Michel Decoust
photo I. Jarsky
Michel Decoust
Concours de Rome, 1962

Born in 1936 into an environment bathed in music from his early childhood, Michel Decoust committed himself entirely to it as a career in the late 50s. In an itinerary marked by all kinds of dualities, he was first confronted by that
facing all European art music at the time: whether or not to compose serial music, whether or not to claim allegiance to an avant-garde. Decoust in fact both circumvented and mastered the alternatives, as he was both a winner of the Prix de Rome (1963) and the cause of an æsthetic scandal following the performance of an experimental work with atomised sounds, written for the Orchestre National and .rst performed in Royan Cathedral in 1967.
At .rst hesitating between composition and conducting, he in the end cultivated both crafts, the second until the 1980s. In 1973 he founded the Pantin Conservatory with Irène Jarsky and Martine Joste, after having taken part, at
the behest of Marcel Landowski, in the foundation of the Orchestre des Pays de la Loire (1967 - 1971).
In 1975 he was invited by Pierre Boulez to direct the teaching department of IRCAM (where he was more interested in the search for new tools of analysis and pedagogy than in computers per se). He subsequently returned to the Ministry of Culture where he brought together and supported very many research studios. In this way Michel Decoust is the federator of two worlds, as if his own æsthetic path (leading from classical conservatory training to thoroughly conceptual music and then to a veritable liberation from all æsthetic
diktats) thereby found its justification.
De.ning himself as an “entrepreneur” and “builder”, Michel Decoust could only refuse any kind of exclusion and spirit of faction: in his early days, the concerts of the Domaine Musical and of French radio attracted him in equal measure. Forty years on he composed his .rst opera, without disowning any of his earlier stages - the voice indeed being one of his preferred areas of musical creation.
Hélène Pierrakos


1980 - Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et lettres
1987 - Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
1988 - Grand Prix de la SACEM
1991 - Officier de l'Ordre National du Mérite

1967-68 - Professeur de composition aux Cours d'été de Dartington College (Grande Bretane)
1967-70 - Animateur musical régional. Mise en place de l'Orchestre Philarmonique des Pays de Loire
1970-72 - Responsable des Activités musicales à la maison de la Culture de Rennes, puis de Nevers
1972-76 - Fondateur-Directeur du Conservatoire Municipal de Musique de Pantin
1975-79 - Responsable du Département Pédagogique de l'IRCAM
1979-91 - Inspecteur Général de l'Enseignement Musical au Ministère de la Culture
1991-94 - Détaché au district de l'agglomération de Montpellier en qualité de Directeur Général de l'Enseignement Spécialisé de la Musique, de la danse et de l'Art dramatique
1994-2001 - Réintègre le Ministère de la Culture, est chargé de l'enseignement
depuis 2001 - Successivement :
- Président du CEFEPEDEM de Lorraine
- Président de la Fondation Francis et Mica Salabert

1949-50 et 1956-65 : CNSM de Paris :
- 1re Médaille de Solfège Spécialisé (Y. Desportes).
- 1er Prix de Direction d’Orchestre (L. Fourestier).
- 1er Prix d’Harmonie (G. Dandelot).
- 1er Prix d’Analyse (O. Messiaen).
- 2e Prix de Contrepoint (Y. Desportes).
- 2e Prix de Composition (D. Milhaud, J. Rivier).
- Grand Prix de Rome.
- Prix International de Composition Ambron, Almagia-Sienne (Italie).
- 2e Prix de Direction d’Orchestre de Besançon.
1964-65 : Kurs für Neue Musik - Köln (Stockhausen, Boulez) (Allemagne)
1965 : Cours de Direction d’Orchestre - Bâle (Boulez) (Suisse).