-piano ; Tintamarre ! ; Petit souper magazine ; Le flux des sons ; La Bayle musique, dans « Images nomades », 1 CD Empreintes DIGITALes, 2020, IMED 20167.
  • Francis DHOMONT, « Le Cri du choucas », 1 CD Empreintes DIGITALes, 2016, IMED 16138.
  • Francis DHOMONT, Premières traces du choucas ; Brief an den Vater ; À propos de K, dans « Études pour Kafka », 1 CD Empreintes DIGITALes, 2009, IMED 09102.
  • Francis DHOMONT, Here and there ; Je te salue, vieil océan ! ; Miroitements ; Artifices ; Météores ; Voyage-miroir ; Corps et âme, dans « …et autres utopies », 1 CD Empreintes DIGITALes, 2006, IMED 0682.
  • Francis DHOMONT, Vol d’arondes ; En cuerdas ; Les moirures du temps ; Studio de nuit ; Lettre de Sarajevo ; Un autre printemps ; Drôles d’oiseaux ; L’électro, dans « Jalons », 1 CD Empreintes DIGITALes, 2003, IMED 0365.
  • Francis DHOMONT, Corps et âme ; Simulacres : un autoportrait ; Figures dans la nuit ; Nocturne à Combray ; Mais laisserons-nous mourir Ariana ? ; Convulsive ! ; Autour de la Maison Usher ; Syntagmes ; Métonymie ou le corps impossible ; Cité du dedans, dans « Sonopsys N° 1 », 2 CD Sonopsys, 2002, SON 1.
  • Francis DHOMONT, Objets retrouvés ; AvatArsSon ; Novars ; Phonurgie, dans « Cycle du son », 1 CD Empreintes DIGITALes, 2001, IMED 0158.
  • Francis DHOMONT, « Frankenstein Symphony », 1 CD Asphodel, 1997, 0978.
  • Francis DHOMONT, « Forêt profonde », 2 CD Empreintes DIGITALes, 1996, IMED 9634.
  • Francis DHOMONT, Points de fuite ; … mourir un peu : Espace/Escape ; Novars ; Chiaroscuro ; Météores ; Signé Dionysos, dans « Mouvances - Métaphores », 2 CD Empreintes DIGITALes, 1991, IMED-9107 / 08-CD.
  • Francis DHOMONT, « Sous le regard d’un soleil noir », 1 vinyle INA-GRM, 1982, n° 9109 dh.