- Terence J. O’Grady
Varèse, Edgard (22 December 1883–06 November 1965), conductor and composer, was born Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse in Paris, France, the son of Henri Varèse, an engineer, and Blanche-Marie Cortot. Beset by domestic difficulties, his family entrusted him to the care of his maternal aunt and uncle who lived in Villars, Burgundy. Varèse split his early years between Paris and Burgundy until his family settled in Turin, Italy, in 1893. Although his father strongly discouraged his interests in music, Varèse soon became enamored of late Romantic composers such as Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss as well as impressionist composers such as Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas. At age twelve he composed an “opera” based on a novel by Jules Verne for performance by his schoolmates. He later received informal music lessons from Giovanni Bolzoni, director of Turin Conservatory, and, at age nineteen, decided to pursue a career in music despite the urging of his father to study engineering. Varèse nevertheless remained interested in science and technology, which played a major role in his musical development....