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André Riotte studied musical composition (under André Jolivet), musical analysis (with Olivier Messiaen and Jean Barraqué) and trained as an electronics engineer (at the ESME). He composed his first works (La cage aux chiffres, 1948, Suite Guerrière, 1952, Trio à cordes, 1954) while he was exploring electronic calculation and simulation technologies at the CNET (Centre National d'Études des Télécommunications) in Issy-les-Moulineaux, which hosted Xenakis' CEMAMu (Center for Studies in Mathematics and Automated Music) 30 years later.

In 1961 he took up a scientific career within the European Community, and settled in Italy (Varese) close to the first major EC Research Centre (Ispra, Lake Maggiore), where he familiarised himself with the latest scientific calculation techniques (analogue and digital).


He continued to compose, and at the same time organised musical events for the 2,000 scientists of 6 nationalities working there. He quickly discovered the possible relations between musical composition and scientific calculation. Suite pour piano - 195§, the 1er quatuor à cordes - 1957 , Dualités - 1963, Abysses - 1964 were composed in this framework.

Riotte moved to Brussels in 1970, where he took a more active involvement in Belgian musical life (Orbitales - 1970, Transe Calme - 1974, Anamorphoses - 1977) and also took part in Parisian activities (at the CEMAMu, then at Ircam).

He retired from public life in 1982 following a severe heart attack. Since then, he has devoted himself entirely to music, dividing his time between Brussels and Paris, where he taught musical formalisation, first at Paris 8 University (1978-1990), then at Ircam (1991-1998). He retired to the village of Provins, south of Paris, in 2003.

Riotte has never thought of himself as a scientist who composes music, but as a composer, finding, exploring and exploiting the multiple bridges opening up between music and mathematics.



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