Birthplace: São Paulo, Brazil
Education in Brazil:
- University of São Paulo – Instituto de Artes do Planalto – (1978 – 1980), under the direction of Michel Philippot (Composition), Beatriz Balzi (piano), Roger Cotte (History of Music) and Françoise Cotte (Analysis).
Education in France:
- French Government Scholarship (1980 – 1984)
- Conservatoire Inter-Arrondissements de Paris: (1982)
- Instrumentation, Superior, First Prize
- Harmony, Superior, Second Prize
- Analysis, Superior, First Prize
- Ear training, Superior, First Prize
- Université de Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV:
- DEUG (Equivalence) in Musicology
- Licence d’Education Musicale (1982)
- Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris:
- Composition, under the direction of Claude Ballif (1982-1986)
- Analysis, under the direction of Claude Ballif (1982-1984) 2nd Prize Analysis (1984)
- Instrumentation and Orchestration, under the direction of Serge Nigg (1984-1986)
- MAO under the direction of David Wessel (1985)
- Master Classes:
- Composition and MAO (Music Assisted by Computer) at the IRCAM (1984-1985)
- Contemporary Music under the direction of Pierre Boulez at the Collège de France (1984-1986)
- Composition under the direction of Luciano Berio (Aix-en-Provence – 1985)
- Composition under the direction of Franco Donatoni (Sienne, 1985)
Teacher in Musical Education
Composer: Membership at the SACEM (Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique) since 1998.
Musical (Rock opera)
Germinal, lyrics by H. Fleury and S. Milanezi, inspired by E. Zola’s Germinal.
- Briseur d’images (orchestral music)
- Sonate pour piano
- Quattuor à cordes (string quartet)
- Vom Licht getragen (contralto and chamber orchestra)
- Duettino (violin and piano)
- France-Brésil (piano)
- Petit matin (piano, four hands)
- Variations sur l’hymne national brésilien (piano)
- Retalhos (double bass and piano) (2014: new version for two cellos and piano)
- Terra vermelha (viola, double bass and piano)
- Carillons d’York (rings and organ), First Prize (York Spire – York Minster)
- Habe Dank(chamber orchestra)
- Chacona Latina (two violins)
- Prélude (two violins and two celli)
- Missa Brevis(soloists, mixed choir, cello and organ)
- Requiem(soloists, mixed choir and organ)
- Cantique des créatures(children choir and organ)
- Lacrimosa(soprano and organ)
- Ave Maria(mezzo-soprano and organ)
- Pater Noster(children choir and organ)
- Psalms 23 and 121(children choir and organ)
- Preghiera Semplice(children choir and organ) (2014: new version for SATB choir, piano, two trumpets and two cellos)
- Vespri e Inni di San Pier Damiani(2 mixed choirs and organ), First Mention Creator Faenza
- There the soul dwells(mixed choir and organ), First Prize Association of Anglican Musicians – Durham UK (2014: new version for SATB choir, piano and two cellos)
- Vergine Madre (Dante Alighieri), for mixed choir a cappella
- Missa Brasileira(Brazilian Mass) for mixed choir, two double bass and organ (2013: new version for SATB choir, children choir, piano, two trumpets and two cellos)
- Missa Brasileira(2018: new version for SATB choir and chamber orchestra)
- Die Seligpreisungen (2018: for SATB choir and chamber orchestra)
- Ich stehe an deiner Krippen hier (2018: for SATB choir and chamber orchestra)
NB:Preghiera Semplice, There the soul dwellsand Requiemare edited by Editions à Coeur Joie
- The Dead(Ruppert Brooke), for soprano, trumpet, mixed choir and organ. Finalist in the Recital Music Composition Competition, 2011.
- This England(Shakespeare), for mixed choir and organ
- American Songs, lyrics by Emily Dickinson, for female Choir and piano: Ample, Wild Nights, Fate, The Sea, Nature.
- Tempo de Natal, for SATB choir and chamber orchestra.
