Henri Dutilleux

1916 - 2013



Critical Acclaim
The influence of Dutilleux's music on the 20th and 21st centuries isn't to be measured in how his work revolutionised the languages of musical possibility, or even in the roster of his pupils (who include Gérard Grisey). Instead, his music is a realisation of a complete world, independent of concerns for cutting-edge contemporaneity, and one that becomes more essential the more you hear it, above all for how he transforms his astonishing compositional refinement into real emotional immediacy - Tom Service, The Guardian, 21/01/2013

[Dutilleux] achieved a wholly individual synthesis of ear-catching colours and harmonies with formal rigour. In a musical world where many loudly proclaim their independence, he was a true but discreet indépendant - Roger Nichols, The Guardian, 22/05/2013


Born on 22 January 1916, French composer Henri Dutilleux was mainly active in the second half of the twentieth century. Initially, he studied harmony, counterpoint and piano with Victor Gallois at the Douai Conservatory before attending the Paris Conservatory. In Paris he studied harmony and counterpoint with Jean and Noël Gallon, composition with Henri Busser and history of music with Maurice Emmanuel. He has been awarded a number of awards through his career including the Grand Prix de Rome in 1938, UNESCO’s International Rostrum of Composers in 1955, the Grand-Croix de la Légion d’honneur in 2004 and the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2005.

His style shows strong influence from Maruice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Albert Roussel but has a very individual element to it. His attitude towards serialism is difficult to discern. Although he did include some elements of the style in his own music, he criticised those behind the ideas saying that he disliked ‘the dogma and the authoritarianism which manifested themselves in that period’. He consistently refused to be associated with one single school of compositional thought. Rather, he merged and fused elements of earlier styles with those of the post-Second World War to create a rather unique style. The influence of jazz can also be heard in the regular use of pizzicato bass and syncopation. He passed away on 22 May 2013 in Paris.



13th August 2022

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Dima Slobodeniouk
Koussevitzky Music Shed Tanglewood, Lenox , MA, United States of America

14th October 2022

Jean Rondeau
Tapiola Sinfonietta
Corinna Niemeyer
Tapiola Hall, Espoo, Finland

9th November 2022

Orchestre Philharmonique de RF
Stéphane Denève
Auditorium de RF, Paris, France

26th January 2023

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Rose Studio, Lincoln Center, New York, NY, United States of America


  • Celebrating Henri Dutilleux
    • Celebrating Henri Dutilleux
    • On May 22, 2013 we lost one of the most important and generous composers of our times, Henri Dutilleux. He left behind a catalogue of outstanding works, including vocal, chamber and orchestral works.