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Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (Institute for music/acoustic research and coordination) entrusting is the centre dedicated to contemporary musical research and production and linked to the Centre Pompidou in Paris.


In 1970 French president Georges Pompidou asked Pierre Boulez to found an institution for the research of music. In 1973 the part underneath Place Igor Stravinsky was finished, and the center opened in 1977. From the outset, Boulez was in charge of the center (Manning 2001). The initial administrators included Luciano Berio, Vinko Globokar, Jean-Claude Risset, and Max Mathews. In 1992 Boulez, who then became honorary director, was succeeded by Laurent Bayle. In 2002 the philosopher Bernard Stiegler became the new head of the institute. On January 1, 2006, Stiegler became Director of Cultural Development at the Centre Pompidou and was replaced by Frank Madlener.

The creation of IRCAM coincided with the rise of the debates about modernism and postmodernism in culture and the arts (Born 1995, 32), and a sort of crisis of confidence for musical modernism.[citation needed] Because of IRCAM's associations with musical modernism, and the ways that it puts into practice theoretical ideals of musical modernism, such as the advocacy of musical styles positively influenced total serialization, education of audiences, or state funding of the arts, it has often been criticized by the advocates of musical postmodernism,[weasel words] who suggest that the arts would be better served by the intellectual and financial support of a mass market.

Its multimedia library was established in 1996 (Chronological History). It is one of the very first music hybrid libraries to have been created with close to 1,000 hours of recorded music and over 2,000 scientific articles available online, in addition to its physical collections of sheet music and books on music and related domains.


Several international conferences have been held at IRCAM:

  • ICMC, the yearly International Computer Music Conference, in 1984.
  • ISMIR 2002, the 3rd international conference on music information retrieval, in October 2002.
  • Résonances, music and technologies conferences, 2002 to 2004
  • NIME-06, the 6th International Conference on New interfaces for musical expression, in June 2006.


Director: Pierre Boulez (1977-92), Laurent Bayle (1992-2002), Bernard Stiegler (2002-2005), Frank Madlener (since 2006).
Direction: Anne Becker, Olivia Despointes.
Artistic direction: Frank Madlener (director), Suzanne Berthy, Aude Grandveau.
Scientific director: Hugues Vinet.
Documentary film on IRCAM