Emmanuel M. Dubois

Composer - Biography

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Award-winning and commissioned composer Emmanuel Dubois, born in Brussels in 1947, moved to the United States in his late twenties. Following a fifteen-year career in international finance and college teaching, at the age of 46 he enrolled in the Western Michigan University School of Music where he studied composition, orchestration and counterpoint with C. Curtis-Smith and Ramon Zupko. Dubois’ works are currently being performed in the United States and France.

Having begun his studies at the WMU School of Music in 1992, by 1996 Dubois’ suite, “Of Barbed Wire and Red Roses” op. 1b, for large brass ensemble and timpani, reflecting African civil war strife, had received the Irving S. Gilmore Emerging Artist Award. In 1998, Dubois was awarded the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo Arts Outreach Grant for the second piano sonata op. 10 and, in 1999, he was the recipient of the Pharmacia and Upjohn Foundation Grant for the third sonata op. 11. Since 1996, he has written five piano sonatas and numerous works for piano solo, brass ensembles, pipe organ, as well as numerous cycles of melodies and duets for soprano and piano, soprano and strings, and soprano and harp. There are also sets of pieces for carillon, harp and harpsichord. Over the last few years Dubois became interested in broader pieces and wrote several concertos – the Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra “Florida Concerto: Four Seasons in the Everglades” op. 34, the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra “American West” op. 39, and the Concerto for Trumpet and Strings “Natural Treasures of the American Midwest” op. 40, as well as the “American Fantasy - Promontory Point 1869” op. 41 for piano, winds and timpani. Michigan State University commissioned Dubois to write “Come Ye Who Love” op. 43a, for soprano, horn and piano.

About the interpretation of this piece, written for, and interpreted by, Jacquelyn Wagner, soprano, Corbin Wagner, horn, and Till Haas, piano, the February 2015 review in the “The Horn Call” reads: “Emmanuel Dubois’ contribution is a hauntingly beautiful work with surprises. The moody opening solo is an extended cantabile, which is then joined by the voice in an interweaving tapestry. Opportunities appeared throughout for the solo voice to weave during extended melismas. An unexpected jazzy interlude by the piano provides a good-humored surprise.”

Since early 2015, Dubois has closely collaborated on numerous vocal projects with Yulia Petrachuk, a uniquely talented and promising Russian soprano concertizing in New York, Washington, France and Russia. This cooperation led to the composition of several song cycles and the “Requiem for the Fallen” op, 50, a meditative work for soprano, choir, timpani and orchestra. Dubois is currently composing an opera.

In the late 90’s, while residing in Michigan, Dubois developed, in association with the West Michigan Cancer Center, “Creations” a contemporary music program to help outpatients who had completed therapy treatment socialize with the community, and to help the community become more aware of the Center.

Over the last twenty five years, Dubois’ compositions have been played at about forty public events including the Nuits musicales en Armagnac summer festival in France, the Jeunes talents concert series under the auspices of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris (Auditorium Colbert), and the Kauffman Center’s Merkin hall, New york City.

Stylistically, Dubois’ works blend American and Western European influences, reflecting his music training in the Midwest and his Belgian upbringing. His music exhibits a strong sense of melody supported by elaborate harmonies and counterpoint. Echoes of jazz, of Bernstein and Copland, as well as of Gershwin and Ravel, are often present. One hears a language which stretches from Janacek’s robustness to Debussy’s polished phrasing.

The Hector Berlioz Library of the Paris Conservatory holds a copy of several of Dubois’ scores; some early works are held at the Western Michigan University Music Library.

Before music, Dubois’ interests were in science, international finance and economic development. He holds a License (MS) in Chemistry from the University of Brussels and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also studied Arabic. After military service, he did market research for a European oil company and worked for ten years in the international division of a major American bank, based both in New York City and West Africa. Dubois subsequently taught international business, economics and finance at a Michigan college and served in Washington D.C. as a senior advisor for the US Agency for International Development’s Eastern Europe division.

Dubois and his wife, Sue, spend their time between their homes in Southwest Florida, and a small village in the heart of Gascony, France. They actively promote cultural activities and the exchange of musicians between the US and France, believing that participation in music is an important investment to society’s future.