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January 6, 2016

Pierre Boulez, renowned composer and conductor and CIM Honorary Doctorate recipient, dies at 90


Pierre Boulez, renowned composer and conductor and CIM Honorary Doctorate recipient, dies at 90

Prominent French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez died on Tuesday at his home in Germany. He was 90. He left behind an unforgettable legacy, filled with inspiring works that effectively changed classical music as we know it. In 2005 Mr. Boulez was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music and on that May afternoon 11 years ago, he also imparted his advice to a group of fresh graduates in his commencement address.

Mr. Boulez was celebrating his 80th birthday, having conducted two weeks of concerts at Severance Hall as part of a world-wide celebration. In his speech he stressed the importance of being spontaneous and acquiring experiences. “You have no golden eras. You have no wonderful moments. You have only the time going on, going on, bringing new things,” he said. “And if you don’t go with the novelty, then you are in the dustbin of history.”

Following his address, Mr. Boulez accepted an Honorary Doctorate joining an illustrious list of past recipients.  “Mr. Boulez’s pioneering spirit significantly influenced the classical repertoire and made a lasting impact on musicians around the world. We are grateful for having the opportunity to learn from him during his visit to CIM and for the deep connection he forged with our students,” said Gary Hanson, Interim President of the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Pierre Boulez’s full 2005 commencement speech is available here.

Join CIM and WCLV this Saturday, January 9 at 11am on 104.9 FM for a re-broadcast of CIM's Offbeat radio show with guest Pierre Boulez. Boulez shares his journey from studying math in college to becoming a world renowned conductor and composer.

Photo: Pierre Boulez with class of 2005 graduates and their families at CIM | Dan Milner