Isabelle Aboulker

b. 1938



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Isabelle Aboulker was born in 1938 under the concordant influences of a grandfather composer, Henry Février, and a father, Marcel Aboulker, who was both a film director and a writer. In parallel with her studies in music theory and accompaniment at the Paris Conservatory, she composed for the cinema, the theatre, and the television. An accompanist, a choral director and subsequently teacher of young singers at the Paris Conservatory, she focussed her creative activity from 1981 on the voice and opera. Attentive to prosody, demanding in the choice of libretti, she considers herself an heir to the French tradition of Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc. The excellent welcome accorded to the premiere of her first stage work Les Surprises de l’Enfer (1981) revealed her orientation: Leçons de français aux étudiants américains (1983), Trois folies d’opéra pour trois femmes compositeurs (1986), Cinq Nô Modernes (1992), La Lacune (1993), Monsieur Balzac fait son theatre (1999), Le Renard à l’opéra (2004). The name of Isabelle Aboulker is no less closely associated with opera for children. From Moi, Ulysse (1982, commissioned by Jean-Claude Malgoire for the Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing) to Jérémy Fisher (2007, commissioned by the Debussy Quartet and Lyons Opera), her works Atchafalaya, Martin Squelette, Douce et Barbe Bleue, La Fontaine et le Corbeau, Les Fables Enchantées, Les Enfants du Levant are frequently performed by conservatories and music schools, and they regularly appear in the youth programmes of the major French and foreign opera houses. Douce et Barbe Bleue and Les Fables Enchantées have been released as book-CDs by Gallimard Jeunesse. Isabelle Aboulker has also composed, in the collection Écoutez-lire, several scores that accompany Le Petit Prince, Inconnu à cette adresse, L’Ami retrouvé. In 1999 she was awarded a prize by the Académie des Beaux-Arts and in 2000 received the SACD music prize.


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