Kyoto Prize Symposium 2010

Maestro Pierre Boulez (Arts and Philosophy), world-renowned composer and conductor, gives a personal commentary on his artistic philosophy as he conducts selected portions of Sur Incises, one of his major works, in an intimate and unprecedented appearance.

Thursday, April 22, 2010
3:30-5 p.m.
Shiley Theatre, Camino Hall
University of San Diego

Free, reservations required

To register, go to

NOTE: Seating is limited. First come, first seated in theater. 
Additional seating in overflow rooms with video feed.

The Inamori Foundation’s 25th Annual Kyoto Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Arts and Philosophy was presented to Pierre Boulez on November 10, 2009.

Born in France in 1925, Boulez showed early interest in both music and mathematics. Encouraged by his father to pursue a career in engineering, he opted instead for the Paris Conservatoire in 1942. He earned honors in the study of harmony and showed exceptional abilities as a musical analyst. Boulez’ research led him to an appreciation of atonality and to the study of dodecaphonic music.

In 1946, Boulez was appointed musical director of the new Compagnie Renaud-Barrault, where he laid the foundations of his career as a conductor with performances of theatre music. He continued his work as a composer and his “Second Sonata,” published in 1950, first spread Boulez's fame abroad to the American avant garde. Following works further developed his reputation as the “greatest composer of serial music” as his music forged links between serialism and work by such composers as Debussy and Stravinsky.

Boulez founded the Domaine Musical concert society in 1954. By the late 1960s, he had begun expanding into classical, romantic, modern and contemporary genres. He produced literary works that continued his exploration of new concepts in music, including the idea of leaving the specific ordering of movements or sections of music to be chosen for a particular night of a performance. As director of the Institute for Research and Coordination Acoustic/Music (IRCAM) at the Centre Pompidou in the 1970s, Boulez devoted himself to the development of software and hardware for computer-based real-time audio processing, becoming a pioneer in the advancement of computer music.

His reputation as a conductor continued to grow as well. Boulez has directed most of the world's leading symphony orchestras and ensembles since the late fifties and is particularly famed for his polished interpretations of twentieth century classics as well as for numerous performances of contemporary music. He has conducted diverse music, from opera productions and nineteenth century repertoire to a 1984 collaboration with Frank Zappa.

Boulez remains active in music today, recording and conducting leading orchestras around the world.

Pierre Boulez

Articles About Boulez