(Born in Brest (Finistère), September 5, 1927)

Son and grandson of senior naval officers, Pierre-Yves Moign chose music. He studied piano and entered the National Superior Conservatory of Music of Paris where he obtained, in 1952, a 1st prize in counterpoint. His first work given in public was the music for the first show of the mime Marcel Marceau, in 1948.

Like many composers of his generation, he is interested in ethnic music and will study more particularly the traditional music of Brittany, his country of origin, and those of the Celtic countries. Inspired by Breton popular music, he wrote, in 1953, the music of a musical comedy on dialogues of Glenmor. Thereafter, he created traditional music ensembles with which, without concession to the picturesque, he will bring out the specificities of Breton music, its expressive value and its various facets.

In 1956, he founded Son ha Koroll, with whom he made three records for Barclay and played at the Olympia in Paris. In 1961, he founded Les Kabalerien, with whom he also made records, notably at the Chant du Monde, and until 1972, he made numerous galas, tours, radio and television broadcasts in France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Great Britain.

In 1964, he composed the music of the Ballets Populaires Bretons de Rennes, then that of the Ballets Populaires de Quimper, showing that Breton music had nothing to envy to the popular music of other countries, especially that of Eastern Europe. He will innovate in another field by writing, during this period, for various vocal and instrumental ensembles, in particular groups of traditional instruments, thus playing a role of precursor in the “revival” of the folk music of the 70s, in Brittany.

However, as early as 1960, he became interested in the problems of musical education, studying especially the active methods – more particularly the Orff and Kodaly methods – with a view to their application to traditional Breton music.

Au début des années 70, avec l’association War Hentou Breizh (sur les chemins de Bretagne) dont il est le président fondateur, il met en pratique, avec plusieurs collaborateurs, un enseignement de la musique bretonne pour les enfants. With this same association, he created and directed a choir of nearly 100 participants, for which he wrote harmonizations whose quality renewed the repertoire of traditional music of the choirs of Brittany.

Finally, he is often asked to give lectures on traditional music. In 1972, P.Y. Moign decided to focus his activities essentially on musical composition, which he had never totally abandoned. Already in 1968, one of his works, for symphony orchestra, was premiered in Rennes, thus attesting to his sense of orchestration. Thus, after having appropriated the past and notably its musical tradition, P.Y. Moign has shown his interest in all genres and forms of music as well as, with his latest works, a refusal of all dogmatism; his writing being at the confluence of several influences characteristic of our time.

From 1978 to 1999, P.Y. Moign directs a cultural center in Brest: the Centre Breton d’Art Populaire, created on his initiative and which aims to develop the artistic heritage of Brittany in all its forms. Today, this center has a school of traditional arts with over 300 students. Among the numerous shows, concerts, conferences and animations organized by P.Y. Moign, we must note the meetings “Traditional Arts and Contemporary Society” in which internationally recognized specialists participated, and an Interceltic Gathering of Choirs.

Works of art

For soloists, choir and orchestra:

Gwerz Morvan (35')

On a bilingual text (Breton/French) by Youenn Gwernig Salaun ar Foll (25'), on a French poem by Paol Keineg

For symphony orchestra :

Legendary for King Arthur


Un den hag ar mor

a man and the sea (15')

Gradlon meur

Is the sunken city (16')

For string ensemble :

Dasson Breizh


The hours of Rohan


Music for the stage :

Death before dawn


Gurvan of Tanguy Malmanche


Nominoë Oe ! by Jakez Riou


Iseult Seconde by P.-J. Helias


The Barzaz Breizh


Chamber music :

Septet for flutes, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, horn, bassoon


Three short pieces for brass quintet

Three Welsh poems for 2 pianos


Jenovefa, musical comedy

on dialogues by Glenmor (1954)

Pieces for Celtic harp :

An dro da selaouin

(dance to listen to - 1982)

Small gwerz


Theme and variations "Gwerz an Ananoun


Two superimposed An Dro


Many arrangements on traditional themes of Brittany

For choirs and vocal ensembles, for classical and traditional instrument ensembles.

Within the framework of its musical teaching, we find various pieces on traditional themes of Brittany, classified, according to a pedagogical progression, for small orchestra with instruments with blades, percussions, Celtic harps, guitars, recorders. And a method of teaching music through the recorder, on traditional themes, and for vocal and choral ensemble.


Son ha koroll

Barclay 86030 et 86031

Chants Celtiques

by Dunvel Ar Benn

Chant du Monde

LDY 4217

Les ballets populaires de Rennes

Polydor - 45580

Les Kabalerien, Mouez Breizh et Iroise

1774 ATS War hentou Breizh, Iroise - 30118


FR3 has produced two TV programs on Pierre-Yves Moign: