Info / Methodology


The Brahms database concerns contemporary composers born after 1900, and whose works are mainly catalogued after 1945. These criteria are applied with discernment, with the aim of providing any information that might shed light on the reader’s understanding of the history of contemporary music. For example, a few major founding figures of musical modernity who do not meet these criteria have been added because they were abundantly cited in the biographies or documents of more recent composers (Schoenberg, Stravinsky, etc.).
The first generation to enter the database by right is therefore the one constituted by John Cage, Olivier Messiaen, and Elliott Carter.


The data has been progressively updated since July 2007, replacing the old version of the database, developed between 1996 and 2001 by Marc Texier. The information may therefore be incomplete for some composers not yet processed: in this case the indication “! Information prior to 2002” appears at the top of the page. For all other documents, the date of last update is indicated at the top of the page.

Updates and new entries

Updates are done composer by composer. For a given composer, the following documents are systematically reviewed or created:

• A biography
• A complete catalogue of his/her works (including, if possible, works that have disappeared, have been withdrawn or are posthumous)
• A list of bibliographic, discographic and internet resources
• Additional documents (work itineraries, interviews, analyses, program notes, etc.).

The definition of priorities for updates and new entries by composers is carried out according to a methodology based on the observation of European cultural life:

Before each season, we note the upcoming programs of the main European festivals, institutions, and musical ensembles involved in the field of musical creation. This observation begins with IRCAM’s own activity over the past two years, then that of its privileged partners during the past year, and ending with the major European institutions and artistic festivals during the current year.
Each composer is credited with points according to the importance and density of the musical activity concerning him/her. This ranking makes it possible to define the priorities for each quarter;
If a composer has not obtained enough points to be included in the priorities, he or she accumulates these points over the following quarter and thus gradually moves up the list of priorities.
Once updated, the documents attached to a composer are valid for three years, after which the process described above resumes.

Errors or Omissions

If the update has already been made (date after June 2007): we invite musicologists, composers (or their publishers) to inform us of any important errors or omissions. It will be corrected, as far as possible, during the following quarter. Similarly, we invite them to inform us of new works, mentioning all elements necessary for the creation or update of contents.

If the update has not been carried out (indication: “update to come”) composers may inform us of important errors or omissions. These indications will be taken into account at the time of the next update. Composers may also request the withdrawal of their biography pending the update.

To do so, please write to the publication administrator.