Maurice Ohana

French composer and pianist Maurice Ohana was born in Casablanca, Morocco on 12 June 1913. His mother was Andalusian/Castillian Spanish, and his father, Andalusian, born in Gibraltar, was descended from the Sepharadim. Ohana abandoned his architecture studies for music, initially piano, studying with Frank Marshall in Barcelona, Lazare Lévy at the Paris Conservatoire and, after World War II, with Afredo Casella in Rome.

During the war, Ohana served in the British Army.  Around 1946, he founded Groupe Zodiaque to fight against the established musical ideology.

His output as a composer makes much use of Andalusian cante jondo and also microtones, and includes operas, choral music, string quartets, two suites for ten-string guitar, two cello concertos, a piano concerto and a guitar concerto. There are also a few pieces for symphony orchestra - Synaxis from 1966, Livre des Prodiges (1979) and T'Harân-Ngô (1974).

Maurice Ohana died in Paris on 13 November 1992, aged seventy-nine.

Further information (courtesy of Les Amis de Maurice Ohana):


A selection of articles about Maurice Ohana

Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - The Roots of Magic

Record Box. Curious and Evocative - Quarter-tone keyboard music played by Joshua Pierce, reviewed by Patric Standford

'Shooting the Pianist'! - The eerie case of a South-American pianistic 'revenant', by Malcolm Troup