Composing (with) Gesture

Numerous composers today make references to “gesture”. Sometimes it is a virtuoso instrumental gesture relayed by technology, sometimes it is a more abstract notion that expresses the importance of energy and expressivity in musical writing. The aspect of movement in music has become an essential issue in creations by young artists. But is this phenomenon truly new?


Excerpt of the de score: Pression (© Breitkopf & Härtel) by Helmut Lachenmann

To answer this question, the symposium “Composing (with) Gesture” gathers musicians and musicologists around three vast themes: gesture and stage, gesture and technology, gesture and playing methods. The most recent artistic trends will be compared with those – sometimes fairly unknown – from experiments carried out in the 1960s and 1970s on notation, playing indications, instrumental and technological improvisation. More than enough to sharpen our perception of the relationships between bodies, writing, and instruments in sometimes-unforeseen directions.

Coordination: Nicolas Donin and the Gemme Team


9:00 Welcome

9:30 Introduction

Speakers: Anne-Sylvie Barthel-Calvet, Pascal Decroupet, Nicolas Donin, Jean-François Trubert

Gesture and Playing Techniques

10:00 – 10:50 Categorization of Instrumental Actions in Pression for a cellist by Lachenmann

Speakers: François-Xavier Féron (CNRS, LaBRI) and Benjamin Carat (CRR de Bordeaux)

10:50 – 11:40 Body-Instrument-Writing Based on Lachenmann and Sciarrino: On  Mani.De Leonardis by Pierluigi Billone

Speakers: Laurent Feneyrou (CNRS, STMS) and Maxime Echardour (l’Instant Donné)

11:40 – 12:30 Gestures of Life and Death: Francesco Filidei Interviewed by Michelle Magalhaes (IRCAM)

Gesture and Technology

2:00 – 2:50 Calligraphic Gesture and Computer-Assisted Composition

Speakers: Jérémie Garcia (IRCAM) and Philippe Leroux (McGill)

2:50 – 3:50 Synékine: Vocal Gestures and the Vocalization of Gestures

Speaker: Greg Beller (IRCAM)

Gesture and Stage Action

4:10 – 5:00 Transformation and Transcendence: Gestures of Metapraxis and Protoperformance in Jani Christou’s Anaparastasis III

Speaker: Andriana Minou (London)

5:00 – 5:50 Gestures and Counterpoint in the Music of Dieter Schnebel

Speaker: Ariane Jessulat (Hochschule Würzburg)

With the support of the French National Agency for Research, GEMME ANR-12-BSH3-0007 project. An IRCAM-Centre Pompidou prpject.

The research carried out at IRCAM is carried out primarily in the context of the mixed research lab STMS (Sciences et technologies de la musique et du son), with the support of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, the CNRS, the université Pierre et Marie Curie, and the Inria.

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