Olivier Messiaen

Messiaen: Le merle noir Program Notes

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was a French organist, composer, and theorist whose rhythmic and harmonic innovations made significant contributions to the trajectory of 20th century music. In addition to exploring the concepts of modes of limited transposition, total serialism, non-retrogradable rhythm, and irregular rhythms that do not fit into conventional meters, Messiaen is also noted for his interest in birdsongs. His lasting influence as a pedagogue is overwhelmingly apparent upon review of his list of accomplished students including Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, GĂ©rard Grisey, George Benjamin, and Peter Maxwell Davies.