Edgard Varèse

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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.)
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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.
They were joined by writers like Henri-Pierre Roche and the composer Edgar Varese.