Doctor of Musical Arts Dissertations


Examining François Rossé's Japanese-Influenced Chamber Music with Saxophone: Hybridity, Orality, and Primitivism as a Conceptual Framework

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Contemporary Music

First Advisor

John Sampen (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Conor Nelson (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Marcus Zagorski (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Donald Callen (Committee Member)


François Rossé (b. 1945) is a Bordeaux-based improvising pianist and prolific composer who has received relatively little scholarly attention. He has written over one hundred works involving the saxophone, and in many cases, featuring the saxophone, yet his music is not widely studied or performed in North America. This document draws attention to Rossé's music for saxophone by tracing the application of hybridity, orality, and primitivism in Bear's Trio, Nishi Asakusa, and Orients, his Japanese-influenced chamber pieces with saxophone. These concepts are presented within relevant discourses, as prominent features of Western art music history and saxophone repertory, and as philosophically motivated practices that form the core of Rossé's approach to music-making and composition. An overview of relevant Japanese cultural elements, such as history, art forms, aesthetics, and spirituality, provides the necessary groundwork for identifying the manifestations of Japanese influence in Bear's Trio, Nishi Asakusa, and Orients. By surveying Rossé's incorporation of Japanese tradition and spirituality through the tripartite theoretical lens of hybridity, orality, and primitivism, this document offers a valid and useful schema for experiencing and interpreting his music.