François-Bernard Mâche


Keynote Speaker



Mache photo 2


“Philology and Zoomusicology’’



After an initial survey of a few texts which radiate the prevailing feelings commonly associated with the animal voices in ancient Greece, particular attention will be given to a comparison between some onomatopoeic words and their corresponding sound models. In a civilization exalting the privileges of mankind, there seems to exist a somewhat ambiguous attitude concerning its relationships with the animal world, either as divine attributes or just as ordinary pets. Is the Aristotelean theory of mimēsis limited to literature? Eventually, what does ancient Greece still represent for somebody like me, having created the study of a novel field for which I coined the term zoomusicology? 




Biographical Note


François-Bernard Mâche was born in a family of musicians in 1935. He studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, from where he received a degree in Hellenic Archaeology (1957), the teaching certificate "Agrégation de lettres classiques" in Classical Philology (1958), and a doctorate in Musicology (1980). As a musician, he was amongst the few founders of the "Groupe de Recherches Musicales" under the supervision of Pierre Schaeffer (1958). He studied music with Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatoire National Supérieur, Paris, where he was granted a prize in the Philosophy of Music (1960). He is the author of six books and of about one hundred and seventy articles on music, and one of the first translators of the poetry of Odysseas Elytis into French (1975, 1977). He put forth his own method-and-theory of composition, based on the notions of models and archetypes, and was pioneer in applying linguistic data to music analysis and synthesis. For many years he was director of the Music Department of the University of Strasbourg (1983-1993).

He has composed over one hundred and ten works, in which are often combined speakers and acoustic instruments. They have been performed in the most prestigious halls and festivals. Over the years he has been invited to give seminars in over twenty countries.

Amongst the honourary titles he has received are the "Grand Prix du Disque" (1971), the "Prix Italia" (1977), the "Grand Prix National de la Musique" (1988), and the "Grand Prix de la Musique Symphonique de la Sacem" (2002); he has also been named a "Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres" (1990). He is a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts since 2002, and occupies the chair of the late Iannis Xenakis. He is also Honourary Doctor of the University of Athens (Department of Music Studies, 2011).

Two of his books are directly connected to the theme of the present conference:

- (1983) Musique, mythe, nature, ou Les dauphins d'Arion.

              Paris: Méridiens Klinksieck. (Reprinted by Aedam Musicae, 2015)

- (1992) Music, myth and nature, or The dolphins of Arion. Transl. by Susan Delaney. 

              Reading: Harwood Academic Publishers.

- (2007) De la musique, des languages, et des oiseaux: entretien (avec Bruno Serrou).

              Paris: Éditions Michel de Maule.


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