Igor Wakhévitch

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Igor Wakhevitch (born in Gassin-Saint Tropez, France), son of the art director Georges Wakhevitch is an avant-garde French composer who released a series of studio albums in the 1970s and composed the music of the only opera imagined by the legendary genius painter Salvador Dalí: Être Dieu' ("To Be God"). Igor Wakhevitch was a contemporary of similar avant-garde electronic composers, such as Pierre Henry, who was born and based in Paris. Igor Wakhevitch himself a brilliant classical pianist was one of the first composer of his generation to introduce in his compositions various kind of electronic keyboards, moog synthesizer, synthi aks, arp synthesizer, "ondes martenot", electronic organ, etc. : some of his albums, as "Logos" or "Hathor" "Let's Start" are amongst the most impressive albums of experimental music released in France in the 70's. By many all over the world he is considered as a genius. But certainly a very creative soul in a perpetual search of sounds of power and for a new kind of sacred music, cosmic oriented, Igor finding his inspiration from the Mother Nature and sacred scriptures as well, mostly from the Holy Kabbalah and the sacred scripture from HInduism, the Vedas and Upanishads and Sri Aurobind's highly inspired poetry. Igor considering himself as a beloved son of Mother India. In 1970, Igor sent to the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry his first album "Logos". The music was played to the Mother in Her room of the ashram; afterwards, a letter on behalf of the Mother and containing some special Blessings from the Mother was sent to Igor, saying that he was most welcome to pay a visit to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Igor arrived in the ashram in Pondichery in July 1973, having his room in "Golconde" guest-house of the ashram. From the age of eight, Igor Wakhevitch learned to play piano under the tutelage of Marguerite Long the legendary French classical pianist and [Lucette Descaves].[1] Between the ages of 12 and 17, he studied at the Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance Conservatoire de Paris. During this time, he was auditioned by the legendary symphonic orchestra conductor Herbert von Karajan at the Theatre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and in 1965 he was 17 only when he won the jury's First Prize in Piano (classical) by a unanimous vote. In 1967 while studying at the Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance under the teachings (talim) of his guru-ji the great french composer genius of the 20th century, Olivier Messiaen, Igor Wakhevitch won the First Prize in Musical Analysis and Esthetics. In 1968, he worked for the GRM in the Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer.

Igor Wakhevitch was a part of the 1970s atmosphere of musical integration and boundary crossing. He was a friend of the legendary British rock psychedelic band Pink Floyd and also a very close friend of the legendary french choreographer Maurice Béjart who encouraged him to compose for contemporary dance, while his second album, Doctor Faust was dedicated to his friends Robert Wyatt and Mike Ratledge, the two leaders of the British psychedelic rock band The Soft Machine. At the middle of the 1970s, Wakhevitch became a friend and studied with the minimalist American composer Terry Riley, producing Riley's soundtrack album Les Yeux Fermés for Warner Brothers. Through Riley, Wakhevitch discovered the ragas of Pandit Pran Nath.[2] During almost ten years, Igor Wakhevitch has been the composer of many dance-theatre creations of the great American dancer-choreographer Carolyn Carlson at the National Opera of Paris and in many other stages and festivals worldwide: Festival d'Avignon, France ; Festival of Jerusalem, Israel ; Festival of Shiraz-Persepolis, Iran ; Theatre de la Ville, Paris ; Grand Theatre of Geneva, Switzerland ; Max-Mueller Bhavan-Gœthe Institue, Mumbai ; Sri Aurobindo Auditorium, Auroville, India. Etc.

