Jean-Jacques Nattiez

November 3, 2022 4:16 pm Published by

Jean-Jacques Nattiez is professor of  musicology at the Faculty of Music of the Université de Montréal. Considered a pioneer of the branch of musicology known as musical semiology, he first gained acclaim as the author of theoretical works: Fondements d’une sémiologie de la musique [Paris, 10-18, 1975] and Musicologie générale et sémiologie [Paris, Bourgois, 1987], the latter translated into English as Music and Discourse [Princeton University Press, 1990] but also in Italian and Japanese. He then went on to apply his semiological concepts to a wide variety of subjects: the works of Wagner [Tétralogies, Paris, Bourgois, 1983; Wagner androgyne, Paris, Bourgois, 1990; English trans., Princeton University Press, 1993; Italian trans. also]; the musical thought of Pierre Boulez, acting as editor of the latter’s writings (Points de repère, I. Imaginer, Regards sur autrui (Points de repère, II) and Leçons de musique (Points de repère, III) [Paris, Christian Bourgois, 1995 and 2005]) as well as correspondence with John Cage; the music of the Inuit (Canada), the Ainu (Japan) and of the Baganda (Uganda), of which he has produced several recordings; the relationship between music and literature [Proust musicien, Paris, Bourgois, 1984; 2nd edition: 1999; translated into English as Proust as Musician, Cambridge University Press, 1987; Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish transl. also]. In addition, he is the author of a novel, entitled Opera [Montréal, Leméac, 1997; Italian transl., Bollati-Boringhieri, 2009]. He also published three collections of articles: De la sémiologie à la musique [Montréal, UQAM, 1987; Italian transl.], Le combat de Chronos et d’Orphée [Paris, Bourgois, 1993; Engl. transl., Oxford University Press, 2004; Rumanian transl., Editura Artes, 2007; also Italian and Portuguese transl.] and La musique, la recherche et la vie [Montréal, Leméac, 1999; Rumanian transl., Editura Muzicală, 2007; Japanese transl. in progress]. His most recent books are: Lévi-Strauss musicien, essai sur la tentation homologique, Arles, Actes Sud, 2008; La musique, les images et les mots, essais d’esthétique comparée,  Montréal, FIDES, 2009. He has been the general editor of a new Encyclopedia of Music in 5 volumes, published in Italy by Einaudi [2001-2005] and in France by Actes Sud [2003-2007]: Musiques. Une Encyclopédie pour le XXXIe siècle.

Internationally renowned, professor Nattiez has published more than 200 papers and has undertaken lecture tours in more than twenty countries. He has been twice invited by the Collège de France and the École Normale supérieure in Paris. He also visited the St-Catherine College in Oxford, the City University of London, the University of Bologna, the UNAM in México, the University of Rio de Janeiro, the University „George Enescu” in Iaşi and various Argentinian universities. In February 2006, he was invited by Umberto Eco to deliver a series of lectures on the theme „Wagner antisemite” in his prestigious „Schola superiore di studi umanistici”. He was recently invited by Ricordi, the famous music publisher of Verdi and Puccini, for the 200th jubileum of this company, to become the General Curator of an international exhibit on the theme „The making of an opera”, to be presented in China, Japan, Russia, the USA and in various European cities.

He has received numerous distinctions and awards. He is member of the Order of Canada (1990), the National Order of Québec (2001), the Royal Society of Canada since 1988 and the Academia Europea since 1996. He was a Killam Fellow of the Arts Council of Canada in 1988-90. Among the various awards: twice the Grand Prix International du disque (1979, 1988), the Dent Medal of the Royal Music Association of London (1989), the Molson Prize of the Arts Council of Canada (1990), the Léon Gérin Prize for Social Sciences of the Québec government (1994), the Alexander von Humbold Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany (1997), The Koizumi Fumio Prize for ethnomusicology in Japan (1998), the ”prix d’excellence en enseignement” of the Université de Montréal (2004) and the Killam Prize for Humanities of the Arts Council of Canada (2004). In November 2005 and September 2007 respectively, he was declared doctor honoris causa by the University of the Arts „George Enescu” of Iaşi and the National University of Music Bucharest (Romania); the ”Prix de la critique de théâtre, de musique et de danse” (Paris) for the book Lévi-Strauss musicien (2009).

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