François NICOLAS

fnicolas [at]

© Guy Vivien


Interview (Buenos-Aires, avril 2004) : French American Television

·       First part

·       Second part


[ en français ]

      "The third listening is the good one (concerning hearing considered as a process of integration)" Musicæ Scientæ (n° 2, 1997)

      "What is a musical logic?" (décembre 1999, Forum Diderot, Ircam)

      "What can we hope for from the musical logics established in the twentieth century?" (march 2000, Ars Musica - Brussell)

      Questions on logic: writing, dialectics and musical strategies (2000)

      Radiation Control on Multi-Loudspeaker Device : La Timée (N. Misdariis, F. Nicolas, O. Warusfel, R. Caussé) - ICMC 2001

      « Defining music ? » (on André Boucourechliev)

      Is Schoenberg Wagner’s future ? (New York, May 1st, 2006)

      How to theorize music today in the light of mathematics? A musician’s point of view – trad. of “Gazette des mathématiciens”, n°119, January 2009

§       version pdf

      Badiou and Music : A musician’s investigation (trad. Liam Flenady) – Journées Alain Badiou (Paris, October 2010)

      Transfiguration” Trio : Elements of analysis (trad. Liam Flenady)

      Duelle [programme notes] (trad. Liam Flenady)

      The Hexagon of Opposition in Music (trad. Liam Flenady) – june 2012, Beirut, Lebanon (3rd World Congress on the Square of Opposition)

Born in 1947, from a young age François Nicolas learnt the piano and then the organ (Albert Alain). After some scientific studies (École Polytechnique), he performed jazz for a while before turning to contemporary music. In completing his musical studies - piano with Carlos Roqué-Alsina, composition Michel Philippot - he met Mauricio Kagel and Luciano Berio (Acanthes, 1981 and 1983), Brian Ferneyhough (Darmstadt, 1982 and 1984) and took the computer music course for composers at Ircam.

As an assistant at the Conservatoire de Paris, he cofounded the journal Entretemps (1986) and joined the editorial committee of the Revue de musicologie (1988) while appearing regularly as a guest producer on France-Musique.

During the ‘90s, François Nicolas worked at Ircam as a researcher and composer (implementing the Modalys software - synthesis through physical models - then the Timée - a multi-loudspeaker source). There he organised the Samedis d’Entretemps (meetings around books on music) and various seminars (Entretemps).

Since 2003, he has worked at the École Normale Supérieure (rue d’Ulm, Paris) as an associate professor and researcher. There he organises diverse meetings under the auspices of mamuphi (seminars dedicated to the exploration of mathematics, music, and philosophy).

Nicolas’ musical works are published by Jobert. They have been performed by various ensembles (Ensemble Intercontemporain, l’Itinéraire…) and by numerous performers (J.-L. Étienne, R. Garioud, M. Jordan, M. Kobayashi, H. Larbi, A. Minck, N. Miribel, A. Neveux, P. Rophé, F. Tanada, J. Wood…). He is currently composing a tetralogy (symphony, cantata, madrigal and opera) called Égalité ’68, which celebrates (in French, German, Russian and Arabic) the fiftieth anniversary of May 1968.

Nicolas combines composition with theoretical reflection. After many books (on Schoenberg, the concert, Boulez…) and numerous articles, he will next publish a vast work The World-Music and its listening in the Work.