June 2022

© le Futur

This year, our ensemble the Percussions de Strasbourg celebrates its sixtieth anniversary. It was under the impetus of Pierre Boulez that the idea was born, a little absurd for the time, of forming a music group made up solely of percussion. In 1962, the six founding members came up with this innovative project that would revolutionise Western percussion. Very quickly, the group inspired the writing of a new repertoire by many living composers and participated in the biggest international festivals.
The year 2022 also marks the centenary of the birth of Iannis Xenakis, who was probably one of the most beautiful encounters for the group. To celebrate these two anniversaries together by replaying two fundamental works for percussion, Persephassa and Pléiades, in a book-disc format, seemed an obvious choice.
Today, the Percussions de Strasbourg remains a unique group, which, as in its early days, is inseparable from contemporary musical life, thanks to a very high artistic standard coupled with an unchanging spirit of curiosity and family.
In close collaboration with the composers, we continue to explore and enrich the world of sound and to promote these creations in France and abroad.
Nevertheless, firmly rooted in Strasbourg, the ensemble could not fail to honour the territory that has seen it born, encouraged and stimulated since its origins. This is why June 2022 will be the scene of this celebration in the form of a festival, between Strasbourg’s city centre and the Hautepierre district, where we have been in residence for over 40 years. This five-day festival has multiple objectives: to share key pieces from our repertoire, to showcase our most recent creations in an exceptional context, and to highlight the participants in our Percustra transmission workshops, which are becoming increasingly numerous.
In short, to cross the views and percussive experiences in order to pursue the dynamics and the very essence of the group: creation and sharing.

The festival in a nutshell

Wednesday, June 8th, 7:30 pm : Concert at the Laiterie, INK x The Percussions de Strasbourg

Thursday, June 9th, 6:00 and 8:00 pm : Percustra and Pléiades, Théâtre de Hautepierre

Friday, June 10th, 9:30 pm : Persephassa – Iannis Xenakis, Place du Château

Saturday, June 11th, 7 :00 pm : the Percussions de Strasbourg party x Hautepierre district party, Théâtre de Hautepierre and André Maurois place

Sunday, June 12th, starting at 3:00 pm : What About the Noise of Crumpling Paper by John Cage, Strasbourg Contemporary and Modern Art Museum

©Jazz in Translation

Wednesday, June 8th : Concert at the Laiterie – INK x The Percussions de Strasbourg

The Percussions de Strasbourg have been breaking away from the borders of musical genres for ages. After working with Andy Emler or even Nik Bärtsch, the Percussions de Strasbourg have shown up on the new album of young Strasbourg band INK, where they contributed to a few tracks. The members of the young band themselves enjoy playing on the border between jazz improvisations and hog-wild electronic music. On Wednesday, June 8th, INK guarantees itself an incredible release-party for their album with Rémi Schwartz, Enrico Pedicone, Thibaut Weber and Minh-Tâm Nguyen— four members of the Percussions de Strasbourg who will accompany them on stage. On Wednesday, June 8th at the Laiterie, come celebrate with us Continuum, whose release is scheduled for May 20th, 2022.

7:30 pm  I Laiterie Grande Salle I Tickets sold at the Laiterie: 18€ + booking fees, Carte Culture 6€ I 

© Michel Grasso

Thursday, June 9th : Percustra and Pléiades-Théâtre de Hautepierre

Percustra is a project which was set up and invented by the founding members of the Percussions de Strasbourg. Originally thought of as a composing method liberated from musical academic schemes, Percustra exists nowadays in the form of workshops which are meant to develop everyone’s creative potential by imagining a piece which is to be restituted in professional conditions at the end of the year. Led and supervised by musicians from the ensemble, the Percustra workshops provide an active and collective approach to music, for children and for grown-ups.

