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Classical Notes

Boulez birthday bomb

Posted at 8:05 AM on March 26, 2007 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

Just in cast you think the classical music world is all tuxedos and concert halls, consider the case of composer/conductor Pierre Boulez who celebrates his 82nd birthday today.

Boulez has always been in the avant garde when it comes to advocating for new music, and one of his "revolutionary" remarks got him into some hot water a couple months after the attacks of September 11th.

Boulez once suggested that, as a radical break with the past, all opera houses should be blown up—a remark that put him on a list of “terrorist suspects” in Switzerland, and led police to briefly seize his passport at a Basle hotel in the early hours of Nov 2nd, 2001.

This, coming from a man who, in 1973, wrote a piece called explosante-fixe.

You can find lots more about Boulez, and other musical revolutionaries by searching the archives at composersdatebook.publicradio.org.