Jean-Luc Darbellay

Jean -Luc Darbellay ( born July 2, 1946 in Bern ) is a Swiss doctor, composer, conductor and clarinetist. He is considered one of the leading Swiss composers. Darbellay is a member of the group of composers Groupe Lacroix and co-founder of the Festival L' art pour l' Aar. He was from 1994 to 2007 the founding president of the Swiss Society for New Music ( SGNM ). His oeuvre amounts to over 250 works of all genres. Among his most famous works Requiem (2005 ) is for soloists, chorus and orchestra, which was premiered under the baton of Fabio Luisi. For his work he was awarded the French Order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. Most recently, he was composer in residence with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and at the Festival Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad.

  • 7.1 monograph
  • 7.2 Anthologies
  • 7.3 Article
  • 7.4 out interviews and


Origin and medical profession

Jean -Luc Darbellay comes from a long-established family Valais. The first written record comes from the year 1330. He was born in 1946 as son of the music-loving Bernese physician Pierre Darbellay ( 1912-1980 ) and his wife Rita Lohner ( 1913-1993 ). He received his first violin lessons at the age of nine at Magda Lavanchy, a pupil of Eugène Ysaÿe Belgian violinist, at the Bern School of Music. Due to his interest in jazz, he moved in 1964 to the clarinet. Two years later he gave his first public concert. After the baccalaureate at a grammar school in Bern, he decided, as his brother and his father before him, to study medicine, which he took in 1966 at the University of Bern and graduated in 1972 with the Federal State Examination. In 1968 he founded the orchestra physicians Bern, where he took over the clarinet part. He was awarded his doctorate for Dr. med and worked for three years as a junior doctor at a hospital in Baden near Zurich. In addition to his work as a composer he worked from 1980 until his retirement in 2012 worked as a general practitioner in Bern.

Studying music and ensemble -ups

From 1975 to 1979 he studied clarinet with Kurt Weber, the soloist of the Bern Symphony Orchestra, at the Bern Conservatory. Furthermore, included, inter alia, his teachers Theo Hirsbrunner ( student of Pierre Boulez ) in music theory and composition and Paul Theissen in conducting. Jean -Luc Darbellay described himself as a musical grandson of Pierre Boulez.1976 he made his conducting debut with the Orchestra of the International Summer Academy Biel. While still a student he founded the Ludus Ensemble in Bern, he heads to this day and whose repertoire Swiss composers such as Ulrich Amann, Robert Blum, Caroline Charrière, Hans Eugen Frischknecht, Paul Hindemith, Arthur Honegger, Frank Martin, Othmar Schoeck and Alfred Schweizer includes. So far, the chamber ensemble gave over 300 concerts at home and abroad. Specializing in contemporary chamber music ensemble Accroche Note to the singer Françoise Kubler and clarinetist Armand angster from Strasbourg wore in the 1980s, much to the spread of the first compositions Jean -Luc Darbellays. In 1982 Darbellay took part in the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt. He attended ibid composition courses with Brian Ferneyhough, Helmut Lachenmann, Gérard Grisey, Michaël Levinas and Wolfgang Rihm.

From 1984 he took, inter alia, in conducting with Pierre Dervaux, Jean -Marie Auberson and Franco Ferrara in part. After his one-year studies in composition with Cristóbal Halffter he was in 1989, 1991 and 1993, Edison Denisov's assistant at the International Music Festival in Lucerne IMF. From 1991 to 1994 he attended classes at Dimitri Terzakis at the Bern Conservatory. At a workshop held in Perugia in 1992, he worked with John Cage. From 1992 to 1995 he attended composition seminars of Pierre Boulez at the Collège de France and at IRCAM in Paris. In addition, he participated in masterclasses for composition with Klaus Huber and Heinz Holliger. After the common Denisov Masterclass In 1993 he founded with Michael Baumgartner, John Wolf Brennan, Christian Henking, Stephan Sabotta and Michael Schneider composers Groupe Lacroix. The group was later expanded to include Marianne Schroeder, Michael Radanovics Alfons and Karl Zwicker. In 1995 he founded the ensemble spectrum, consisting of pianist Victor Yampolski, cellist Natalia Savinova and violinist Mikhail Tsinman into life. In 1997 he founded with oboist and saxophonist Marc Olivier Sieffert Sieffert the ensemble Orion. Concert tours have taken him throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia, South America and Australia.

Compositional work

The compositional breakthrough Darbellay with his Concerto for Cello and Ensemble ( 1989), which was premiered in Paris in the year of the Finnish soloist Anssi Karttunen at the Maison de Radio France. He worked closely with the cello virtuoso Siegfried Palm, to which he devoted seven pieces. Their first meeting took place at a price of György Kurtág in Bern. Kurtág composed the piece resume, Op 32 (1992 ) for two basset horn and two pianos, which brought Darbellay at the Witten Days for New Chamber Music for the premiere. For Radio Suisse Romande ( RSR ) and Radio Canada, he composed the String Quartet Ecumes (1996). To mark the 70 year anniversary of the Bauhaus in Dessau, he created for the middle Rundfunk ( MDR) the work A Garden for Orpheus (1996 ) for horn, basset horn and strings with references to Paul Klee. In addition, ( NEC), the Swiss brought Nouvel Ensemble Contemporain his works Chandigarh (1996) for 17 instruments and Mégalithe - Lutece (2001) for horn and ensemble premiered.

