Éliane Radigue

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Éliane Radigue
Elaine Radigue and Cat.jpg
Éliane Radigue and Cat
Background information
Born (1932-01-24) January 24, 1932 (age 83)
Paris, France
Genres Electronic, ambient
Years active 1970–present
Labels Lovely Music Ltd, Important Records
Website www.lovely.com/bios/radigue.html

Éliane Radigue (born January 24, 1932) is a French electronic music composer. She started her work in the 1950s and her first creations were presented in the late 1960s. Until 2000 her work was almost exclusively created on a single synthesizer, the ARP 2500 modular system and tape. Since 2001 she composed mostly for acoustic instruments.[1]


Radigue was born and raised in Paris in a modest family of merchants at Les Halles. Afterwards, she married the French-born American artist Arman with whom she lived in Nice while raising their three children until 1967, then in Paris. She had studied piano and was already composing before having heard a broadcast by the founder of musique concrète Pierre Schaeffer. She met him shortly thereafter in the early 50s and became his student while working periodically during visits to Paris at the Studio d'Essai. During the early 1960s, she was assistant to Pierre Henry, during which time she created some of the sounds which appeared in his work. As her work gained maturity, Schaeffer and Henry believed her use of microphone feedback and long tape loops was moving away from their ideals, but her singular practice was still related to their methods.


Around 1970, she created her first synthesizer-based music at NYU at a studio she shared with Laurie Spiegel on a Buchla synthesizer installed by Morton Subotnick. Her goal by that point was to create a slow, purposeful "unfolding" of sound, which she felt to be closer to the minimal composers of New York at the time than to the French musique concrète composers who had been her previous allies. After presenting the first of her Adnos in 1974 at Mills College at the invitation of Robert Ashley, a group of visiting French music students suggested that her music was deeply related to meditation and that she should look into Tibetan Buddhism, two things she wasn't familiar with.

Buddhist influence[edit]

Upon investigation of Tibetan Buddhism, she quickly converted and spent the next three years devoted to its practice under her guru Pawo Rinpoche, who subsequently sent her back to her musical work. She returned to composition, picking up where she left off, using the same methods and working toward the same goals as before, and finished Adnos II in 1979 and Adnos III in 1980. Then came the series of works dedicated to Milarepa, a great Tibetan yogi, known for his Thousand songs representing the basis of his teaching. First she composed the Songs of Milarepa, followed by Jetsun Mila an evocation of the life of this great master; the creation of these works was sponsored by the French government.

At the end of the 80s, beginning of the 90s, she devoted herself to a singular three-hour work, perhaps her masterpiece, the Trilogie de la Mort, of which the first part kyema Intermediate states follows the path of the continuum of the six states of consciousness. The work is influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead Bardo Thodol and her meditation practice as by the death of Pawo Rinpoche and her son Yves Arman. The first third of the Trilogie, "Kyema", was her first release recording, issued by Phill Niblock's XI label.

Acoustic era[edit]

In 2000, she made in Paris her last electronic work l'Ile Re-sonante for which she received in 2006 the Golden Nica Award at the festival Ars Electronica in Linz.

In 2001, on request from the double bass and electronic composer Kasper T. Toeplitz, she createdher first instrumental work, Elemental II, which she took up again upon joining the laptop improvisation group The Lappetites. She participated in their first album "Before the Libretto" on the Quecksilber label in 2005.

Since 2004 she has dedicated herself to works for acoustic instruments. First with the American cello player Charles Curtis, the first part of the work Naldjorlak was created in December 2005 in New York and later played in 25 concerts across the U.S. and in Europe. The second part of Naldjorlak for the two basset-horn players Carole Robinson and Bruno Martinez, was created in September 2007 at the Aarau Festival (Switzerland). The three musicians completed the last part of Naldjorlak with Radigue and presented the complete work, "Naldjorlak I,II,III", in Bordeaux on January 24, 2009. In June 2011 her composition for solo harp Occam I, written for the harpist Rhodri Davies, was premiered in London.

Representative creations[edit]

  • Chry-ptus New York Cultural Art Center, 1971
  • 7th Birth New York, 1972
  • Geelriandre Théatre de la Musique, Paris, 1972
  • Phi 847 The Kitchen, New York, 1973
  • Arthesis Theater Vanguard, Los Angeles, 1973
  • Biogenesis and Transamorem Transmortem The Kitchen, New York, 6 March 1974
  • Adnos Festival d'Automne, Paris, 1974
  • 7 petites pièeces pour un Labyrinthe Sonore GERM, Paris, 1975
  • Adnos II Mills College, Oakland, 1980
  • Adnos III, Prélude à Milarepa, Experimental Intermedia Foundation, New York, 1982
  • 5 Songs of Milarepa San Francisco Art Institute, 1984
  • Jetsun Mila, Vie de Milarepa, GERM, Paris, 1986
  • Kyema New Langton Arts, San Francisco, 1988
  • Kailasha Experimental Intermedia Foundation, New York, 1991
  • Koume Mamac, Festival MANCA, Nice, 1993

The last three works constitute the 3 parts of the Trilogie de la Mort.

  • Elemental II Festival Cités soniques, CCmix, January 2004
  • Naldjorlak Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, December 2005


  • Songs of Milarepa (single disc) (Lovely Music, 1983)
  • Jetsun Mila (Lovely Music, 1987)
  • Kyema, Intermediate States (Experimental Intermedia, 1992)
  • Mila's Journey Inspired by a Dream (Lovely Music, 1992)
  • Biogenesis (Metamkine, 1996)
  • Trilogie de la Mort (Experimental Intermedia, 1998)
  • Songs of Milarepa (two discs) (Lovely Music, 1998)
  • E = A = B = A + B (2 x 7" limited edition) (Galerie Yvon Lambert, 1969, taken up by Povertech Industries, 2000)
  • Adnos I-III (Table of the Elements, 2002)
  • Geelriandre / Arthesis (Fringes Archive, 2003)
  • Elemental II (Records of Sleaze Art, 2004)
  • L'île re-sonante (Shiiin, 2005)
  • Chry-ptus (Schoolmap, 2007)
  • Naldjorlak for Charles Curtis, (Shiiin, 2008)
  • Triptych (Important, 2009)
  • Vice Versa, etc. (Important, 2009)
  • Jouet Electronique / Elemental I (Alma Marghen, 2010)
  • Transamorem / Transmortem (Important, 2011)
  • Feedback Works 1969-1970 (Alma Marghen, 2012)
  • "Ψ 847" (Oral, 2013)

The triple -CD Trilogie de la Mort includes Kyema, Kailasha and Koume. The two disc Songs of Milarepa includes Mila's Journey Inspired by a Dream .

With The Lappetites[edit]

  • Before the Libretto (Quecksilber, 2005)


  1. ^ Joanna Demers Listening through the Noise:The Aesthetics of Experimental ... 2010- Page 94 "The work of Éliane Radigue quickly puts to rest suspicions that all drones sound like Young's. Radigue is a French electronic-music composer who studied with Schaeffer and Pierre Henry in the 1950s before trading musique concrète for a ..."

External links[edit]