The Dutilleux year starts in … Wales

The Dutilleux year starts in … Wales


norman lebrecht

January 04, 2016

This is weird but rather wonderful. The centennial of a Gallic composer will kick off in les pays de Galles.

Henri Dutilleux - portrait of French composer in his studio, Paris, October 2003. b. 22 January 1916 -

Cardiff University School of Music is collaborating with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales to mount a tribute to the internationally-acclaimed composer Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013).

A series of orchestral and chamber music concerts featuring Dutilleux’s music at St David’s Hall, Hoddinott Hall and Cardiff University Concert Hall starts on his centenary day of 22 January 2016 and continues into March.

Dr Caroline Rae, Reader at the School of Music, said: “Henri Dutilleux was among the greatest and most celebrated French composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Heir to the tradition of Debussy and Ravel, his music is characterised by that most French of attributes – magic of timbre.

“It is fitting that Dutilleux’s centenary will be celebrated in Cardiff as he had connections with the city. He was made an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University during his visit to the city in 2008 for the BBC Discovering Dutilleux Festival organised by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in collaboration with Cardiff University.”

Alongside the series of concerts, the School of Music will also host the Dutilleux Centenary Symposium and present a day of talks by eminent composers and scholars investigating Dutilleux’s music and legacy. Speakers include Eric Tanguy, Julian Anderson, Caroline Potter and Caroline Rae. The opening address will be presented by Her Excellency Madame Sylvie Bermann, Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom, will present the opening address. Admission to the Symposium is free.

Dutilleux’s music will also be featured daily on BBC Radio 3’s acclaimed Composer of the Week from 11 to 16 January 2016. Dutilleux scholars Caroline Rae and Caroline Potter join Donald Macleod in an investigation of his music.



  • Backdesker says:

    Sorry, but I don’t see why this should be described as ‘weird’. It isn’t completely unknown for significant events to take place outside London occasionally, and as the article makes clear, this isn’t the first time this composer has been celebrated in the barren wastes beyond the Severn Bridge.

  • V.Lind says:

    I think this is an enchanting and entirely laudable enterprise. I hope people gather from all over to participate. I’d be there like a shot if I could, and I hold no particular brief for Dutilleux — but like him enough to wish I could profit from this series of events.

  • debussyste says:

    It’s great that the brits hold french music in such a high esteem but it’s a shame the french don’t know anything about english music apart ” Didon and Aenas ” of Purcell and the War Requiem of Britten. Perhaps it’s just because this music is not played at all in France so the public can’t even start to know it !

  • George King says:

    In one of the major specialist CD stores in Paris two years ago I couldn’t find more than two or three discs of his music.

  • Alexander Walker says:

    I believe that he will prove to be one of the lasting composers of his generation. The music is serious, has an original voice and is extremely well-written. I look forward to the opportunity of hearing much of it live.

  • Ppellay says:

    Dutilleux has always seemed to be more appreciated outside France than within. But then, look at the list of world-calibre musicians who have championed his music over the years: Munch, Szell, Ozawa, Rostropovich, Stern, Salonen, Rattle, Gergiev, Fleming, Sophie Mutter, Chung, Tortelier, Harrell, etc.
    The realisation is finally dawning that he’s every bit as international as Messiaen, and if that’s not a good thing, I don’t know what is!