Born in 1959, Arnaud Petit studied composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (CNSM) in Paris. He also studied aorchestral conducting, followed by music computer science.
He held a composing and teaching position at the IRCAM from 1982 to 1991, and was professor at the Paris CNSM from 1988 to 1991. In 1988, he was a visiting scholar at Stanford University, California. A former resident of the Villa Médicis / Académie de France in Rome (1991-93), he has received commissions from numerous ensembles, institutions and festivals. He has explored diverse musical forms, with a special interest in the relationship of music and storytelling (notably cinema, oratorio and opera). Currently, he is working “Memories” – a musical and dramatic reflection on the end of modern life as we know it, which will be premiered at the Beauvaisis theatre in April 2020 with the orchestra “Les Siècles”.
Arnaud Petit has been awarded several prizes and residencies, for example: the Lavoisier Award of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Villa Médicis / Académie de France in Rome, a McDowell Fellowship (USA), and at Music Theatre Now / International Theatre Institute (Unesco, Berlin). He was a guest artist and teacher at Le Fresnoy, a national modern art studio, in 2015 and 2016. His recent lecture at the Collège de France (2018) was published by Seuil Editions. Between 2018-2020, he is Composer in Residence with François-Xavier Roth and the orchestra “Les Siècles”.
His opera, “The Beast in the Jungle”, after Henry James with libretto by Jean Pavans, will receive its world premier at the Cologne Opera in the 2021-22 season.