Under the leadership of the Italian conductor Fabio Luisi, the work commissioned by the West Swiss radio Oyama (1999) for large orchestra was premiered by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in 2000. The program was broadcast live from Télévision Suisse Romande (TSR ). Later, followed by performances in Weimar and at the Leipzig Gewandhaus with the MDR Symphony Orchestra under Fabio Luisi. Again it came to transfers, this time in France Musique. In addition, the piece of the Tribune international Compositeurs of the International Music Council of UNESCO was presented in Paris and performed in Hong Kong and Kiev. The summit conductor also conducted his most important work, Requiem (2005) for soloists, chorus and orchestra. 2007 Echoes (2007) for horn and large orchestra during the festival Présences Radio France premiered. Darbellays Clarinet Concerto Zephyr (2008) was premiered inter alia, by the soloist Stephan Siegenthaler at the Rudolfinum in Prague. 2010 and 2011 were followed by the premieres of Dernière lettre à Théo (2010 ) for baritone and orchestra by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Cosmos ( 2011) for percussion and orchestra by the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne.

Jean -Luc Darbellay composed over 250 works of all genres, including a chamber opera. The majority of his works in the Ricordi music publishing are published in Munich. In the season 2011/12 Darbellay Composer-in -Residence was the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and 2012 when Musicaux de Gstaad Classic Festival Sommets. His compositions have been recorded in international music festivals, including Festival Alternativa in Moscow, Présences Festival in Paris, Pan Music Festival in Seoul, [ [ Bruckner Festival ] ] in Linz, Wien Modern and Prague Premieres and several World Music Days of the International Society for Contemporary Music (Bucharest in 1999, Luxembourg in 2000, Hong Kong 2002, Ljubljana 2003, Lucerne 2004, Hong Kong 2007, Zagreb, 2011).

Organization of New Music

Darbellay was 1993 Swiss collaboration with the Swiss composer Hans Eugen Frischknecht, Ursula Gut, Pierre- Alain Monot and Alfred founding member of the contemporary festivals of L' art pour l' Aar. He took over the 20 - year anniversary composers such as Chan Wing- wah, Andor Losonczy and Max E. Keller to Bern. From 1994 to 2007 he was the founding president of the Swiss Society for New Music ( SGNM ) and 2003-2007 board member of the International Society for Contemporary Music ( ISCM ). He initiated, inter alia, the ISCM World Music Days 2004 in Switzerland. Darbellay is also an individual member of the Society for New Music in Darmstadt, Board of Trustees of the Fondation de l' Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and a board member of Friends of the MDR Symphony Orchestra.

He is married to the originating from Schnottwil lab technician and clarinetist Elsbeth Darbellay drivers since 1971. They have two children together, cellists and horn player Olivier Darbellay ( b. 1974 ) and the violinist Anne - Noëlle Darbellay (* 1980). In 2011, he gave his music archive library of Valais in Sion.

Tonal language

Jean -Luc Darbellay belongs next to Heinz Holliger, Thüringstrasse Bräm and Laurent Mettraux the most influential contemporary composers Switzerland. He was initially influenced by the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. A strong influence exercised on him later Claude Debussy and Olivier Messiaen as well as Igor Stravinsky and Anton Webern. The music theorist Theo Hirsbrunner introduced him on the piano works of Webern with the twelve-tone technique. Like other Bernese composers, he is oriented to Sándor Veress and Pierre Boulez. Music journalist Stephen Thomas put it: " [ ... ] Cristóbal Halffter's idea of a musical continuum connects to [ ... ] with with Azerbaijani arabesques from the sphere of influence of Edison Denisov, serial 12-tone elements from the think tank Boulez [ ... ] play an important role in the context the Pedaltonstudien Terzakis ' [ ... ] '. Inspiration wins Darbellay beyond the visual arts, for example, by Paul Klee's works, so to speak, and A Garden for Orpheus. In the latter work, he uses his typical polyphonic guided composition technique, the micro- polyphony. In many of his compositions, the basset horn ( Espaces and Chant d' adieux ) and the natural horn ( Appels and signal) and Horn ( Azur and echoes) has an important meaning.


List of Works

Discography (selection)

Jean -Luc Darbellays music was recorded on over 20 recordings.


  • Klee - Boulez « à la limite du pays ". In: Music Texts 100 (2004), p 42
  • Mozart! In: Swiss music newspaper 9 (2006) 5, p 5
  • In gangsters en pullman philharmonique. In: dissonance 105 (2009), pp. 23-24.