Gilbert Amy

French, 1936-
Born in Paris in 1936, Gilbert Amy won the first prize at the end of his high school studies at the Concours general de philosophie. He then decided to study music full-time, and enrolled at the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with Simone Plé-Caussade, Henriette Puig-Roger, Darius Milhaud, and Olivier Messiaen.

A few years later, he met Pierre Boulez who commissioned Mouvements from Amy, and the piece was performed at the Domaine musical in 1958. Since then, his works have been performed in all of the greatest concert halls of the world: Darmstadt, Venice, Berlin…

In 1967, at the age of 31, he succeeded Pierre Boulez as the director of the Domaine musical concerts, and he remained in that post until the beginning of 1974, when the ensemble ceased performing.

At the same time, Gilbert Amy pursued a career as a conductor in France and abroad, performing an extensive repertoire. Among the many orchestras that he led are the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre national de France, the Orchestra de l’Opéra de Paris, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Radio Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony…

In 1976, Gilbert Amy founded the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio-France, of which he was the first conductor and the artistic director until 1981. With this new orchestra, he did close to 100 concerts and recordings, as well as several tours of French and international tours.

In 1982, he taught composition and musical analysis at Yale University. He has been the director of the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique in Lyon since 1984.

Gilbert Amy received the Grand Prix national de la musique in 1979, the Grand Prix de la Sacem in 1983, the Grand Prix Musical de la Ville de Paris in 1986, and, in 1987, the Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles-Cros and the Prix de la Critique Musicale for Missa cum jubilo.

—credit – Ircam database

Selected works by Gilbert Amy:
“Once when father (George Ives) was asked: 'How can you stand it to hear old John Bell (who was the best stonemason in town) bellow off-key the way he does at camp-meetings?' his answer was: 'Old John is a supreme musician. Look into his face and hear the music of the ages. Don't pay too much attention to the sounds. If you do, you may miss the music. You won't get a heroic ride to Heaven on pretty little sounds!'”
--Charles Ives