Born in november 1961, Nicolas Bacri is one of France's most frequently performed and recorded composers.
He began piano lessons at seven and by age 16 had composed seven short orchestral pieces recorded by his father conducting the Prague Opera orchestra for a non commercial LP produced by CBS's Radio and TV collection in 1978.
After a period marked by highly polyphonic atonalism (his First Symphony op. 11 from 1984 is dedicated to Elliott Carter) his interest in the musical past is an earnest, and constantly renewed exploration of his own musical mind. His music changed its language but the message remained the same. It conveys us in a recovery, or more explicitely, a refoundation from pure twenty-century music to twenty-first, unashamed of its traditional based roots.
The composer of one hundred and fifty works in many genres, he has received such recognition as Prix de Rome (two years scholarship, Villa Medici, 1983-85), Prix Stéphane Chapelier (S.A.C.E.M.), Prix André Caplet de l'Académie des Beaux Arts, Prix Pineau-Chaillou 1991 (City of Nantes), Prix Hervé Dugardin (S.A.C.E.M.), Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque 1993, Prix Georges Wildenstein de l'Académie des Beaux Arts, Casa de Velazquez (two years scholarship, Madrid, 1991-93), Prix Pierre Cardin de l'Académie des Beaux Arts, Lauréat de la Fondation d'Entreprise du Crédit National (Natixis), Prix Claude Arrieu (S.A.C.E.M.), Lauréat du 5ème Concours Jeunes Artistes Européens : Young composers, Leipzig (B.P. Oil Europe) and, last but not least, Grand Prix de la Musique symphonique 2006 (S.A.C.E.M.). He was nominated "Officier des arts et lettres" in 2017.
Recent important commissions have come from Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, WDR Sinfonie Orchester-Köln, Festpielhaus Baden-Baden, French Ministry of Culture, Radio France, Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditérannée, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Pro Quartet...
Since a major breakthrough in january 1985 with the first performance of his Violin Concerto op. 7 in Radio France, N. Bacri's orchestral works have been championed, among others, by Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), China National Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, European Camerata, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Liège Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony, Spanish National Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Tokyo Philharmonic, WDR Sinfonie Orchester-Köln,... With such conductors as Kees Backels, Pierre Bartholomée, Martin Brabbins, Semyon Bychkov, Constantinos Carydis, Daniel Harding, Richard Hickox, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Christoph Koncz, Louis Langrée, Josep Pons, Yves Prin, Leonard Slatkin, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, David Stern, Arturo Tamayo, Yann-Pascal Tortelier, Pascal Verrot... and with soloists such as Lisa Batiashvili, Sharon Bezaly, Peter Bruns, Renaud Capuçon, Gérard Caussé, Olivier Charlier, Malena Ernman, Lorenzo Gatto, Philippe Graffin, Natalia Gutman, Marie Hallynck, Marie-Josèphe Jude, Kim Kashkashian, Laurent Korcia, François Leleux, Lindsay Quartet, Riccardo Muti, Emile Naoumoff, Régis Pasquier, Patricia Petibon, Sandrine Piau, Alina Pogoskina, Eliane Reyes, Bruno Rigutto, Baiba Skride, Cédric Tiberghien, Oliver Triendl, Sebastien Van Kuijk, Jean-Pierre Wallez, Pieter Wispelwey...
(See complete list of performers in the french biography section).
Bacri made his debuts as conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra with his A Day (Four Images for orchestra op. 130) at the Château de Versailles 's Royal Opera in september 2013.
Cds containing N. Bacri's music released since fifteen years includes (mainly) First, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth string quartets, Fourth Symphony (Classical Symphony "Sturm und Drang"), Concerto for cello and orchestra, Second Concerto for violin and orchestra (3 Canti e Finale), Une Prière, for violin and orchestra (RCA BMG Red Seal), Flute Concerto, Concerto da camera for clarinet and strings, The Four Seasons concertos, three Piano Trios, Sonatas for piano, violin and piano, cello and piano, viola and piano, etc...
Two vocal works are recorded by Deutsche Grammophon : his Melodias de la Melancolia, (Patricia Petibon/Spain National Orchestra/Josep Pons) and his Lamento (Malena Ernmann/Ensemble Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi)
Bacri wrote a one-act opera with the famous french writer Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt with the same characters of Cosi fan Tutte few years before, Cosi Fanciulli played twelve times at Théâtre des Champs-élysées in june 2014
"After studying music analysis and composition with Françoise Gangloff-Levéchin, Christian Manen and Louis Saguer (from 1979), he entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1980 (graduated 1983, first prize for composition), where his teachers were Claude Ballif, Marius Constant, Serge Nigg and Michel Philippot.
From 1987 he was head of the chamber music department of Radio France, a position he relinquished in 1991 to devote himself entirely to composition. He had also held residencies at the Casa de Velasquez (Spain) and with a number of French orchestras (from 1993).
His early works, which culminate with the First Symphony (1983-4, dedicated to Elliott Carter), are rooted in a constructivist post-Webernian aesthetic. Later compositions, beginning with the Cello Concerto (1985/87, dedicated to Henri Dutilleux), draw on the melodic continuity displaced by the predominant aesthetic of the postwar period. This change of style has placed Bacri in the musical aesthetic of his time, where a spirit of reconciliation prevails." (Philippe Michel, Grove Dictionary of Music, edition 2001)
From the 1990's onward he continued to explore all possibilities offered by "the sudden or progressive irruption of modernity in tradition and vice-versa". His catalogue includes seven symphonies, concertos for two pianos, violin (4), cello, flute, clarinet (2), trumpet (2), Les Quatre Saisons (four concertos for oboe, violin, viola, cello and strings) and numerous other concertante works amongst Une Prière (RCA BMG Red Seal), eight cantatas, two one-act operas, ten string quartets, four piano trios, sonatas for piano (3), violin (3), cello (2), viola, clarinet, 6 solo cello suites as well as numerous other instrumental or vocal works amongst Melodias de la Melancolia recorded by Patricia Petibon ( DGG) and Lamento by Malena Ernman (DGG).
His music was played all over the world. In Great Britain and USA in the following venues :
G.B. (London : Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Hall, Conway Hall...), Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Edimbugh, Glasgow, Presteigne etc...,
U.S.A.: Baltimore (Linehan Concert Hall UMBC University of Maryland), Berkshire Festival Tanglewood, Boston Conservatory of Music (Jordan Hall et Williams Hall), Chicago, Cleveland (Oberlin), Detroit, Los Angeles University, Michigan State University (Wharton Center Great Hall), New-York (Carnegie Hall-Weill Hall et Florence Gould Hall), Philadelphie (Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center), Rochester (Eastmann Philharmonia Hall (Kodak Hall) et Kilbourne Hall), Washington (Ulrich Recital Hall) etc...
His music is published by Durand and Salabert / Universal Classical Music