LES PERCUSSIONS DE STRASBOURG
It all began in 1959, when Pierre Boulez was invited to conduct his work Le Visage nuptial in Strasbourg. To form the large desk of percussions he needed, musicians from the Strasbourg Orchestra and the ORTF orchestra were brought together. The six young musicians: Bernard Balet, Jean Batigne, Lucien Droeller, Jean-Paul Finkbeiner, Claude Ricou, and Georges Van Gucht, driven by a common innovative and a strong friendship, then decided to create a percussion ensemble: repertoire, choice of instruments, everything had to be invented... the Groupe Instrumental Percussion was born and later became Les Percussions de Strasbourg. The first concert was given at the ORTF on 17 January 1962, in the presence of French composer Serge Nigg. Very quickly, the ensemble inspired the creation of a new repertoire by composers such as Messiaen, Stockhausen, Serocki, Kabeláč, Ohana, Xenakis, Mâche, Dufourt... As Pierre Boulez said later: "A repertoire was necessary for the Groupe, but the Groupe has made the repertoire necessary."
In 1967, the six percussionists performed Varèse's Ionisation, in agreement with the composer, while the score requires the participation of... thirteen percussionists. They carried this o with musical mastery and dramatic brio and opened the doors of success to a hitherto unprecedented musical genre.
Thereafter, Les Percussions de Strasbourg will create and innovate relentlessly, travelling all around the world in major international festivals, from Berlin to Osaka, Persepolis to Sydney, via Royan, Donaueschingen, Edinburgh, Athens, Israel, Sao Paulo, New York, Montreal, and so forth.
rough their many travels and a strong collusion with the composers, they actively contribute to the sound research and the invention of new instruments, such as the sixxen designed by Xenakis.
Fifty years later, the band continues to innovate. In 2015, Jean Geoffroy became artistic director, the team expands and gradually integrates the fourth generation of Les Percussions de Strasbourg. Constantly revisiting the contemporary heritage, innovating with the evolution of new technologies and the expansion of scenic practices and expression: that is the challenge to invent and explore the wide field of world percussion in the 21st century. Les Percussions de Strasbourg have given more than 1600 concerts in 70 countries since its inception, have a repertoire of more than 300 original works written for them, a unique instrumentarium in the world with over 500 instruments, and more than 30 records and 30 international awards... The ensemble is also very active in teaching and develops many activities for everyone: masterclasses, workshops, concerts, educational or scholar concerts, Percustra collective creation workshops, teacher and trainer training...
Les Percussions de Strasbourg receive faithful and constant support from Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication / DRAC Grand Est, Ville et Eurométropole de Strasbourg, Mécénat Musical Société Générale, Région Grand Est, Conseil Départemental du Bas-Rhin, lnstitut Français, SACEM, ADAMI, and SPEDIDAM.