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The video of the premiere of “و أين أختبئ إذاً؟” (Wa ayna akthabi’ou? – translated “And where can I run away to?”) for a capella mixed choir by the Fayha Choir conducted by Barkev Taslakian on the 21st of December 2018 in Balamand University, Tripoli/Lebanon. This piece is one of the compositions I wrote where polyphonic choral writing meets Arabic music.
When it comes to orchestral music, especially amateur music entities like for instance wind orchestras or brass bands, the music is very often both extremely conservative and very difficult. In my opinion, this does not make any sense and I therefore decided to do exactly the opposite: a flexible and easy-to-perform composition that sounds like today. On the one hand, “Discordes & Amitiés” is written as a flexible orchestration and is exempt of any superfluous technical difficulty to let the performers concentrate on the only things that matters: the quality of the music. On the other hand, it is written in a very free tonal language, takes a lot from middle-east music and explores the possibilities of group improvisation. This is the recording of the premiere which occurred on the 11th of may 2019 during a residency in France, involving four local orchestras.
Between the 29th of January and the 17th of May 2019, I will stay in the north of France (Pas-de-Calais) for a residency/mission as a composer and conductor that involves among others: start and conduct a temporary female choir singing my music, melt the 4 local orchestras into a meta-orchestra for the premiere of a composition I shall compose for them, a global cooperation with local mixed choirs, composition and improvisation workshops in music schools and primary schools, various improvisation concerts playing the guitar, the synthesizer or local organs.
My trip to the Middle East has come to an end and was a very joyful experience. It started with a five weeks residency with the Goethe Institute, namely two weeks in Cyprus with the Amalgamation Choir (dir. Vicky Anastasiou) followed by three weeks with the Fayha Choir (dir. Barkev Taslakian). A great opportunity to learn more about eastern vocal music and experiment new ways to compose for choir. After this, I went straight to Damascus – a city I love very dearly – for three weeks, even giving a impromptu little workshop to a handful of young talented singers. Here is a little souvenir:
After Cyprus and a joyful collaboration with Vicky Anastasiou and the ladies of the Amalgamation Choir, my trip in the East continues in Lebanon with Maestro Barkev Taslakian and the Fayha Choir. The mission remains the same: to celebrate the voices of the Middle East and look for new ways to revitalise the western choir music which I find too often desperately conservative.
Today is the day, I am leaving Berlin for a long trip in the Middle East where I will collaborate with different a capella choirs within the frame of a composition and research project supported by the Goethe Institute. First stop: Cyprus with the female choir Amalgamation conducted by Vicky Anastasiou. Wish me bon voyage!
Today is the 100th Anniversary of the armistice of WWI and the premiere of L’Homme contre l’Homme, a choir piece performed by 200 singers -including a children choir- within the frame of the official ceremony occurring on the very field where the last soldiers died on the 11th of November 1918. I have been working on the project for more than a year with the support of the François Sommer Foundation who commissioned the work and financed the whole creative and rehearsing process. Thank you very much to them, as well as to the team of Ardenne Métropole and the choirs and choir directors of Charleville-Mézières and Sedan involved in this project for their dedication and hard work. A video should be available soon.