It’s difficult to imagine Pierre Boulez turning 90 this year (March 25) – he has always been considered one of those firebrands of Contemporary Music. His compositions have elicited outrage, adoration, scorn and praise – often simultaneously – usually heated. He has never been one to whom mediocrity has found a comfortable ally. And he is, beyond his compositional roots, a musicians-musician. He is the conductor orchestras love. I know, on more than one occasion, and with more than one orchestra, a Draft-Boulez movement springing up among musicians who want him to stay and become Music Director. His rapport with musicians and orchestras is legendary.
And perhaps that’s why, even at 90, Pierre Boulez is still very much in demand and appears with orchestras all over the world. Maybe less so now, but around the time of this interview (1973), Pierre Boulez was in a constant state of World travel, with prestigious posts or guest appearances with every major Symphony Orchestra in the world.
It’s sad to consider an interview such as this, with NBC News’ Edwin Newman, most likely would never appear on any sort of network broadcast today – but it was commonplace in 1973. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about that now.
At any rate – interviews with Pierre Boulez, thought not all that rare, are probably not heard much, save for the 90th birthday celebrations in March.
This one hour interview covers much ground, and Newman has done his homework, so the interview is informative and insightful.
Here is Pierre Boulez as he appeared on Speaking Freely, March 6, 1973.