Born in Geneva in 1942, Michel Tabachnik has a musical education, studying piano, orchestral direction and composition at the Conservatory of the city of his birth. In 1964 he continues his studies at the Ferienkurze in Darmstadt with Boulez, Pousseur and Stockhausen and attended a seminar in orchestral direction with Pierre Boulez in Basel (1965 and 1969). His conducting career thus started under the wings of three influential mentors: Igor Markevitch, Herbert von Karajan and Pierre Boulez, the latter being particularly helpful, inviting him as his chief assistant (from 1966 to 1971), to follow him in his work with the various orchestras he conducted, most particularly the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
From this point on, Tabachnik maintains a balance between his work as a composer and that as an orchestral conductor. In 1970, he premiered his work, Fresque. The support of great publishing houses; especially Ricordi, Durand and Salabert, as well as commissions from major institutions accompanied each step in his creative path. These institutions included IRCAM, the Festival de La Rochelle, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Die Norddeutsche Rundfunk, Radio France, Radio Suisse Romande, and Rencontres Internationales de Musique Contemporaine de Metz.
Michel Tabachnik is rapidly invited as guest conductor for many prestigious orchestras: Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Bayerrische Rundfunk Orchster, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre national de France and the Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Paris. He has also undertaken the musical direction for many different formations: the Orchestre de la Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon, from 1971 to 1976), Orchestre Philharmonique de Lorraine (which he founded in 1976), Ensemble Intercontemporain (as first permanent conductor in 1976), De Noord Nederlands Orkest–Groningen (2005-2011) and the Brussels Philharmonic (since 2008). In addition, Tabachnik has been an active pedagogue, teaching master classes in orchestral direction (Toronto, Copenhagen, Lyon, Paris, Stockholm…) and participating in projects involving youth orchestras (among others, the Orchestre des Jeunes du Québec (Montréal 1983-1986) and the Orchestre de Jeunes de la Méditerranée which he founded in 1984 and directed for twelve years.)
In his compositional work, there is no denying the influence of Michel Tabachnik’s collaboration with Boulez or his decisive encounter with Xenakis (he has premiered many of Xenakis’ orchestral music), he writes quite personal music, with poetic sense, singular, a delicate balance between objectivity and romanticism…
—Frank Langlois (translation Alyssa Landry)
Some of his works:
Le Livre de Job (2013)
for solists, choir and orchestra
220.127.116.11 — 18.104.22.168 — 4 perc - hpe - cymbalum — cordes
Editions Salabert - On hire
Benjamin, dernière nuit (2012)
lyrical drama in fourteen scenes
for soli, choir & orchestra
22.214.171.124 — 126.96.36.199 — timb - 4 perc - pno - hpe — 188.8.131.52.4
Editions Durand - On hire
Michel Tabachnik on Youtube
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