In 1974, Salvador Dalí asked Igor Wakhevitch to compose the music of his 'opera-poem in six parts' entitled "To Be God". The album was recorded in the Studios of EMI in Boulogne, performed by various actors, speakers and singers, a string orchestra, choir, soprano soloist Eve Brenner, and a rock band which featured the actors Raymond Gérôme, Delphine Seyrig, Catherine Allegret, Alain Cuny and Didier Haudepin;[3] and musicians Michel Ripoche on violin, Didier Batard on bass and François Auger on drums.[4] Igor Wakhevitch visited India for the first time in 1973 and later moved to Auroville in South India in 1977. In 1991 he had a 45 minutes private audience in Dharmsala (Himashal-Pradesh India) with the 14th Dalai-Lama Tenzin Gyatso: an unforgettable moment in the private apartment of the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Igor producing and organizing the first visit in Europe of the "Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts" (TIPA), a tour in France and Spain and two months performance in Paris at the famous Theatre du Rond-Point (ex Theatre Renaud-Barrault). In May 1989, Igor Wakhevitch was honored by an official letter from Sri Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, to congratulate him : "... It was most thoughtful of you to have sent me the renderings of your music which reflect the deep commitment to peace and human brotherhood to which you are so ardently devoted. Yours sincerely, Rajiv Gandhi"

In 2007 Igor started to work as an artist manager and agent for Europe with some of the most famous legendary classical musicians of India, as Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (living national treasure of India), the legendary sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Zakir Hussain, the superstar of the tabla, the genius santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, the singers maestros of dhrupad, Ramakant and Umakant Gundecha and brother Akilesh on the pakhawaj (the Gundecha Brothers), the great voices of North India, as Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty, Ustad Rashid Khan, Pandit Rajan and Sajan Misra (from Varanasi), Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar ; and also, featuring in various european stages the greatest soloist musicians amongst the new generation of Indian Classical musicians, as bansuri bamboo flute prodigy Shashank (Igor's close friend), the young lady singer Kaushiki Chakrabarty (one of the greatest voices of India nowadays), Purbayan Chatterjee (sitar), Raul Sharma (santoor), Subhra Guha, etc.; ... and the fantastic drums ensemble "The Sacred Drums of India".

Igor Wakhevitch composed also for many dance and theatre creations in India, mostly in Mumbai (National Center of Performing Arts, Tata Theatre, Gœthe Institute-Max Mueller Bhavan and in Auroville on the stage of the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium ("The Golden Light", choreography by Paolo Pereira;"The Girl of Sixteen"- the Ten Incarnations of Vishnu - music by Igor Wakhevitch, choreography and dance by Olivier Patey First Dancer and Elisabeth Platel, Prima Ballerina assoluta of the National Opera of Paris; "Amravati", choreography by Peter Morin from the National Opera of Paris, "Harichandra", written and directed by his close friend the young actor-director-writer K. Parthasarathy, etc. ; and many other pieces of music purposely composed to celebrate the Auroville's Birthday at dawn (28 February), bonfire and live performances or recorded music at the Auroville's outdoor Amphitheater and many other profound moments of his music for community gathering and mediations in various settlements of the city since 1977 during almost twenty-five years in a row.

Igor's mother, Marica (a French actress and later the manager of the first Yves Saint-Laurent boutique opened in Paris and assistant of legendary French fashion maker Hubert de Givenchy) was admitted as an Aurovilian in 1998 ; she died in Auroville (Tamil-Nadu, South India) in 2003. She was buried under a banyan tree in a garden next Auroville's forest, the green belt.

In 1997, the 6-CD box set Donc... was released on Fractal Records to mark the 20th anniversary of Igor Wakhevitch's arrival in Auroville, the 17 of November 1977. It incorporated his first six albums released initially on vinyl by EMI Records and Atlantic Records: Logos (1970), Docteur Faust (1971), Hathor (1974), Les Fous d'Or (1975), Nagual (1977), and Let's Start (1979). Only Être Dieu (1974) was omitted as it received its own 3-CD box set in 1992.

New albums are to be released in 2015 and 2016 (2 cds) and books written by Wakhevitch



  1. ^ Fractal Records artist page (in French, but parts of site in English). See also Jean-Claude Pennetier, la confidence au bout des doigts (French language site).
  2. ^ Fractal Records artist page (in French, but parts of site in English).
  3. ^ French Wikipedia article on Raymond Gérôme.
  4. ^ Wayside music record store.

External links[edit]

  • Allmusic entry for Igor Wakhevitch.
  • John Coulthart entry for the Donc box set and a photo of Wakhévitch.
  • Fractal biography and discography in French.
  • Fractal review of the Donc box set in English and French.
  • Listology entry featuring a paragraph of references and reviews of Wakhevitch.