Étudiant-chercheur étoile July 2013

Jimmie Leblanc

PhD student in Instrumental composition
McGill University

Award-winning publication: Xenakis' Aesthetic Project: The Paradoxes of a Formalist Intuition

Published in: Xenakis Matters, Pendragon Press, New York


"Iannis Xenakis is a French composer of Greek origin who left his mark on the 20th century, especially in the way in which he merged arts and science. The surrounding discourse reveals that Xenakis subordinated scientific notions to his aesthetic vision, and my study supports the trend to integrate his work. Furthermore, while the European composers of the 1950s and 1960s are often considered structuralists, few researchers have explored, as I did, the profound ties that exist between music and structuralism as an intellectual movement. In addition, Xenakis based his work on Parmenides, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher—another topic seldom explored in the literature. I discuss this aspect from the philosophical perspective but also in an effort to demonstrate the influence on the composer's aesthetics. Ultimately, despite the many apparent paradoxes, these factors come together to describe a coherent aesthetic project."

In a cultural context in which arts and technologies are combined and compounded as never before, Jimmie Leblanc's paper demonstrates the great relevance of Xenakis' work. While the study reveals how science and art can sustain each other and produce unprecedented innovation, it also challenges the place and role of science in the aesthetic experience. Composers, performers, concert producers and music enthusiasts will gain from this reflection, which touches upon current issues in music.