Eliane Radigue

A portrait of Eliane Radigue

produced by the Austrian IMA (Institute for Media Archeology), which observes Eliane in her workspace, operating the ARP and talking about the process of composing and recording.

Eliane Radigue (born January 24, 1932) is a French electronic music composer. She started her work in the 1950s and her first creations were presented in the late 1960s. Until 2000 her work was almost exclusively created on a single synthesizer, the ARP 2500 modular system and tape.

She had studied piano and was already composing before she became Pierre Schaeffer student. During the early 1960s, she was assistant to Pierre Henry, during which time she created some of the sounds which appeared in his work.

Around 1970, she created her first synthesizer-based music at NYU at a studio she shared with Laurie Spiegel on a Buchla synthesizer installed by Morton Subotnick. Her goal by that point was to create a slow, purposeful “unfolding” of sound, which she felt to be closer to the minimal composers of New York at the time than to the French musique concrète composers.

 Adnos I (1975)

Adnos I was presented in 1974 at Mills College

Becoming a Tibetan Buddhist in 1975, Radigue went into retreat, and stopped composing for a time. When she took up her career again in 1979, she continued to work with the Arp synthesizer which has become her signature. She composed Triptych for the Ballet Théâtre de Nancy (choreography by Douglas Dunn), Adnos II & Adnos III, and began the large-scale cycle of works based on the life of the Tibetan master, Milarepa.

Eliane spent eight years–from 1985 to 1993–on her masterpiece, the three-hour Trilogie de la Mort, which was released as a 3-CD set in 1998 by New York experimental label XI Records.

The work is influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead Bardo Thodol and her meditation practice as by the death of Pawo Rinpoche and her son Yves Arman.

Eliane Radigue & Keith Fullerton Whitman interviewed by WNYU’s Jonathan Gean on September 27th, 2010, during the “Propensity of Sound” festival at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY

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