A to Z: J is for Betsy Jolas

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0 It’s day 10 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge in which I attempt to blog every day (excepting Sundays) throughout the month of April. For this challenge, I am curating a collection of “classical” music pieces, which are lesser known or by lesser known composers (to me at least).

Today’s composer is Betsy Jolas (b.1926 ).


Jolas grew up in a very literary family. Her father had a literary magazine called “Transitions,” which among other new works, published “Finnegan’s Wake.” The young Jolas grew up with visits to her house by Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and other Lost Generation writer.

Jolas: Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio (1997)

After studying in the US, she returned to France and studied with Darius Milhaud and Olivier Messiaen, though later she became much more influenced by Stockhausen, Boulez and the Avant Garde in music.


Today’s piece reminds me of the work of Webern and Schoenberg. Jolas was a professor and taught in France as well as at Yale, Harvard and Tanglewood.

The composer’s Wikipedia page Betsy Jolas

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