Bernard Cavanna(1951) has received a number of distinctions, including the grant for original creative work from the French Ministry of Culture (Bourse annuelle de la création 1984), a residency at the Villa Medicis in Rome (1985-1986), the SACEM award for the best original contemporary work (Messe un jour ordinaire/1998), the winning citation at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers (1999), a Victoire de la musique award (Concerto for violin/2000), the SACD Grand Prix for music (2007), and the prestigious International Price Arthur Honegger (2013/Fondation de France).
Cavanna's compositional aesthetics are distinctively free of any dogma, showing genuine inventiveness based more on intuition than speculation, thereby producing a delightful eclecticism sith the composer willing to accept the most unexpected combinations, ranging from popular style to the legacy of the romantics. This may be explained, at least partially, by his rejection of cliques and clans and by his openness to a wide range of sources extending to popular realms. It may also explain the influence of two references he sometimes cites, even if spoken in jest: Bernd Aloïs Zimmermann and Kurt Weill. "Zimmermann (eruditions as a disturbing collage" (Pascal Huyn).
Cavanna's work are regularly programmed in France and internationally and often requested by contemporary music ensembles (Ensemble Ars Nova (Pierre Roullier), Ars Nova (Philippe Nahon), Ensemble Intercontemorain (Jonathan Nott), Ensemble TM+ (Laurent Cuniot), Ensemble Modern (Kasper de Roo/Franck Ollu), Nuova Consonanza (Renato Rivolta) and symphony orchestras in France, Europe end also in China, Japan, and Latin America.
His symphonics works were conducted in particular by Arie van Beek, Fabrice Bollon, Lionel Bringuier, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Peter Russel Davies, Jean-Paul Dessy, Jean Deroyer, Jonas Ehrler, Howard Griffiths, Daniel Kawka, Nicolas Kruger, Ulrich Kern, Mihhail Gerts, Grant Llewellyn, Suzanna Malkki, Diego Masson, Dominique My, Claire Levacher, Jonathan Nott, Franck Ollu, Ondrej Olos, Luka Pfaff, Octave-Aurelian Popa, Kasper de Roo, Pascal Rophé, Peter Rundel, Leszek Sojka, François-Xavier Roth, Hubert Soudan, Mickael Stern, Léo Warynski, Zhang Yi.