Jean-Claude Risset

Composer Jean-Claude Risset was a pioneer in the field of computer music and recipient of a great many honors for this music and research (especially in the area of sound synthesis). After studying the sciences, in addition to composition and piano with teachers like André Jolivet (Le Jeune France co-founder), Risset went on to work at Bell Labs, with Max Matthews, for a few years in the late ’60s, working on applications that would imitate instruments and others sounds. He brought sound synthesis to Orsay in the early ’70s, and Marseille and Paris — to the Institute for Acoustic Music Research and Creation, with Pierre Boulez — in the mid-’70s. He became IRCAM’s computer music director from 1975-1979, after which he served as Director of Research at facilities including CNRS; Risset received the CNRS Bronze Medal in 1971, the Silver Medal in 1987, and the Gold Medal in 1999, for his work and related writings, such as his computerized sound synthesis catalogue of 1969. His other awards include the Dartmouth Prize (1970), first place in the Bourges Digital Music competition (1980), Ars Electronica Austria (1987), Grand Prix National de la Musique (1990), Musica Nova Prague (1995), and an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of Edinburgh in the mid-’90s. His best work spans decades and includes “Sud” (1985), “Aventure de lignes, Profiles” (1981), “Mirages” (1978), “Inharmonique” (1977), “Musique pour Little Boy” (1968), and “Fantasie pour Orchestre” (1963).