French composer Pierre Henry, who helped pioneer the musique concrète genre of electronic music, has died at the age of 89.
Musique concrète is a compositional approach that treats recorded sounds as ‘concrete’ elements to be chopped, manipulated and arranged – originally on audio tape – to create music.
Henry was a classically trained musician, studying at the Paris Conservatoire between 1938 & 1948. Starting in 1949, he worked with Pierre Schaeffer at Club d’Essai studio Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (RTF). He went on to found the first private electronic music studio in France.
Henry composed a wide variety music, including music for ballets and films. He is the first composer to score a film using musique concrète, the 1952 short Astrologie ou le miroir de la vie. He also released dozens of albums.
Henry was featured in the 2007 film, The Art Of Sounds (French with subtitles):
Pierre Henry & Michel Colombier – Psyché Rock:
Pierre Henry – Fragments pour Artaud:
Photo: jean-christophe windland