Serge Arcuri | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Serge Arcuri

Arcuri, Serge. Composer, b Beauharnois, near Montreal, 10 Jun 1954; premier prix analysis (CMM) 1979, premier prix composition (CMM) 1981.

Arcuri, Serge

Arcuri, Serge. Composer, b Beauharnois, near Montreal, 10 Jun 1954; premier prix analysis (CMM) 1979, premier prix composition (CMM) 1981. After studies in composition and analysis at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal with Gilles Tremblay, Arcuri studied electroacoustic techniques 1984-5 at the University of Montreal with Yves Daoust and Marcelle Deschênes. In 1981 he was awarded the Sir Ernest MacMillan Award from the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada for his orchestral work Agrégats (1979). He was also a winner in two categories in the 1984 CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers, for his works Résurgence (1982) for tape, first performed in 1982 as choreographed by the dancer Manon Levac at a concert honouring Gilles Tremblay, and Résonances (1982) for harp solo, commissioned by Nathalie Teevin-Lebens. Chronaxie ou 'ce désert acharnement de couleurs' (1984) for percussion and tape was recorded on LP and CD by the percussionist Beverley Johnston (Centrediscs CMC-2786). Arcuri's Murmure (1989) for tape was released on CD in 1990 (4-ACM 37). Arcuri received commissions from the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec in 1985, for Prologue for small ensemble and tape, and from the Fédération des orchestres de jeunes du Québec in 1986, for Brumes for concert band and Amers for orchestra. Other works with electronics include Bandoneon for accordion and tape, premiered in 1990 by Joseph Petric; Waves (1998), which combines live electronics with pre-recorded sound; and Migrations, premiered by Josée Poirier in 2003, which uses flocks of geese as its sound source. Arcuri has continued to write acoustic music, composing several pieces among which are Sitio for solo harpsichord, written in 1993 and recorded by Catherine Perrin in 1998; Fragments (1997) for solo piano, in which Arcuri uses source material from the bells of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church in Montreal; Episodes for string orchestra, described by one critic as "romantic," premiered by the Orchestre baroque de Montreal under Joel Thifault in 2001; and Ancient Temples for solo percussion, premiered at the Vancouver New Music Festival 25 Mar 2006. Arcuri has also written soundtracks for such films as the 1995 thriller Liste Noire. His commissions have come from CBC Radio, Le Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Musica Camerata Montréal, L'Ensemble Arion, the Molinari Quartet, Lawrence Cherney, Robert Cram, Brigitte Poulin, and Louise Bessette, who has championed his works.

Arcuri's music strives for visceral impact, as well as a connection to the real world and to myth - one of the reasons he turned to electroacoustic composition. His first CD, Les Méandre du rêve, is a starting point for this exploration: he kept a log of his dreams for use in the composition process, though he later relied only on their themes. His interest in myth appears in both Murmure and La Porte du sable, the former being inspired by various tribal creation myths, the latter by the parables from The Sand Child by Tahar Ben Jelloun. Regarding Fragments, the composer demonstrates his intuitive approach by saying ". . . I do not fully understand [the work] but recognize [it] as a certain kind of resonance."

Arcuri was the president of Association pour la création et la recherche électroacoustiques du Québec 1985-8, and the production head for its Printemps électroacoustique. He is a member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community and of the Canadian League of Composers, and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.

Selected Works

Agrégats. 1979. Orchestra

Resonance. 1982. Harp

Resurgence. 1982. Tape

Chronaxie. 1984. Solo percussion and tape

Prélude aux méandres. 1985. Tape

Prologue. 1985. Small instrumental ensemble and tape

Brume. 1986. Concert band. Ms

Amers. 1986. Orchestra. Ms

Lueurs. 1987. French horn, percussion and tape

Murmure. 1989. Tape

Bandoneon. 1990. Accordion and tape

Soliloque. 1991. Violin. Ms

Errances. 1992. Oboe d'amore, harp, and tape. Ms

Arborescences. 1992. Marimba, vibraphone, wood drums, double string orchestra. Ms

Fresques. 1992. English horn, two percussionists, and two DX-7

Récifs. 1993. Tape

Sitio. 1993. Harpsichord. Ms

Infinite spaces. Organ. 1994

La porte des sables. 1995. Oboe, English horn, MIDI percussion, and tape

Fragments. 1997. Piano. Ms

Épisodes. 2001. String orchestra. Ms

Les furieuses enluminures. 2001. Piano, string quartet, flute, clarinet

Migrations. 2003. Flute and tape

Bonnes Nouvelles. 2004. Children's theatre, by Marie-Hélène da Silva. In collaboration with Michael Oesterle

Ancient Temples. 2006. Solo percussion

"Ondes de chocs," Circuit, vol 4, nos 1-2, 1993

Further Reading