Henri Dutilleux, modernist composer, dies at 97

French composer Henri Dutilleux in Paris in 2005.
(Jean-Pierre Muller / AFP/Getty Images)

Henri Dutilleux, the French composer whose modernist music has received international acclaim and is performed regularly by major orchestras, died Thursday in Paris. He was 97.

His death was announced by his publisher, Schott Music. No cause of death has been released.

Dutilleux is widely regarded as one of the most important composers of the 20th century. He wasn’t a prolific writer, but his style, singular voice and iconoclastic tendencies won him admirers around the world, inviting comparisons to fellow Frenchman Pierre Boulez and Olivier Messiaen — though Dutilleux and the former reportedly did not always get along.

PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2013


Critics have often compared his music to that of Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel and Bela Bartok.

Born in 1916 in Angers, France, Dutilleux grew up in an artistic home. He later studied at the Paris Conservatory.

In 1989, Dutilleux made a rare trip to Los Angeles to attend the premiere of his Second Symphony at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with the L.A. Philharmonic.

When then-Times reporter Daniel Cariaga asked the composer about his rather modest creative output, the composer replied: “Surely I regret it. It’s a problem of temperament. Some write a lot — for example, [Darius] Milhaud. Others write less. Oddly enough, when I do not have a deadline, I can write quite quickly.”

His wife, pianist Geneviève Joy, died in 2009 at age 90.

Information on survivors of Dutilleux was not immediately available.


Elliott Carter dies; inventive American composer was 103


Charles Rosen dies at 85; pianist wrote ‘The Classical Style’

Harold Shapero, neo-classical composer at Brandeis, dies at 93