top of page


Gonaïves, Haïti, 1949

Cap-Haïtien, Haïti, 1957

Port-au-Prince, Haïti, 17 mars 1900 - Pétion-Ville, Haïti, 20 mai 1953

Please reload

Claude DAUPHIN (Gonaives, Haiti, 1949)

C. Dauphin

Text written by Claude Dauphin, musicologist, founder of the SRDMH, on the occasion of the concert of April 2014.



Nationalist composer of the "new era", Claude Dauphin, born in Gonaives in 1949, is foremost a musicologist. He studied music at the former École normale de musique de Westmount, received a training in this field at the Université du Québec à Montréal and at the Université de Montréal, and attended the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where he holds a doctorate.


On a dozen opus numbers, two of them find favor before the demanding selectivity of their author and seem to have enough merit to have held the attention of the performers and the audience: the Contes sans paroles, for piano, and this String Quartet, played many times. Robert Grenier, the Quartet publisher, comments it as follows: "This quartet takes its originality from the fact that its composer reverses the usual perspective of nationalization to his fellow composers. He alternates European stylistic processes with Haitian-inspired motifs without favoring either of the two influences. In addition to this brilliant approach, Dauphin dispenses, in the 4th movement, a beautiful effect of bravura. This conclusive movement is the most remarkable. Its novelty resides in the way that the composer adapts, purposefully, an impressive choice of influences (Bach, Bartók, Berg, Schœnberg, Debussy, Villa-Lobos and Messiaen) that he has nonetheless rooted in the Haitian breeding ground."

Gifrants(Cap-Haitien, Haiti, 1957)

Text written by Claude Dauphin, musicologist, founder of the SRDMH, on the occasion of the concert of April 2014.



Born in Cap-Haïtien in 1957, Gifrants lives and composes music in the United States. He is situated in the extension of the Haitian national school, working since 1905, whose "new era" is characterized by the desire to revive the native country’s expression despite its remoteness.


From self-taught training, Gifrants cultivates an eclectic approach of the classical music impregnated with an acquired experience firstly in popular music and jazz, with the influence of Brazilian rhythms. He recognizes in this consolidated approach the influence, often enigmatic, of his predecessor Gerald Merceron with who he aligns himself. Gifrants aspires to insert, in the classic genre, the musical workmanship of Rasin (Root) groups that combine the rural music and the urban dance music.


"Dyalòg" (Dialogue) and "Pasyon fou" (Mad Passion) constitute the second and fourteenth pieces of his collection for strings quartet entitled Pa amou (For Love). They are two autonomous pieces whose narrative unfolds without intermittence of contrasting movements. Inspired and prolific, Gifrants is the author of seven voluminous collections of works selected for chamber or orchestra ensembles.

Text written by Claude Dauphin, musicologist, founder of the SRDMH, on the occasion of the concert of October 2013.



The composer Werner Jaegerhuber has enriched the heritage of his country by his abundant, imposing and diverse work whose nationalist influence is still felt among the current creators of Haiti’s classical music.


His father, Anton, originally from Germany, married Maria Tippenhauer, a Haitian, also of German descent. According to Werner, it is his maternal grandmother, Betsy Fouché, who awakened his consciousness to the mythology of voodoo, main source of inspiration of his music. Jaegerhuber studies composition at the former Voigt Conservatory of Hamburg from 1915 to 1922.


This time of studies in his father’s homeland is interrupted by a stay of a few months in Haiti, in 1921. The composer returns definitely to his native land in 1937 after deploying an intense and promising professional pursuit with the best musical institutions of northern Germany. Composed for the 200th anniversary of Port-au-Prince, town founded under the French colonial regime in 1749, the score of Trois scènes historiques was completed in November 1949.


The work is a mythological cantata whose three scenes evoke the black settlement history of Haiti:


1. "The arrival" recounts the deportation of Black people of Africa towards the former colony then called Saint-Domingue, in 18th century. This scene depicts the pangs of original uprooting and crossing of the Atlantic on the sinister "slave ships", these boats intended for the transport of the human cargo.


2. "The slave" recalls the commodification of man, his reduction to the state of production tool of goods and pleasures, while deep down inside him resonate an irrepressible desire for love, dignity and justice.


3. "The free man" celebrates the revolt against the oppression, the exhilaration of freedom. The work ends with an ecumenical exaltation where the gods of voodoo, and the Judeo-Christian God are invoked by the merged soloists and chorus.


This cantata of anonymous roles, with the exception of the one of Neïla in the second scene, symbolizes the history of the Haitian people, moving from the loss of human rights to the transcendence, from death to resurrection, and exalts resilience and hope as an engine of great human achievements.


Werner JAEGERHUBER(Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 17, 1900 - Pétion-Ville, Haiti, May 20, 1953)

bottom of page