Who is the legendary composer, Edgard Varèse?
Edgard Varèse was born in Paris of an Italian father and French mother. In 1914 he moved to the United States, where he decided to destroy all his works composed up to that moment, and to set off in a radically new direction as a composer, researcher and innovator.
In New York he worked as a conductor (in 1919 he founded the New Symphony Orchestra) and concert organizer with the aim of familiarizing American audiences with contemporary music and introducing works and composers who had previously been ignored in the United States. In the same period he started composition of a limited number of works, which would soon establish Varèse in the whole world as one of the most advanced and daring of composers, committed to exploring the unknown territories of New Music.
His intellectual shift from the dominance of melodic progression to a more textural approach to composition would see him revered by such cultural figureheads as Igor Stravinsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Frank Zappa, and others. His Poème électronique was one of the first examples of a purely artificial, studio-made composition, and would act as a blueprint for later electroacoustic explorations. The work Ionisation for percussion ensemble included air-raid sirens and was described by the New York Times as a 'terrible and marvellous work'. The 1954 premiere of Déserts caused an uproar comparable to the infamous response to The Rite Of Spring some fifty years earlier.