Georges Delerue Official Website
THE GEORGES DELERUE MUSEUM
OFFICIAL WEBSITE ANNEXE
HE LEFT HIS MARK ON A WHOLE GENERATION OF COMPOSERS.
HIS UNIQUE, UNFORGETTABLE WORKS HAVE TRAVELLED
TO THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE WORLD…
Georges Delerue, at his death in 1992, left behind an exceptional musical legacy. He enjoyed international fame and many honors as a composer of film scores, but he was also the composer of concertos, sonatas, operas, ballets, and music for theater and historical spectacles.
Within this vast eclectic activity Georges Delerue became a major twentieth-century composer.
Driven by a passion for both the beauty and the demands of music, Georges Delerue’s musical personality began to appear at the Musical Conservatory of Roubaix. Impressed by the obvious talents of the young Delerue, several
professors, in particular Alfred Desenclos, helped to insure that he would become a musician rather than a factory worker, which his family expected him to be.
With a clear vocation for composition, Delerue, after the end of World War II, continued to hone his skills at the National Conservatory of Music in Paris, with such teachers as Henri Büsser and Darius Milhaud.
Recognizing in the young student who would soon win the Grand Prize of Rome a special talent for theatrical music, Milhaud encouraged him to work immediately at the Theater Festival at Avignon, organized by the legendary director Jean Vilar. There he began to develop his musical identity and a suppleness of composition well-suited to theatrical effect and to the demands of collaborative work.
Television, then just taking hold and expanding, inevitably sought out musical talent such as Delerue’s.
For the next few decades, he would be a prolific composer for the new media, providing music for programs such as the Club d’Essai, dramatic productions such as Les Princes du Sang, and much admired television films or series such as Milady and Les Rois Maudits.
For radio, he also composed many musical introductions for well-known programs, in particular for the daily "Radioscopie", Jacques Chancel’s popular radio show, which eventually achieved cult status. After a few musical excursions into publicity spots for such products as Bœuf Maggi (a French beef bouillon) he drew the attention of Philippe de Broca for whom Delerue, during 30 years of collaboration, would compose seventeen film scores.
Eventually he would compose for a great many short films by young directors, such as Pierre Kast, Claude Sautet, Jean-Luc Godard, and above all François Truffaut, those who in a new cinematic enthusiasm wanted to free films from the conventions of a previous generation. It was Truffaut especially with whom Delerue would work closely over many years, a collaboration responsible for Delerue’s becoming known as the composer of the Nouvelle Vague.
Delerue’s growing fame would inevitably result in several appeals from abroad for music, beginning with Ken Russell, who called upon him for the score for French Dressing (1964).
Soon thereafter he would work with such directors as Mike Nichols, John Huston, and Fred Zinnemann. Eventually Delerue would spend a good part of his time in California, composing for more and more English language films and such contemporary directors as Oliver Stone and the Australian Bruce Beresford.
And during all these years of composing film scores, Delerue never stopped composing formal symphonic music. He continued to be heard in both the movie theater and the concert hall.
Delerue always marveled at the destiny that led him from the working-class neighborhoods of provincial Roubaix to the studios of Los Angeles. He was happy in music and deeply grateful to it for the means of expression it gave him and to which he devoted his life. His own joy in life, paradoxically expressed in music so often nostalgic, will never cease to light up the lives of those who knew him.
Georges Delerue is alive in his music, which is today listened to by an ever-growing audience, continuing to hear in his notes all of his complex humanity.
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