Songs (soloists and piano)
- Lyrics by Emily Dickinson: 22 American Songs
1 Emily 227*
2 In vain 640
3 It’s like the light 297
4 Solitude 1695
5 The sea 695
6 The signal woe 135 and 167
7 The windman 436
8 Ample 829
9 The letter 494
10 Returning 609
11 Pressentiment 764
12 T’s this 673
13 Ghosts 670
14 What if 177
15 T’was such 107
16 If you were coming 511
17 Nature 790
18 Wild nights 249
19 To know 622
20 Day’s parlor
21 Fate 1523
22 Fame 1763
*See Thomas Johnson (Ed.), The Complete Poems, London-Boston, 1975.
- Lyrics by Plinio de Negreiros
Três melodias brasileiras,
- Lyrics by Christina Rossetti
- Lyrics by Sara Teasdale
- Let it be forgotten
- I am wild
- Lyrics by Josefina Plà
Pelando las palabras
- Lyrics by Renée Vivien
- Comment oublier
- Chanson pour mon ombre
- Lyrics by Pablo Neruda
De las estrellas
- Lyrics by Heine Maria Rilke
- Lyrics by Amado Nervo
- Lyrics by Carlos Drummond de Andrade
- Lyrics by Paul Claudel
- Lyrics by Rudyiard Kipling
- Mother O’Mine
- Lyrics by La Fontaine
- La cigale et la fourmi
- Le corbeau et le renard
- Lyrics by Paul Eluard
- Lyrics by Cecilia Meirelles
- Lyrics S. Milanezi
- A beira amor
- Petalas de março
- Lyrics by S. Milanezi and H. Fleury
- Fruto Exotico
- Onde andará
- Átomos, semi-deuses
- Tudo por Paris
Heloisa Fleury is a French Brazilian composer born in São Paulo in 1959.
Despite growing up in a family of musicians, Heloisa was first noticed for her literary talents, winning first prize of the writing contest organized by the Brazilian weekly journal A Folha de São Paulo. This prize gave her the opportunity to travel to the United States when only 10 years old. Her writing talent coupled with her passion for poetry quickly led her to lyric music, both sacred and profane. Therefore, she often writes her own texts to set to music, a prominent example being Germinal, which transforms Zola’s masterpiece into a rock opera!
Her musical studies began somewhat late in her life, despite her desire for piano lessons, since they were very expensive in Brazil at that time. But as an eight-year-old she started studying piano. From her early years of studies, she was already composing and performing her scores in front of audiences.
At age 11, she was accepted into the Mozarteum Conservatory of São Paulo. Within this institution, her piano teacher, Beatriz Balzi, from Argentina, herself a student of Ginastera, decided to help Heloisa and led her in her musical studies. Because of this providential help, Heloisa was able to cumulate an impressive number of prizes in national piano contests, as well as pursuing composing. Through Beatriz Balzi and her engagement in avant-garde Argentinean and Brazilian contemporary music, Heloisa also developed her interest in contemporary music.
At age 18, she started her undergraduate studies at the University of São Paulo, studying piano under the direction of Beatriz Balzi, and composition with Michel Philippot, the famous French composer who was, at the time, travelling between Paris (and the CNSM) and Brazil, the country of his wife Anna-Stella Chic, a Brazilian pianist and a specialist of Villa-Lobos. This couple of musicians, as well as Roger and Françoise Cotte, respectively professors of music history and music analysis at the UNESP (State University of São Paulo), were at the core of a renaissance in the teaching of music in São Paulo. The city then became a research centre for composing and performing 20th century music in Brazil. With their help, two scholarships from the Foreign Affairs Ministry were given to two students, Heloisa Fleury and José-Augusto Mannis, now director of the CDMC (Centro de Documentação de Musica Contemporânea in São Paulo).
Heloisa Fleury arrived in France during the autumn of 1980 and benefitted from a scholarship from the French Government for the following four years. During her first year, she took classes at the Conservatoire Régional de Paris, in order to prepare the entrance exam at the CNSM, where she won several Prix Supérieurs in Music Theory, Analysis, Harmony and Instrumentation. The second year, she was accepted at the CNSM and followed the Composition and Analysis course of Claude Ballif (Prize in 1984), Serge Nigg’s Orchestration course, and David Wessel’s Music Technology course. However, a car accident deprived Heloisa of the use of her right hand and she was not able to follow piano courses at the CNSM. Nonetheless, she graduated in Musicology at the Sorbonne.
