How Pierre Boulez wound up in a Beach Boys cover band

How Pierre Boulez wound up in a Beach Boys cover band


norman lebrecht

January 06, 2016

A Slipped Disc reader explains how this picture came into being:

I was student at Manhattan School of Music. Boulez came to our school in April 2005 for a week of workshops and concerts. He was working one evening with the orchestra while at the same time our school’s Beach Boy Cover Band was performing in the cafeteria. He came through the lobby while I was talking to my friends who handed out the leis and they offered him one, which he took with a smile, and I asked to take a picture. All told it was 20 seconds, but very memorable.


Boula-Boulez (c) Joseph Charles


  • Pedro says:

    Elina Garanča, Denice Graves, Renée Fleming and Anna Netrebko with Boulez. He deserved them and many more. Not very fond of his music though I respected him. IMO one of the last two really great conductors born in the 1920’s – the other being Haitink. Heard many superb performances by him, including Haydn and Mozart works. His Sacre was second to none. His Mahler was revelatory.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Stravinsky strongly criticized Boulez’ recordings of the Sacre, especially the passages which were sloppily done. I don’t think he was a good conductor and to compare him with Haitink may provoke redacted expressions in sensitive readers…. PB tried to perform the score as clearly as possible and advocated ignoring biographical and historical circumstances and context, which isolates the notes from tradition and real life. His approach was always structuralist and dry and often merely dull. He tried to play the notes, and not what is in between or behind or underneath the notes. An overreaction to over-romanticized performing styles.

  • Patrick says:

    Who could turn down a lei from those four?