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RICHARD DUBUGNON was born in Lausanne (Switzerland) in 1968. He started music at the age of 20 after reading History in Montpellier and was accepted into the Paris Conservatoire in 1992, where he graduated with prizes in Double Bass, Counterpoint and Fugue. Dubugnon further studied Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating in 1997 with a DipRAM and a MMus, before becoming a Composition Fellow in 1998. When he returned to France in 2002, he became the recipient of the Pierre Cardin Prize from the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris. In 2015 he was awarded the Grand Prix SACEM.
Described as “driven by a playful modern sensibility” by the New York Times, Dubugnon’s music has been championed by Janine Jansen, who premiered his Violin Concerto with the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen in December 2008, shortly after performing his Piano Quartet at the Berlin Philharmonie. Jansen also recorded three pieces written by Dubugnon for her CD Beau Soir which instantly achieved ‘Gold’ status in the Netherlands in September 2010.
In January 2017, Naxos released recordings of a selection of Arcanes Symphoniques ‘tarot cards for orchestra’, one of Dubugnon’s most globally successful works, leading The Guardian to write that the ‘joy in the orchestra’s swooning sonic possibilities is everywhere evident’. In 2011, Battlefield Concerto for two pianos and double orchestra was given its première by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with Semyon Bychkov and Katia and Marielle Labèque at Walt Disney Hall, before being performed by the Orchestra de Paris (Paavo Järvi), the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the London 2012 Proms, then in 2013 by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. The tone poem Helvetia – Vol Alpin, commissioned to mark the Verbier Festival’s 20th anniversary, was performed in 2013 by the Verbier Festival Orchestra under Kent Nagano. Klavieriana, a concerto for piano, orchestra and ‘celeste obbligato’, was premiered at London’s Barbican Centre in 2016 with pianist Noriko Ogawa and the BBCSO conducted by Fabien Gabel.
For the 2016/2017 season Richard was composer-in-residence with the Winterthur Musikkollegium (Thomas Zehtmaier). Other artists that regularly champion Dubugnon’s music include conductors Alain Altinoglu, Lionel Bringuier, Stéphane Denève, Leon Fleisher, Mikko Franck, Fabien Gabel, Laurent Petitgirard and Debora Waldman, as well as soloists such as Renaud and Gauthier Capuçon, Xavier de Maistre, Itamar Golan, Julian Rachlin Max Rysanov, Louis Schwizgebel and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
Stating that his compositions act as reflections of himself at a given moment in his life, Dubugnon regards each work as a ‘variation on a theme’ of a particular period, as well as a personal diary. His short concert-opening Caprices make up such a series, with two premiered since 2015 with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Orchestre de Paris conducted by Paavo Järvi. The set continued to grow in 2017 with Caprice III ‘Romain’, for the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Antonio Pappano, and Caprice IV ‘Es muss sein!’ for the Idomeneo ensemble conducted by Debora Waldman.
Dubugnon has been involved with many educational projects in the UK, the USA and France, and has several years experience of teaching composition in places such as the Royal Academy of Music and the Purcell School in London. He has created projects for children from underrepresented groups with no access to musical education. He also played the double bass for many years, as a soloist chamber and freelance musician with contemporary ensembles and orchestras such as the Opéra National de Paris, where he played between 2002 and 2013.