Des Marais, Paul (Emile)
- Richard Swift
- , revised by Steve Metcalf
(b Menominee, MI, June 23, 1920; d, April 16, 2011). American composer and teacher. He studied composition with Sowerby in Chicago before attending Harvard University (BA 1949, MA 1953), where he studied with Piston, Merritt, and Gombosi. He spent two years in Europe on a John Knowles Paine Traveling Fellowship (1949–51), and studied with Boulanger. In 1960 he joined the faculty at UCLA, becoming professor of music in 1971. He has received a Thorne Award (1970–73) and a grant from the University of California Institute for Creative Arts. He retired in 1988.
The neo-classical language of his early music later moved towards a quasi-diatonic serialism in which ostinatos play a major role in the delineation of pitch centres. In his opera Epiphanies, open textures and simple pitch contexts are cultivated to permit full play in text setting; similar means are used in his large-scale choral works and in the later music for solo voice. Since the late 1970s Des Marais has become increasingly interested in collaboration with other arts, especially theatre, film and dance; ...