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Francis Dhomont

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  • Years Active: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Born in France, electro-acoustic composer Francis Dhomont divided the second half of his life between Paris and Montreal. Gifted with a sense of the narrative never matched, he is able to tell captivating tales through acousmatic art. The two parts of his Cycle of Depths works, the albums Sous le Regard d'un Soleil Noir (1981) and Foret Profonde (1996), remain some of the most enduring examples of musique concrète, transcending the genre to touch the core of mankind.

Born in 1926 in Paris, Francis Dhomont came to musique concrète through classical music. He studied with Ginette Waldmeier, Charles Koechlin, and Nadia Boulanger. Stumbling upon musique concrète at about the same time Pierre Schaeffer did, he abandoned musical composition around 1953 to create only electro-acoustic music. Little is known of his works before 1972, as the composer repudiated them. Sous le Regard du Soleil Noir introduced him to a relatively larger audience, the album becoming a classic of the genre and a source of inspiration for many sound artists. He created many acousmatic works playing on sound and meaning, but his best results were obtained through the use of dream-like narratives and "cinema for the ear." His work in the 1990s grew even more evocative, culminating in the 60-minute piece Foret Profonde, a fantasy on fairy tales through the works of Bruno Bettelheim.

Dhomont was also very active as a theorist. He edited several issues of magazines on electro-acoustic music (L'Espace du Son, Circuit), created radio programs for Radio-Canada and Radio-France, taught electro-acoustic composition at the Universite de Montreal where he maintained a strong influence on younger composers, and co-founded the Canadian Electroacoustic Community. His work has been recognized internationally through numerous awards and prizes, including the Magisterium of the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition in 1988. In February 2001 he received a career grant (60,000 dollars Canadian over two years) from the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Quebec, an incredible achievement for an avant-garde artist.