Ballif, Claude

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Claude Ballif


Born: May 22, 1924

Died: July 24, 2004

Country: France

Studies: Conservatories of Bordeaux, Paris, and Berlin

Teachers: Pierre Schaeffer, Noel Gallon; Vaubourgoin

After studying music at Bordeaux, Claude Ballif entered the Paris Conservatory in 1948 in the classes of Noël Gallon, Tony Aubin and Olivier Messiaen. He then took advanced classes at the Berlin Conservatory (1954) with Boris Blacher and Josef Rufer, then followed courses in Darmstadt where he met notably Luciano Berio, Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Bruno Maderna. In 1959 he worked as an assistant with the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (1959-1962). On the fringes of schools and systems, and with a perfect mastery of non-octaviating spaces together with the investigation of novel sonorities, the music of Claude Ballif reveals expressive variety, together with rhythmic and harmonic imagination. His output covers all domains of composition. It includes solo pieces in the Solfeggietti series (1961-1999), works for percussion (Cendres, 1946; Timbres et postes, 1977), orchestra (Lovecraft, 1955; À cor et à cri, 1961; Haut les rêves, 1984; Au clair de la lune bleue, 2001), two operas (Dracoula, 1984; Il suffit d'un peu d'air, 1991) and many pieces of sacred music (Quatre antiennes à la Sainte Vierge, 1952; Le Livre du Serviteur, 1988). A pedagogue, Claude Ballif taught analysis and later composition at the Paris Conservatory from 1982 until his retirement in 1990. He is also the author of several articles and publications, including Introduction à la métatonalité, in which he sets out his language.[1]

Works for Percussion

...Cendres (Ashes), op.1 - Percussion Sextet
La Chanson d'Atanasio - Marimba Solo
L'Habitant du labyrinthe, op.54 - Percussion Duo
Solfeggietto, op.36, no.12 - Timpani
Solfeggietto, op.36, no. 16 - Marimba
Timbres et Postes, op.51 - Percussion Sextet