Georges Aperghis

Greek; active in France, 1954-
Born in Athens in 1945, his father a sculptor and his mother a painter, Aperghis waffled for a long time between painting and composition. Essentially self-taught, he discovered music thanks to the radio and through piano lessons with a friend of the family.

After moving to Paris in 1963, he learned about the serialism of the Domaine Musical, the musique concrete of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, and the work of Iannis Xenakis, (which inspired some of Aperghis’s first works); then, in 1970, he decided to investigate a more free and personal musical language.

In 1971, he composed La Tragique Histoire du nécromancien Hiéronimo et de son miroir (for two female voices: sung and spoken, lute, and cello), his first piece of musical theater, which ties music to text and to stage, and which prefigures his later musical dramaturgy.

Starting in 1976, Georges Aperghis created the Atelier Théatre et Musique, dedicated to musical theater, where he completely reinvented his compositional technique: he made use of musicians as well as of comedians, integrated into his pieces all the possible vocal, instrumental, gestural, and dramatic elements…executing all elements similar ways. He composed solo pieces, chamber music works, vocal works, orchestral works, and operas.

He completed the synthesis of his work in the form of opera: here the text is the unifying and determining element, the voice is the principal means of expression. He composed seven lyrical works. Georges Aperghis himself summarises his work as follows: ‘Make music of everything.’

—credit – Ircam database

Selected works by Georges Aperghis:
“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