Edgard Varèse

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Varèse, Edgard


Born Dec. 22, 1885, in Paris; died Nov. 7, 1965, in New York. American composer, conductor, and public figure in music. French by nationality.

Varèse studied composition under A. Roussel, V. d’Indy, and C. Widor in Paris. In 1908 he appeared in Berlin with the Symphonic Chorus, which had been organized by him. Beginning in 1915, Várese lived in the USA, where he founded a number of musical groups and organizations; he also took part in creating the Pan-American Association of Composers (1926). Várese was a representative of modern musical avantgardism. He experimented with the renovation of timbre in the musical idiom with the aid of modern technology and industrial noises; he utilized electronic music (Electronic Poem; Ionization, written for 41 percussion instruments and two sirens); and he tried to extend the acoustical potentials of musical instruments. Although public performances of Varèse’s works in Europe and the USA evoked protests from the audiences, he influenced modern avant-gardists.


Wilkinson, M. “Edgar Varèese—Pioneer and Prophet.” Melos, 1961, no. 3.
Ouellette, F. Edgard Varèese. Paris, 1966. (Contains bibliography.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Western composers have been notating specific vibratos in their scores since Edgar Varese's revolutionary work Ecuatorial, composed in 1927.
The work, only partially reinstalled in Basel, uses documents and images to examine three examples of late-modernist utopianism: Le Corbusier's visionary Philips Pavilion for the World Exhibition in 1958, the Poeme Electronique that Edgar Varese composed for this pavilion, and Nicolas Schoffer's project Die kybernetische Stadt (Cybernetic City), 1979, with its urban concept of aesthetic and sexual hygiene.
They include Charles Ives, Edgar Varese and Olivier Messiaen from the classical side, and John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Anthony Braxton from the jaz z arena.