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Georges Aperghis

December 23, 1945 -
born in Athens, Greece, composed during the Contemporary period
Georges Aperghis is a Greek composer who works and lives in France. His work is characterized by a highly idiosyncratic and experimental style that makes use of text as a point of departure; theatrical works are very high on his list of priorities, and pieces of this kind are what he is best known for. Born in Athens right after the conclusion of the Second World War, Aperghis' mother was a painter and his father a sculptor, and for a time it appeared certain that he would enter the visual arts as well. An encounter with the ORTF musique concrète school exemplified by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry caused Aperghis to abandon his interest in painting, and in 1963 he settled in Paris to study music. His early works were influenced by Xenakis; somewhat later the music of John Cage and Mauricio Kagel also became particularly important to him. Aperghis first made an impact at the 1971 Avignon Festival with his theater piece La tragique histoire du nécromancien Hiéronimo et de son miroir, written for two sopranos, lute, and cello. The enthusiasm attending to Aperghis' first venture into music theater convinced the composer that he had found his calling; through 1996 Aperghis composed seven operas in addition to other, numerous works for the stage. Actors and musicians serve as equals in such productions, and Aperghis' choice of texts are often based on letters or non-fiction works drawn from Freud, Diderot, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and others. To facilitate regular performances of his unique theatrical works, Aperghis founded the Atelier Théâtre et Musique, or ATEM, in 1976 and was its director until 1990. Since 1996, Aperghis has moved away from his theater pieces and more toward instrumental composition. He is married to iconic French actress Edith Scob, an institution in France but best known outside of it as the star of Georges Franju's fancifully elegant horror film Les Yeux sans Visage (Eyes Without a Face from 1960). ~ Uncle Dave Lewis , Rovi
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