Les Percussions de Strasbourg


CR_Christophe Urbain


For nearly sixty years, Les Percussions de Strasbourg have brought musicians into their fold from every corner of the world, stretching Western music beyond its previously established boundaries. In addition to their technical achievements and the originality of a repertoire which is nothing short of au courant, the group has lent cohesion to seemingly heterogeneous material and shaped it into a single frame. Hugues Dufourt

Founded in 1962, the Percussions de Strasbourg are world-renowned ambassadors of musical creation. With their exceptional repertoire, the group performs twentieth century masterpieces and commissioned new works with the same concerns: to bring life to a contemporary heritage while revisiting it constantly, and to continue to innovate in a context of artistic diversification.

Since its foundation, the group still stands at the heart of creation, thanks to its particular connections with contemporary composers and the diversity of its abilities in terms of musical formats: from duo to octet, from acoustics to electronics, from recitals to musical theater and dance, etc ...

Having been dedicated more than 350 works, the group continues to maintain and develop its unique instrumentarium in the world. It has recorded many times and has received around thirty international awards, including a Victoire de la musique classique in 2017, which the Percussions de Strasbourg label won for its first record release, Burning Bright by Hugues Dufourt.

The daily commitment of the ensemble to educational activities is reflected in their various actions, particularly with the public in Hautepierre where the ensemble is in residence.

2019/20 season

This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorised by the artist management.

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Programme suggestions

TIMELESSNESS show around the musical gesture – For 8 percussionists

Thierry De Mey

“At the meeting point between music and dance, the gesture is as important as the sound” Thierry De Mey

Composition & concept Thierry De Mey
Musicians Flora Duverger, Alexandre Esperet, Minh-Tâm Nguyen, François Papirer, Enrico Pedicone,  Rémi Schwartz, Thibaut Weber, Hsin-Hsuan Wu
Assistant to musical creation: François Deppe
Gestural coach: Manuela Rastadi
Detailed pieces:Affordance, Pièce de gestes, Timelessness*, Floor patterns, Hands**,Frisking, Pièce de gestes, Musique de tables***, Silence must be !
*New piece
**Concept & choreography : Wim Vandekeybus / Concept & music : Thierry De Mey
***Except for the creation at Musica the 2019/09/29

Total Duration 1h20
Production & Commission Les Percussions de Strasbourg / Coproduction : Festival Musica

With Timelessness, Thierry De Mey has created a sort of self-portrait, combining old and new pieces in the same show. It is a project that took shape over time, which he describes as an «artistic and political manifesto». His angle as a composer centres on the body in musical practice, as illustrated by his masterpiece, Musique de tables (1987).

Thierry De Mey is a composer and filmmaker. The impulses associated with movement and leaping are undoubtedly guiding forces in his work: he views rhythm as, “a system that generates waves of falling motions and new developments.” De Mey writes mainly for dance and cinema. In his work with choreographers Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Wim Vandekeybus, and Michèle Anne De Mey, he has stepped beyond his role of composer to offer valued collaboration in the invention of “formal strategies.”


Acoustic recital for 6 percussionists, 60’
T. Hosokawa / M. Kishino / Y. Taira / T. Takemitsu

Regentanz – Toshio Hosokawa – 15‘
Commission: Percussions de Strasbourg

World creation: 1.11.18 Funkhaus Köln, WDR Konzertreihe „Musik der Zeit“
With the support of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung

Regentanz is a work inspired by traditional Japanese music: it is like a Japanese garden where everything is still and where everything finally starts to move. Toshio Hosokawa has created a piece based on the theme of spirituality and shamanism, using the various Asian instruments of the instrumentarium of Percussions de Strasbourg:  tam-tams, gongs, kwon gongs, baolos, water gongs, mokushos... His music, which associates inner journeys and symbolic interpretations of nature, is characterized by an economy of means, the predominant role is given to silence, resonance and the relation between sound and corporality.

– Malika Kishino – 15’
Commission: Ministère de la Culture et de la communication
World creation:  5.12.2016 Teatro comunale Città di Vicenza, Italy

A tribute piece written for the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Yoshihisa Taïra, Sange mainly uses the instrumentarium and the creation of Hierophonie V.During the Sange - a Buddhist ceremony -  priests circulate while chanting the sutra, spreading petals to bless the deceased spirits. The Japanese literal translation means «spreading petals» (San = spreading, Ge = petals). Originally, during this ritual, flowers and fresh lotus petals were used. Today, these are replaced by colored paper.In Sange, Malika Kishino uses the spreading gesture and the movement of priests as sound material and as the main musical gesture. The numerous musical modes, their combinations and the creation of various sound layers express several directions in the space and thus put the sounds in motion, giving an electroacoustic dimension to the piece.

Hierophonie V – Yoshihisa Taira – 18’
Commission: Ministère de la culture / Festival de Royan
World creation: 23.3.1975, Festival de Royan

“This work, which starts with the primitive acts of percussion and crying, continues in the second part by the negation of this same act. Here, the act of percussion is very limited. Would it be possible to perceive the serenity of the Soul in the continuous vibration of the instruments? From time to time, we can hardly hear the drums of the popular celebration, as if the men were joining together when hitting the instruments themselves, thus discovering a song which expresses the breathing of life. Through this, the six percussionists also find the body’s respiration. Thanks to the repetition of rhythmic ostinato, I wanted to confirm (in my way), the essential pleasure of the body. I dedicate this work to the Percussions de Strasbourg with whom I experienced an unforgettable musical collaboration during the rehearsals”. Yoshihisa Taïra

Rain Tree – Toru Takemitsu – 12’
World creation: 31.5.1981 Tokio, Festival Music Today, for 3 percussionists

“lt is called the ‘Rain Tree’ because it seems to make it rain. Whenever it rains at night, throughout the following morning the tree makes drops fall from all its richly growing leaves. While the other trees quickly dry out after the rain, the Rain Tree, because its leaves, no bigger than fingertips grow so closely together, can store up raindrops in its leaves. Truly an ingenious tree!”
Quoted from “Atama no ii Ame no Ki” (The lngenious Rain Tree) by Kenzaburo Oé

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