Pousseur Henri

/ 1929 Contemporary Music

Henri Pousseur was born in Malmédy (Belgium) on June 23, 1929. He completed his musical studies at the Conservatories of Liege and Brussels between 1947 and 1953 (but considers himself (for the most part to be self-taught, or rather a pupil of all the music that he has heard). In 1950 he became part of the ínternational avant-garde music scene (dodecaphonic, serial, electroníc, aleatory music ... ) alongside Boulez, Stockhausen, Berio and others. In 1954 he married Théa Schoonbrood with whom he was to have four children:Isabelle (1957), Denis (1958), Marianne (1961) andHélène (1965). In 1960 Pousseur took up an independent personal position "rejecting the rejection" of the experiences of the past (called by some as a "clean sweep" ["tabula rasa"]) and endeavouring to go beyond the dichotomy between old and new, "cultured" and popular, etc. This change of direction (which, in his view, doesn't go against his strong "Webernian" faith but instead expresses it more effectively) corresponds with the start of his collaboration wíth Michel Butor, a collaboration which has continued up to the present. (Votre Faust, 1961168; La rose des voix, 1982; Le sablier du Phenix, 1994, etc. are some of the twenty or so works which are the fruit of this partnership). Pousseur has taught in Germany, Switzerland, the United States and in Belgium. In 1970 he started teaching at the University and Conservatory in Liege, where he founded the "Centre de recherches e de formation musicales de Wallonie". He became Director of the Conservatory of Liege in 1975 and gave energy both to a renewal of teaching methods and techniques and more generally to the musical life of his town. Following this, from 1983 to 1987, he was invited to direct the "Institut de Pédagogíe Musicale de Paris"' now integrated with the "Cité de la Musique" which is the "Centre de Ressources". Pousseur founded the journal Marsyas at this time, and over forty issues have so far been published. After setting up a new inítiative allowing students to transfer from the University to the Conservatory with alicence en communicatíon musicale, open also for students of the Conservatory, and his continued teaching at the two institutions, he retired in 1994 and moved to Waterloo with his wife in order to be nearer Brussels and their children and grandchildren. He was the composer in residence at K.U.L. (University of Lovanio) until 1999. Pousseur has to his credit over 150 works of every type, shape and dimension, as well as numerous articles and the odd book. He has an Honorary Doctorship at the Universitíes of Metz and Lille III.
The composer dies in Brussels on March 6th, 2009.