This year, the common theme to all six workshops was Pléiades by Iannis Xenakis, an essential piece from the Percussions de Strasbourg’s repertoire, which has been already widely celebrated through the success of tour dates in Paris and Athens, and even through the release of a brand new record. Now, it is important to shed light on the hard work accomplished by the participants — while giving them the opportunity to confront their interpretation with the one of the Percussions de Strasbourg musicians. The evening will be divided in two key moments :

– 6 :00 pm : 
1st part : Brigitte Elementary School, Erasme Secondary School, and For-all group
2nd part : Mélanges and Claviers, extracts from Pléiades – I. Xenakis, by the Percussions de Strasbourg

– 8 :00 pm:
1st part : Jacqueline Elementary School, Truffaut Secondary School, and For-all group.
2nd part : Métaux and Peaux, extracts from PléiadesI. Xenakis, by the Percussions de Strasbourg 

Théâtre de Hautepierre I Free I Mandatory booking

© Jésus s.Baptista

Friday, June 10th, 9:30 pm : Persephassa, by Iannis Xenakis, spatialised concert, Place du Château

The breathtaking scenery of the Place du Château, at the foot of the cathedral, promises a spectacular tribute to this piece, which was created in 1969 by the Percussions de Strasbourg in the ruins of Perspepolis in Iran. With its cursing dynamic that continues to fascinate people, Persephassa, remains a peak in the History of percussion music 53 years later. The piece was conceived to be played outdoors, with the audience circulating freely, aiming to to put auditor-conductor at the centre, surrounded by the six percussion sets. Meet us then on June 10th for an unprecedented listening experience! 

Place du Château, outdoors I Free I limited seats.

Saturday, June 11th, 7:00 pm : the Percussions de Strasbourg party x Hautepierre district annual party, Théâtre de Hautepierre

Saturday, June 11th is the festival’s climax. Along with Hautepierre’s district party, the Percussions de Strasbourg will invade Place André Maurois and open the theatre’s doors.  In an unexpected and surprising manner, the musicians from the ensemble will present excerpts from the band’s very wide repertoire. Pieces from Thierry de Mey, Steve Reich, or even Francisco Filidei will be performed intermittently in the stands, on the roof…Basically anywhere where it will be possible for the audience to wander. As it’s meant to be a party, food stands will be there too, in order to celebrate properly with the Percussions de Strasbourg their sixty years of existence. 

Schedule :

6:45 pm : Percustram, spontaneous interventions on Strasbourg’s public transportation
7:30 pm : Ambulatory concerts, with Pad Phase (Steve Reich), Queen of the Night (Simon Steen Andersen), Living Room Music (JohnCage), Nocturne (Matyas Wettl), I Funerali… (Francesco Filidei), Musique de tables (Thierry De Mey) but also Audy(Hautepierre rapper) and the preschool pupils from the European School.
9:00 pm : Party on Place André Maurois

Place André Maurois / Théâtre de Hautepierre I Free I Food and beverage on site I

© Christophe Urbain

Sunday, June 12th: But What About the Noise of Crumpling Paper (1985), John Cage, at the Strasbourg Modern and Contemporary Art Museum

Created at the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum in 1985 by John Cage, this piece was a tribute to Hans Arp, particularly to his series of works entitled “Papiers froissés”. As the piece was rewritten in 2021 in coproduction with the Musica Festival, Ryoji Ikeda takes a new look at the father of musical experimentation. He chooses to replace the elements that were initially used for the piece by instruments from Japanese culture. The simplicity and the reduction of materials, associated with subtle variations, reveal the piece’s structure of composition. The starkness of the sounds made with white noise or delicate wooden friction highlights the very special place given to silence and natural environment in John Cage’s work. Thus, this concert is the occasion to celebrate both the composer and the painter through the hanging “La Part du Temps” (Time’s share), in the museum’s nave.  

Contemporary and Modern Art Museum I Tickets according to the museum’s rates (7.50€ / 3.50€ reduced price) I Continuously from 3:00 pm onwards