Éliane Radigue


2116 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622

In the early 1970s, while living in New York City, French composer Éliane Radigue was looking for a new way to generate sound and a new direction for her work—something outside the influence and techniques of musique concrète that had been her training. After experimenting with different synthesizers, she chose the analog ARP instrument for its warmth and its ability to grant what she calls “access within the flesh of sounds.”

Over the past 30 years Radigue has used the ARP synthesizer, recorded to magnetic tape, to create a true body of work, a landmark series of minimalist compositions made of organic, throbbing drones that envelop the listener, co-opt the pulse, and gradually get under the skin.

L’île Re-Sonante, a 3-part, 8-track piece begun in 1998 at the Center for New Music and Audio Technology at UC Berkeley, signifies a “re-” on several levels, and Radigue puns with the title. It is both her return to early analog sound sources after failed attempts to use digital mediums as well as a reference to another work by composer Michel Chion called L’isle Sonante, which itself is borrowed language from a 16th century Rabelais text. The “re-” also indicates a repeat in design or construction, where the first and third parts of the piece mirror each other, as if reflected in water, leaving the central part like an island.

Lampo is thrilled to present the U.S. premiere of L’île Re-Sonante. Radigue first performed the work at the Centre de Création Musicale Iannis Xenakis in Paris in 2000.

Éliane Radigue (b.1932, Paris, France) studied electroacoustic music techniques at the Studio d’essai at the RTF, under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (1957-58). She was married to the artist Arman and devoted ten years to the education of three children, deepening classical music studies and instrumental practice on the harp and piano at the same time. In 1967-68 she worked again with Pierre Henry, as his assistant at the Studio Apsome.

Radigue worked for a year at the New York University School of the Arts in 1970-71. Her music, sourced from an ARP synthesizer and recorded on tape, attracted considerable attention for its sensitive, dappled purity. She was in residence at the electronic music studios of the University of Iowa and California Institute of the Arts in 1973. Becoming a Tibetan Buddhist in 1975, Radigue went into retreat, and stopped composing for a time. When she took up her career again in 1979, she continued to work with the ARP synthesizer, which has become her signature. She composed Triptych for the Ballet Théâtre de Nancy (choreography by Douglas Dunn), Adnos II and Adnos III, and began the large-scale cycle of works based on the life of the Tibetan master, Milarepa.

In 1984 Radigue received a “bourse à la creation” from the French Government to compose Songs of Milarepa, and a “commande de l’état” in 1986 for the continuation of the Milarepa cycle with Jetsun Mila.

Support provided by the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago