Marcel Cellier, Who Recorded Award-Winning "Mystery of Bulgarian Voices" Albums, Dies at 88

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Submitted by nonesuch on Mon, 01/06/2014 - 17:13
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Marcel Cellier, the Swiss music producer, radio broadcaster, ethnomusicologist, and musician, has died at the age of 88. Cellier, who recorded the famed series of albums of the Bulgarian State Television female vocal choir, Mystère des Voix Bulgares, first released in the US on Nonesuch Records in the late 1980s, died at a hospital in the Swiss Riviera on Friday, December 13, 2013. The album's release sparked a global interest in the captivating voices of the choir and was followed by a second volume, which earned a Grammy Award and led to an extensive world tour, a third recording, and a box set.

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Marcel Cellier, the Swiss music producer, radio broadcaster, ethnomusicologist, and musician, has died at the age of 88. Cellier, who recorded the famed series of albums of the Bulgarian State Television female vocal choir, Mystère des Voix Bulgares, first released in the United States on Nonesuch Records in the late 1980s, died at a hospital in the Swiss Riviera on Friday, December 13, 2013.

In 1987, Nonesuch Records released the album Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (Mystery of Bulgarian Voices) by the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir. The group had been founded by Philip Koutev in 1952 as a way to showcase the folk music of Bulgaria as well as commission new pieces by top Bulgarian composers. The album, recorded by Marcel Cellier in 1975, features modern vocal arrangements based on Bulgarian folk melodies and haunting, otherworldly performances. Its US release on Nonesuch sparked a global interest in the captivating voices of the choir and became a cultural event.

The group's second Nonesuch release, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Vol. II, also recorded by Cellier in 1975, earned a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording in 1989 and led to an extensive world tour, taking the singers across Europe, North and South America, and Asia. In 1994, Nonesuch released a third recording, Ritual, followed a year later by a box set with all three albums.

On December 13, 2013, Marcel Cellier listened to the Mystère des Voix Bulgares album once more with his wife Catherine, before he died.

"The whole family would like to say a huge thank you to all the musicians who fascinated Marcel and fed his soul," says his son Alex Cellier. "With passion, Marcel shared this jewel with so many generations ... Thank you, music."

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Marcel Cellier by Henri Kudelski
  • Monday, January 6, 2014
    Marcel Cellier, Who Recorded Award-Winning "Mystery of Bulgarian Voices" Albums, Dies at 88
    Henri Kudelski

    Marcel Cellier, the Swiss music producer, radio broadcaster, ethnomusicologist, and musician, has died at the age of 88. Cellier, who recorded the famed series of albums of the Bulgarian State Television female vocal choir, Mystère des Voix Bulgares, first released in the United States on Nonesuch Records in the late 1980s, died at a hospital in the Swiss Riviera on Friday, December 13, 2013.

    In 1987, Nonesuch Records released the album Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (Mystery of Bulgarian Voices) by the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir. The group had been founded by Philip Koutev in 1952 as a way to showcase the folk music of Bulgaria as well as commission new pieces by top Bulgarian composers. The album, recorded by Marcel Cellier in 1975, features modern vocal arrangements based on Bulgarian folk melodies and haunting, otherworldly performances. Its US release on Nonesuch sparked a global interest in the captivating voices of the choir and became a cultural event.

    The group's second Nonesuch release, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Vol. II, also recorded by Cellier in 1975, earned a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording in 1989 and led to an extensive world tour, taking the singers across Europe, North and South America, and Asia. In 1994, Nonesuch released a third recording, Ritual, followed a year later by a box set with all three albums.

    On December 13, 2013, Marcel Cellier listened to the Mystère des Voix Bulgares album once more with his wife Catherine, before he died.

    "The whole family would like to say a huge thank you to all the musicians who fascinated Marcel and fed his soul," says his son Alex Cellier. "With passion, Marcel shared this jewel with so many generations ... Thank you, music."

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