News & Classical Music from Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Outspoken composer Pierre Boulez passes away at age 90

Composer and conductor Pierre Boulez.

Composer and conductor Pierre Boulez passed away Wednesday morning in his home in Germany.

The composer was famous for trying to modernize classical music. He was also extremely critical of what he saw as the stagnant “classical music” stereotype.

Boulez once said in an interview, "It is not enough to deface the Mona Lisa because that does not kill the Mona Lisa. All art of the past must be destroyed."


Tom Childs is Instructor of Music Theory at Interlochen Arts Academy. While he appreciates Boulez, he appreciates traditional classical composers, too.

“I think it’s important with our students to have them make sure they have a good understanding of what came from the past but at the same time, not be bound by that," says Childs. "We’re not saying, 'Get rid of everything else,' but at the same time be willing to explore."

Childs says that ties into Boulez's aesthetic in terms of thinking about really going after new things and releasing some of the old.

Pierre Boulez was 90 years old.

Dan Wanschura is the Host and Executive Producer of Points North.