Pierre Boulez (born March 26, 1925) is a composer and conductor of contemporary and classical music. Boulez is also an articulate, perceptive and sweeping writer on music. Some articles ?notably the notorious ?Schoenberg is Dead? (1951)? were deliberately provocative and veered towards polemic. Others dealt with questions of technique and aesthetics in a deeply reflective if sometimes elliptical manner.
These writings have mostly been republished under the titles Notes of an Apprenticeship, Orientations: Collected Writings, and Boulez on Music Today, as well as within reprints of the journal of the Darmstadt composers of the time, Die Reihe.
Boulez is also world-famous conductor, having directed most of the world's leading symphony orchestras and ensembles since the late fifties. He served both as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1971-1975, and Music Director of the New York Philharmonic from 1971-1977. He is currently the Principal Guest Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Boulez is particularly famed for his polished interpretations of twentieth century classics - Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Sravinsky, Leoš Janá?ek, Béla Bartók, Anton Webern and Edgard Varèse - as well as for numerous performances of contemporary music. Clarity, precision, rhythmic agility and a respect for the composers' intentions as notated in the musical score are the hallmarks of his conducting style. He never uses a baton, conducting with his hands alone. His nineteenth century repertoire focuses upon Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz, Robert Schumann and especially Richard Wagner.