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Pierre Boulez was “first and foremost, a composer who broke the rules,” observes Martha Gilmer in an interview published Jan. 6 in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Pierre Boulez and Martha Gilmer celebrate after a 1995 concert.

Pierre Boulez and Martha Gilmer celebrate after a 1995 concert.

Gilmer, the former vice president of artistic planning and audience development for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and now the chief executive officer of the San Diego Symphony, recalled her long friendship and collaboration with Boulez, who died Jan. 5 at age 90. “Pierre was someone who imagined a new language in music,” she said. “He was not interested in preserving the past … and was always looking for new ways of experiencing” the artform.

Boulez, who was the CSO’s Helen Regenstein conductor emeritus, did not view music in terms of genres, Gilmer said, and embraced virtually all styles, including rock. Leading his Ensemble InterContemporain, he recorded an album of music by avant-garde rocker Frank Zappa, “Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger” (1984). “Pierre’s curiosity took him beyond [genre limits],” she said, “and he saw it all as a [world of] sound.”

To read the full interview, click here.