Pierre Henry Dead At 89

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

4 thoughts on “Pierre Henry Dead At 89

  1. One of the most influential composers of the past few decades.
    His groundbreaking experiments will keep inspiring sound explorers for generations to come.

  2. A real giant of 20th Century music. You can thank him and Pierre Schaeffer for inventing sampling in the late 40s (using ‘broken’ records, featuring looped grooves in the vinyl, creating what we now call ‘breaks’ not just with music snippets, but taken from any natural/mechanical recorded sound), for putting on the first speaker concerts (1948!!), and for being the first to mix synths and pop music successfully. Also, JMJ is the descendant of Henry, the later a master of the live electronic event. RIP, cher Maître.

  3. Jesse, I appreciate you sharing this sort of news. I read all manner of synth porn sites and Synthtopia is consistently the only place I hear about this sort of thing. It’s awkward to say thank you for bad news but thank you.

    What a life he lead!

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