Bernard Parmegiani was a French composer best known for his electronic and acousmatic music.

Parmegiani studied with Jacques Lecoq between 1957 and 1961 and joined the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) in 1959 for a two-year masterclass, shortly after its founding by electronic music pioneer Pierre Schaeffer. He was head of the Music/Image unit for French television, where he worked in the studio with several notable composers including Iannis Xenakis, and produced music for film directors including Jacques Baratier and Peter Kassovitz. It was here that he gained hands-on experience of musique concrete (recording and using pre-existing sounds to create new electronic pieces).

Parmegiani composed his first major work, Violostries, for violin and tape in 1964 and researched the link between music and video on a research trip to America. On his return he produced several music videos and performed with the Third Ear Band in London.

Parmegiani wrote acousmatic pieces for performance in the concert hall including Capture éphémère (1967) which deals with the passage of time, and L’Enfer (1972), a collaboration with the composer François Bayle, based on Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Parmegiani has been cited as a major influence by younger experimentalists like Aphex Twin, Autechre and Sonic Youth, and his works have been performed at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festivals in 2003 and 2008.

Fun Fact

Parmegiani wrote a number of jingles for the French media, including the “Indicatif Roissy” that preceded every tannoy announcement at Terminal 1 of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport until 2005.

About this Contributor

Given name
Family name
Birth date
Death date
Contributor type
Minutes created
Collection 2 #33

Minutes by Bernard Parmegiani