Serge Lancen

From Wind Repertory Project
Serge Lancen


Serge Lancen (5 November 1922, Paris – 10 June 2005, Paris) was a French composer and pianist.

From an early age Serge is attracted to music, listening to his mother play classical pieces on piano. All these classical composers influenced Lancen's musical development. Before reaching his fifth birthday, he composed a lullaby, which was later published. When he was eight, he studied music theory and piano. At fifteen, in 1937, he has already written enough music for piano for an entire recital. Later, he studied piano with Marguerite Long and Lazare Lévy and composition with Noël Gallon and Tony Aubin. In 1950 he won a Prix de Rome, the most prestigious award for a young composer.

Serge Lancen covered all genres of writing and chamber music, piano works, ballets, chamber opera commissioned by the Radio and symphonic music. His style was completely original, yet clearly influenced by the classics that he has heard so much during his youth. Among his first symphonic compositions include the Concertino for Piano (1949), Concerto for Piano (1951) and Symphony Light (1955).

In the mid-1950s, Lancen became interested in the possibilities of the wind ensemble. A trip to the United States inspired Lancen to write his Manhattan Symphony (1961-1962) for the wind orchestra, as well as his Symphony Christmas (1964) and its sequel Festival in Kerkrade (1966). Lancen discovered the World Competition for Wind Orchestras held every four years in Kerkrade, a small border town south of the Netherlands. Serge became a distinguished guest there when his Manhattan Symphonywon first division in 1966. Cape Kennedy was popular as set a piece in the first division in 1978. Serge Lancen was also very often on the program of gala concerts given by the most prestigious professional wind orchestras at Kerkrade. The Mini Symphony (1967) can be considered his first work completely for winds.

Lancen was present at the creation of the WASBE international organization (World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) in Manchester in July 1981 and long supported it, for which he created several works.

The composer always showed a preference for religious works. The first of its kind is the World Poem (1975) based on texts from the Bible (including Psalm 8, 23, 100 and 150), various prayer books in their original language (Latin, French, Slavonic, Hebrew) and intimate prayers.

Works for Winds