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Répons - Pierre Boulez by Ensemble Intercontemporain

Pierre Boulez was a French composer and conductor who helped blaze a radical new trail in classical music during the 20th century, composing innovative scores that showcased his musical creativity. And no work better showcases his compositional audacity than Répons, a work constructed on various types of calls and responses between a combination of acoustic instrumentation from an ensemble with soloists whose sounds are digitally transformed and regenerated live.

Rarely staged in concert halls given its unconventional configuration of the space, this spatial masterwork is realized at the Armory with the ensemble positioned in the center of the audience, who is surrounded by the soloists and amplification with waves of sound spiraling and circling throughout and above. The world renowned contemporary music group Ensemble intercontemporain, under the baton of conductor Matthias Pintscher, performs this emblematic work twice in succession each evening, with the audience changing seats in between to gain a new sonic perspective. This remarkable presentation marks the first performance in New York of a major work by Boulez since his death in early 2016.

This performance is included within the conference The Sense of Sound, October 5-8, 2017, co-organized by Sarah Kay, NYU, and François Noudelmann, Université Paris VIII.

This conference brings together scholars of French literature, music, and history, alongside sound artists from France and the Francophone world, to explore the place of sound in sensation/making sense. Talks and roundtables are organized around a series of performances which include, as well as the performance at the Park Avenue Armory of Boulez’s Réponsby IRCAM’s Ensemble Intercontemporain, a concert featuring compositions of Michaël Levinas and the innovative production by Roland Auzet of Bertrand-Marie Koltes’s play In the Solitude of the Cotton Fields. Levinas, the director of l’IRCAM, Frank Madlener, and Auzet will participate in discussions around their work.

With the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States