Jean-Louis Martinet

1908 - 1999



French composer Jean-Louis Martinet was born on November 8th 1912 in Sainte Bazeille, Lot et Garonne. He studied fugue with Koechlin at Schola Cantorum before attending the Paris Conservatory and studying composition wih Roger Ducasse and conducting with Münch and Désormiére, taking the premier prix for composition in 1943. He studied in Messiaen’s analysis class alongside Boulez and studied 12-note serialism with Leibowitz in 1945, similarly like Boulez. In 1945 he also completed his first large-scale composition – the symphonic tone poem Orphée – which derived its style from Messiaen, Debussy and Stravinsky. After this his style showed the clear influence of serialism, but in a very different way to Boulez. His style is more classical in its serialism in that it is much less richly elaborated in rhythm and colour. He was awarded the Grand Prix Musical of the city of Paris in 1952 and around this time he decided that in order to reach a larger audience, he needed to simplify his style. As such the works that followed were quite Bartókian in the frantic opening rondo and more like Messiaen in the modal lyricism of the closing slow section of the Mouvement symphonique no.1 – the first accomplished, tonal piece in this new style. He lived for a brief spell in Montreal where he was a professor at the conservatory between 1971 and 1976, after which he returned to France before passing away in Paris on December 20th 2010.