Ernest Ansermet

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Ansermet, Ernest


Born Nov. 11, 1883, in Vevey; died Feb. 20, 1969, in Geneva. Swiss conductor.

Ansermet studied in Lausanne, Paris, and Geneva. Beginning in 1912 he was a conductor in Montreux and from 1915 to 1918 in Geneva, where he organized the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, one of the best orchestras in Europe. Ansermet was well known as a promoter of modern music, especially the works of I. F. Stravinsky. During the years 1915–23 he was musical director of S. Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet. Ansermet went on tour throughout Europe, America, and the USSR (for the first time in 1928). He was the composer of symphonic and chamber works as well as the author of works about music.


Débat sur l’art contemporain. Paris, 1948.
Entretiens sur la musique. Neuchâtel, 1963.
Les fondements de la musique dans la conscience humaine, 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. Neuchâtel, 1965.
References in periodicals archive ?
A recent thesis by Tanya Hage challenges this statement with compelling sources, having found evidence that Stravinsky was well aware of ragtime and current American jazz music thanks to his friend Ernest Ansermet, who conducted the first performance of Histoire.
Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Serge Diaghilev, Andre Gide, and Les Six play cameo roles in these accounts, while Ernest Ansermet, Jean Cocteau, and Darius Milhaud are directly quoted.
Mussorgsky's "Dance of the Persian Slaves" from Khovanshchina, with Ernest Ansermet and the L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande from 1964, was more up my alley, lighter and more exotic.
Today, the collection keeps musical manuscripts in the hands of Belgian composers such as Jules Denefve (1814-1877), and many unique Belgian editions of the 18th century, as well as concert programs, posters, letters, and autographs from the hands of famous musicians and composers (including Alban Berg, Alfred Cortot, Vincent d'Indy, Ernest Ansermet, Charles-Marie Widor, and Guillaume Lekeu).
Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet had a keen interest in contemporary music, counting among his premieres those of Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat in 1918 and of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at Glyndebourne in 1946.
The composer even recorded the ballet with the short-note version, and evidently instructed Ernest Ansermet to do likewise, for Ansermet's copy of the score in the Geneva public library has the short-note version written in by hand.
His perceptive examination and criticism of twelve-note technique, seen as an abstraction rather than a linguistic tool (and analogous in some ways to that of Ernest Ansermet in Les Fondements de la Musique dans la Conscience Humaine), his rebuttal of contemporary historicist and evolutionary dogmas, and his appreciation of composers at the time considered too traditional, too popular and therefore irrelevant, such as Nino Rota or Benjamin Britten (whose A Midsummer Night's Dream he defines as 'a non-conformist modern opera'), make him stand out from the chorus of critical voices of the 20th century.
There is no original publishing information supplied -- no engineer, producer, or recording date; there are no track timings; and there is an erroneous listing on the spine for Ernest Ansermet rather than Kenneth Alwyn as the conductor.
To Munch from: Ernest Ansermet (2), Samuel Barber (5), Paul Bastide, Serge Baudo, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Capdevielle, Robert Casadesus, Paul Claudel, Aaron Copland, Alfred Cortot (4), Claude Delvincourt, Henri Dutilleux (5), Carl Flesch, Lukas Foss (3), Jean Francaix, Wilhelm Furtwangler (20), Gewandhaus Director [not named], Tibor Harsanyi, Arthur Honegger (5); Jacques Ibert, D.