I was sad to learn that Pierre Boulez passed away yesterday. I was his musical assistant for the world premiere of “…explosante-fixe…” on September 13, 1993.
As a composer, he inherited and furthered the legacies of Webern and Stravinsky. As a conductor, he made the thicket of Schoenberg crystal clear. He publicly opposed Cage’s aleatoricism, but concealed chance operations deeply in his own works.
His apartment was full of artworks: Bacon, Miró, Klee. His opinions were always vocal and often vehement.
And he could tell a very dirty joke with polite refinement.