This period was also a time of amazing creative activity for Heloisa, as she explored contemporary music with compositions like Trois mélodies brésiliennes (with texts written by her own father, Plinio Negreiros), Sonate pour piano, Quatuor à cordes, Briseur d’images (orchestral music), and Vom Lichte getragen (Contralto and Chamber Orchestra), with a text from Cyrille Drairg). It is also the time when she attended important master classes at the IRCAM and at the Collège de France with Pierre Boulez; at Aix-en-Provence with Luciano Berio or at Sienna with Franco Donatoni.
In 1986, during the main rehearsal of Vom Lichte getragen at the Maison de la Radio France, Heloisa decided to cancel the performance, judging unacceptable the interpretation of her score only a few hours before the concert. At the same time, she was also hurt by the death of her father, an event that triggered a period of personal doubt. Because of these two events, she decided to leave the CNSM.
A long musical silence followed and was broken only by Heloisa’s teaching in music education at a secondary school in Bagnolet, a Parisian suburb. There, a different set of musical expectations and realities helped her develop in a different way. With her students, some of them coming from difficult backgrounds, she used a wider range of modern pieces and songs, which she previously had not explored in such detail. She even composed with her students a musical called « Une journée à Saint-Joseph ».
In September 1988, Heloisa Fleury transferred to the École des Francs-Bourgeois, in the Marais area of Paris. Within this prestigious school, she became acquainted with the world of the monks of the Écoles Chrétiennes, which inspired her to compose sacred music. She then ceased her musical silence to assume a new identity as a composer of lyric music, both sacred and profane. Indeed, apart from numerous sacred pieces such as Le Cantique des créatures, Lacrimosa, Ave Maria, Pater Noster, Psaumes 23 et 121 and the Preghiera Semplice, she started composing Brazilian songs accompanied either by her own texts or those written with the collaboration of a long time friend, the classicist Silvia Milanezi. These works include Amanhecer, À beira amor, Pétalas de março, Lygia, Fruto Exótico, Onde andará et Átomos, and semi-deuses.
Afterwards, she composed a cycle of songs based on texts by Emily Dickinson (Emily, In vain, It’s like the light, Solitude, The sea, The signal woe, The windman, Ample, The letter, Returning, Pressentiment, T’s this, Ghosts, What if, T’was such, If you were coming, Nature, Wild nights, To know, Day’s parlor, Fate, Fame), Rudyard Kipling (If, Mother o’mine, Boots), Paul Claudel (Kyrie), and Rainer Maria Rilke (Der Panther).
Her music also made its return on stage, at first in 1996 with a commissioned work by the bass player Thierry Barbé and the pianist Margaret Fazoline, a childhood friend who had a professional career similar to Heloisa’s. From this work was born Retalhos (Patchworks), a duo for double bass and piano, based on pieces from Brazilian folklore. This composition enjoyed great success through a series of concerts organized by the Embassy and Consulate of Brazil. With Jean-François Benattar, the duo becomes a trio in a new composition called Terra Vermelha. In 1998 Heloisa herself sang and performed the cycle of Emily Dickinson songs on stage, as well as her Brazilian songs and Canção Flautim (with a text from Carlos Drummond de Andrade), Fruto Exótico (with a text written by herself and Silvia Milanezi), and Liberté (with a poem from Paul Eluard).
Heloisa finally assumed her new style after having gone through a very painful period of change over more than 10 years, leaving behind what she had grown up for, believed in, and motivated her coming to France: contemporary music. From that time on, it became about creating a space to express herself, her truth, her faith in God and man, as well as in all the young students with whom she interacts and who help her grow. Her students admire her compositions and do not hesitate to perform them.
In 1999, the Heures Musicales of St. Roch — directed by Loïc Métrope — invited Heloisa Fleury to perform her Missa Brevis, a composition made for the 150th year anniversary of the Francs-Bourgeois. The Missa was conducted by Laurent Saudain and performed by the Parisian Chœur Georges Bizet, as well as Hubert Dennefeld and the choir of the Centre Rhénan de Formation Musicale from Strasbourg. The performance took place in May 2000 at the St. Roch Church and was followed by a tour, first in Paris (Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Belleville, Saint-Jean-Bosco), Strasbourg (Saint-Thomas) and even in the Marmoutier abbey, in a liturgical version. Later on, her composition was played once more at the St. Roch Church, also in its liturgical version.
