Jeanne Loriod, leading performer of the ondes martenot, an electronic instrument whose haunting wail was used in such film scores as “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Mad Max” and “Mars Attacks!,” died of a stroke Aug. 3 at Juan-les-Pins, France. She was 72.
Invented by French musician Maurice Martenot in 1928, the ondes martenot, which translates as “Martenot waves,” produces electronic waves from a system of transistors, a keyboard, and a ribbon attached to a ring on the performer’s finger.
Born three months after the first demonstration of the ondes martenot, Loriod’s name became nearly synonymous with the instrument, performing more than 500 works, including 14 concertos, and composing 85 works for a sextet of ondes she formed in 1974.
She also taught at several French conservatories and wrote “Technique de l’Onde Electronique Type Martenot” in 1987, which became the standard text for the instrument.
The younger sister of pianist Yvonne Loriod, who was married to composer Olivier Messiaen, the three musicians often collaborated, notably on Messiaen’s 10-movement symphony, “Turangalila.”
In addition to Yvonne, she is survived by her sister, Jacqueline.