Born in Caen in 1968, Éric Tanguy is to this day one of the most performed French composers in the world. Named “Composer of the Year’” by the Victoires de la musique classique in 2004 and 2008, Tanguy studied under Horatiu Radulescu, Ivo Malec, Gérard Grisey, and Betsy Jolas at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris.
He has been awarded numerous prizes throughout his career, including the Darmstadt Stipendienpreis (1988), the Prix Villa Médicis Hors les murs (1989), the Haut Conseil culturel franco-allemand scholarship (1991), the Villa Médicis competition prize (1992), the Darmstadt Kranichsteiner Musikpreis (1992), the French Institute André-Caplet prize (1995), the SACEM Hervé-Dugardin prize (1997), the SACEM lifetime achievement award (2012), and the “Grand prix Lycéen des compositeurs” (2014).
A composer in residence for the Académie de France in Rome (1993- 1994), Tanguy was also the honorary guest of Henri Dutilleux at the Tanglewood Music Center. He was the composer in residence in Champagne-Ardenne (1995), Lille (1996), with Orchestre de Bretagne (2001 to 2003), and for the Festival des Arcs in 2011. He was also a guest composer at the Aspects des Musiques d’Aujourd’hui festival in Caen (2007) and the Holstebro Festival in Denmark in 2012. He was invited in 2015 by the Kone Foundation (Saari Residency) in Finland, and invited by Steven Isserlis as a composer in residence for the Open Chamber Music Festival in Prussia Cove. He was most recently named composer in residence for the 2018 and 2019 Festival international de musique in Besançon, Franche-Comté.
His catalog contains over 100 compositions, ranging from solo works to concertos, vocal works, and symphonies, performed by many of today’s greatest conductors, soloists, quartets, trios, ensembles, and orchestras both in France and abroad. He has also regularly collaborated with the writers Michel Onfray and Philippe Le Guillou.
In 2001, Mstislav Rostropovitch premiered Tanguy’s Cello Concerto No. 2 at the Flâneries musicales de Reims before bringing the work to the United States, performing in Boston and at New York’s Carnegie Hall with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
In 2004, the actor Michel Blanc performed Tanguy’s monodrama Sénèque, dernier jour. His Trio for violin, cello, and piano was premiered at Radio France by Marie-Joseph Jude, Stéphanie- Marie Degand, and Cécilia Tsan (who commissioned the work), and later performed in 2011 by the Trio Pantoum during the Jacaranda Music Festival in California.
In January 2014, Paavo Järvi conducted the premiere of his symphonic work Affettuoso with the Orchestre de Paris at the Salle Pleyel. In March 2015, a new version of In Excelsis was performed at the Philharmonie de Paris by the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France, conducted by Enrique Mazzola. In December 2015, Matka, a work for orchestra commissioned by Jyväskylä Sinfonia and Ville Matvejeff, was premiered with the support of the Kone Foundation to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius. In February 2016, Esa-Pekka Salonen conducted three performances of the work Affettuoso with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Hall and, in November 2017, Pierre Génisson and the Orchestre Royal de Liège premiered the Clarinet Concerto.
In 2018, Tanguy composed Constellations, the imposed symphonic work for the 2019 International Besançon Competition for Young Conductors. Tanguy’s The Desperate Man (2019) for string octet was premiered by the Quatuor Diotima and the Quatuor Arod during his residency at the Festival international de musique in Besançon, Franche-Comté.
The Quintet for piano and string quartet (2018-19) was commissioned by the École Normale de Musique in Paris to mark its centenary anniversary. More recently, two new vocal works have been added to the composer’s catalog: Agnus Dei for soprano and mixed choir, premiered at the Opéra de Rennes by Violaine Le Chenadec with the Choeur Mélisme, and Miserere for choir, premiered in the Basilique Sainte-Anne d’Auray by the Sainte-Anne d’Auray vocal ensemble, conducted by Gilles Gérard.
Between 2017 and 2018, Tanguy released two literary publications with Nathalie Krafft: Ecouter Sibelius, published by Buchet Chastel, and the biographical work Cinquante questions pour 50 ans de questionnement (Fifty questions for 50 years of questioning), published by Aedam Musicae with a preface written by Michel Onfray.
In 2002, Tanguy was named Professor of composition at the Paul Dukas conservatory in the 12th arrondissement in Paris, and since 2017 has served the same role at the École Normale de Musique in Paris. His reputation as a composer and professor have earned him regular masterclass and conference invitations throughout the world.
Tanguy’s works have been published by the Éditions Salabert since 1989, and many of these have been recorded by the Decca, Erato, Naïve, Transart, Intrada, Oehms Classics, Brilliant Classics, and Genuin record labels.