A new reading of the famous Germinal by Zola made such an impression on Heloisa that she decided to write an opera out of it using more modern language, i.e. to compose a rock opera. The composition of the music by itself took one year. Later on, following the advice of the Zola specialist Jean-Sébastien Macke, she wrote the text of the opera in collaboration with Silvia Milanezi. Henri Mitterand, specialist of Zola’s work, praises this text « audacieux et à la fois très fidèle à Zola ». The composition, which lasts two hours, for soloists, two mixed choirs, including an atonal one, uses a large instrumentation. Because of its complexity, this composition is still waiting for a mise en scène, which would honor properly this famous French writer.
Next, Heloisa began composing a cycle of songs based on texts written by female authors, in French, English, and Spanish: from Christina Rossetti: Remember, Sappho, Echo; from Sara Teasdale, Let it be forgotten, I am wild; from Josefina Plà, Pelando las palabras; from Renée Vivien, Chanson, Ondine, Chanson pour mon ombre.
In 2003, the death of a relative seemed to shake up her family once more. It was from her distant “exile” that Heloisa tried to transcend her horror of death in a desperate cry calling for the return of life: her Requiem. Composed for a mixed choir and organ, and lasting about one hour, it has been performed by Laurent Saudain and the Chœur Georges Bizet from Paris, at the Saint-Jean-Bosco Church in Paris in May 2005, then at the Pentemont Temple, at the Notre-Dame de l’Espérance Church and at the Saint-Paul Saint-Louis Church, also in Paris.
In 2007, Heloisa started competing in composition contests in which her work is often recognized and awarded prizes. At first, she won the first prize in a contest organized by Spire, the amazing light and sound show of York Minster, in the United Kingdom, with her Carillons d’York, for handbells and organ. Then, she was awarded the first prize in a contest organized by the Association of Anglican Musicians, with her « Anthem » There the soul dwells, a composition for mixed choir and organ, with a text by Catherine de Sienne, translated into English. This composition was performed in Durham, in the United Kingdom, in July 2007 during the AAM International Conference. Later on, she gained the first mention at the Creator Faenza contest, in Italy, with her Vespri e Inni di San Pier Damiani, for 2 choirs and organ.
The same year, she composed Vergine Madre, for a choir a cappella, with an excerpt from the Paradise of The Divine Comedy written by Dante Alighieri.
The year of 2008 saw the composition of Missa Brasileira (Brazilian Mass), based on Brazilian folklore, for a three-voice children choir, a cello, and an organ. The time of completion of this work corresponds to the granting to Heloisa of the French citizenship — a nice coincidence confirming the harmony of her French-Brazilian style.
The French-German choirs of Toulouse and Brême, under the directions of Jacques Michel and Rucsandra Popescu, gave life one more time to her Requiem, on May 23 of 2009, at the Salin Temple at Toulouse and on October 31 at the St. Stéphane Church at Brême, in Germany.
During the summer of 2011, Heloisa Fleury composed The Dead, with a text by Rupert Brooke, for the composition contest organized by Recital Music, at Somerset, in the United Kingdom. Her composition ranked among the finalists and the organizer, David Heyes, decided to publish it.
Since September 2011, she has taught in another religious institution, La Bruyère Sainte Isabelle, Paris, where she heads musical projects such as Sister Act III and Sacred Spring.
A new version of her Brazilian Mass, for SATB choir, children choir, piano, two trumpets and two cellos was performed by Georges Bizet’s Choir on the 21st June 2013 at the St Roch Church in Paris, directed by Laurent Saudain. In March 2015 the Choeur Franco-Allemand of Toulouse prepared a great concert, directed by Jacques Michel: Missa Brasileira, Retalhos, Prehiera Semplice and There the soul dwells.
Faithful to her double musical path, Heloisa Fleury declares that composition and teaching music is not only compatible, but also complementary: “the energy you give in teaching music comes back in double when you compose!”