Dear bassoonists,

I really need A LOT of bassoon players, this Monday evening, to go through my piece for 32 bassoons! I am in the process of finishing the composition and I'd really need the inputs of players.

I am a composer, bassoon improviser and bassoon+live electronics player, I worked on a piece for 32 bassoons, called Hommage. The piece is mainly about the sound of this fabulous instrument and about space. It contains controlled improvisation, graphic scoring and some more traditional scoring. I think it is a fun piece to play as it is bassonistic even if challenging. This piece is half finished and I would love, and I would really need to have your inputs on it. So I am organising a bassoon gathering and it would be fantastic if you could come!


6:30 bassoonists arrival
7:00 playing and experimenting with the music material of Hommage, for 32 bassoons: (This will be recorded and filmed for my archives, and an edit will be put on this website)
9:00 up to mine (that is 12 seconds walk from the church) and I will have some food and drink so I can thank you for coming and we can have nice time together. (And, if you tell me you'd enjoy this, I was thinking I could put a bassoon + live electronics setup in my studio-room, so you can have a try with your bassoon, and my gears.)


St-Clement's Church
King Square

Busses: 4/56/205/214/43/394/55/243
Tube stations: Old Street, Angel Islington, Barbican

What do I need?

-a bassoon
-if you have some reed you prefer for multiphonics, take them with you
-a strap you can play standing up (most of the time we will be sitting down, but there is a couple of time we need to stand up)
-one or more music stands (there is none in the church)

Contact me if you want to come! ( by email or by Facebook and you can join the Facebook Group)

About the piece

As well as a composer a sonic and sound artist, I am a bassoon improviser. (biography)

Here some solo bassoon with live electronics (free improvisation):

(live gig at Manchester, live gig at the Drill Hall)

The idea of the 32 bassoons piece came with improvisation with loops, like this:(recording)

I play in free improvisation ensemble including the London Improvisers Orchestra.

LIO is important for the piece for 32 bassoons, because I got really influenced by the way we conduct the improvisers in that orchestra. I use these ideas in the piece.

I am really interested in live electronics. I often play bassoon with live electronics.

Free improvisation band:
( video)

As a sonic artist, I did acousmatic music too. So, that is why, I think, I find space is an important thing in my music.

I actually did a piece for viola and 4 speakers, with this idea of textures made by accumulation of similar timbre sounds.(recording of a live performance)

Something you can't hear the in the viola piece is that it is a quadrophonic piece. So, you hear that texture all around you, you are inside the texture. And if you are careful you can put your ear on one bit of the texture.

So, one day, I though, instead of making a piece just with loops, would be fantastic to have something more alive, that repetitions would not always sound the same, so the textures would be much more present, telling you something much more interesting.

The number 32 came from the need for a large number of individual voices, plus the need of having a large number of players to have the sound movement being fluid enough. Players are not speakers, so the way to do panning is done by orchestration.

Other thing that I do, in my work, is use theatricality. I think it is a good way to give an entrance door to contemporary music to inexperience listeners, and I think it is just more fun to see a show instead of a pure concert.

Oh, that is a vintage piece of mine… Vintage because the STM card doesn't exist anymore. 7 players had to play bus cards, and the sound was panned on a quadrophonic system. (video)

I love the bassoon. I love it for its sounds, but as well for all its defaults. Well, if you play some Mozart, you don't alway like its defaults. When you are free improvising like I do, you use them to make differences of timbre, special effects. So, I wanted to give homage to the real sound of the instrument. The one that could be rough, and fluty after that. Yes you can make a sound with that instrument that sound like a sick bagpipe, and you can make a sound that is marvellously like a melancholic tenor singer. I don't think you want the sick bagpipe sound very often in Mozart, but it is really good for letting off steam… Have a try!

So, for most of the piece, I wrote down, what my fingers are playing during some improvisations. So, I think it is quite bassonistic, even if it could be unusual, sometimes.

Well, now, you have to know that, when I finally try to think about a 32 bassoons ensemble, I didn't think just about loops! I though about panning the sound. I though about the impact for a member of the public to be circled by bassoons. I though about what sort of harmonies you could get with a bassoon only organ. I though about rhythmic movements. I though as well about pedagogy. I think it is fantastic to play with people better than you. But I think every player should have some challenge, so, parts have uneven difficulty level, so teachers have some challenge, and pupils too. I though about movement of harmony. I though about improvisation. I though about different ways of conducting, different ways of writing scores.

It is ofter 'play this motif, wait for 40 seconds and play it again". Or, I have 'collections' of motives, and the conductor (that might be me...) shows one finger, so players choose motives from the box number one, and when the conductor shows two fingers you play from the box number two. Over that, you have sometimes a solo, or even at one point you have a sextet. Other times the conductor will do 'waves': if you are between my hands, you play, if not, you don't.

I think the piece would be hard for an ensemble point of view, but, it is technically really playable. Actually, if some bits are not, it is because I made a mistake writing the music. I am against unplayable music. I think music should be written for instruments and people, not for a theoretical ideology of the sound of an instrument.

So, yes I am speaking about multiphonics, yes I am speaking about bisbigandi, yes I am speaking about changing the timbre of instrument, yes I am speaking about harmonics sounds, yes I may show you sounds you didn't know your instrument was able to make, but you won't have to spend 5 hours trying to get a passage into your fingers. The challenge won't be there.

So, Hommage is a piece for 32 bassoons, with theatricality, where space is very important, with parts for different standard of players. It will be a bath (and sometime a shower...) in the bassoon sound. And, dear bassoonists, I need you to get that marvellous bath possible. And sometimes it is not a bath it is a wall of bassoon sounds! And dear audience, your hair will uncurled, I bet that!

Contact me if you want to come! ( by email or by Facebook and you can join the Facebook Group)