Joël-François Durand (b. 1954, Orléans, France) is Professor of Music at the University of Washington, where he has taught composition, analysis, and theory since 1991. He has been Associate Director of the UW School of Music since 2002. Durand was awarded the Donald E. Petersen Endowed Professorship in 2003.
Durand studied mathematics, music education, and piano in Paris, then composition with Brian Ferneyhough in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany (1981-84). During that time he also attended masterclasses with György Ligeti, Luciano Berio and Luigi Nono. In 1982 Durand was awarded a scholarship from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange), and a Darmstadt Institute Scholarship for his String Trio. In 1983 his piano piece ". . . d'asiles déchirés . . ." received a prize at the Third International K.H. Stockhausen Composition Competition in Brescia (Italy).
He left Europe in 1984 to pursue a Ph.D. in Composition (awarded in 1988) at the University of New York, Stony Brook (USA), where he studied with Bülent Arel. He also studied electronic music with Daria Semegen. Durand was awarded scholarships from the Fulbright Foundation and from the French Ministry of Culture. He received the "Kranichsteiner Musikpreis" from the Darmstadt Internationalen Ferienkurse in 1990.
Durand has composed for a wide variety of instrumental combinations. His music has been commissioned and performed by many leading ensembles and orchestras in Europe, the US, Brazil, and South Korea, including Ensemble Intercontemporain, London Sinfonietta, Contrechamps, Arditti Quartet, ASKO, Nieuw Ensemble, Ensemble Köln, Recherche, musikFabrik, New York Philomusica, Counter)Induction, EarPlay, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin. Durand's work for orchestra, Athanor, was premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2003 and was released on a CD (Mode Records) of his music in 2004.
A book on his music, Joël-François Durand in the Mirror Land, edited by Jonathan W. Bernard, was released in 2006 by the University of Washington Press, in collaboration with Perspectives of New Music.
As a guest composer and lecturer, Durand has contributed to the University of California at San Diego where he was Visiting Assistant Professor in Composition in 1994; the "Centre de la Voix" in Royaumont, France where he was co-director of the composition course in September 1993; the "Civica Scuola di Musica" in Milan, Italy (1995); the Royal Academy for Music in London, UK (1997); the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Germany; the "VIII. Internationaler Meisterkurs für Komposition des Brandenburgischen Colloquiums für Neue Musik," Rheinsberg, Germany (1998); and Washington State University, Pullman, Washington (2004), among others.
In addition to his activities in music composition, Durand founded a company, Durand Tonearms LLC, in 2009 to produce a high-end tonearm for phonograph, the Talea™, which has been received to great acclaim by the audiophile community. This tonearm includes an invention to adjust the angle of the stylus on the record while playing that is the subject of a patent application filed by the C4C, UW. In 2010, Durand was named a UW Entrepreneurial Fellow in recognition for development and production of the Talea™ tonearm. A new, top-of-the-line tonearm, the Telos™, will be unveiled to the public in the fall 2011.
Durand is listed in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.