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François Sarhan & Drumming Grupo de Percussao

a EUNIC SA project
19 - 30 April 2011


French composer François Sarhan introduced Professor Henry Jacques Glaçon to the South African public in April 2009 at Arts on Main’s first public event in Johannesburg. With his hilarious lecture, the Professor had his audience in stitches and promised himself that he would come back.

This April – expect the unexpected… Enter the creative world of the eccentric Professor Henry Jacques Glaçon…François Sarhan will lead the way into his wacky and absurd universe filled with stories, videos, collages, musical works combined with the rhythms of percussions by the Portuguese group Drumming Grupo de Percussão led by Spanish artist Miquel Bernat.

The series of thought-provoking and witty events taking place in April in Gauteng include an exhibition, videos, installations, conferences and musical works.

Photo: Drumming by Susana Neves

hagiography-triplejean-lecoThe Hagiography, Testimonies exhibition offers a unique opportunity to discover this didactic piece of work, designed by François Sarhan and written by a team of experts directed by Professor Henry Jacques Glaçon. Collages, artefacts, videos and plates illustrate the fictitious facts contained in the Encyclopedia and apparently invented by Sarhan such as artists living upside-down, using their lungs as bagpipes, instruments, traditional musical practices and other almost inexistent or barely existing forms of music... This whole new world offers new conceptions of music that maybe never existed but which are close to a certain idea of reality: each time, a precise amount of realistic elements keep us on the path of rationality and probability.

As an extension to the Encyclopedia pages, the Lectures of Professor Glaçon are intended to bring knowledge to a wide audience, far from the closed clubs of educated societies and academic circles. It is high time for the world to know the truth about the famous and mysterious Automatic Guitar, Paul-Emile Descatiaux and the Holomusic. In order to win this challenge, Professor Glaçon offers to give a series of lectures seconded by musical and visuals illustrations which shall shed light on his words.  As such, the subjects of the Encyclopedia will be explored without fear of confronting the highest peaks of complexity, of depicting controversial personalities, or of taking out their last certainties from dumbfounded spectators. We shall find columns as necessary as surprising, such as that of Huguette Rudette or Paul-Henri Shuma-Tyre’s interviews, and of course, the –financially – essential commercial breaks.

paleo-learProfessor Glaçon stayed on several occasions at NIROX foundation where he first conducted precise and complete researches on the “Cradle of Human Sounds” which resulted in extraordinary findings. He discovered many forgotten species of animals, sound categories, and even started to build a new taxonomy for them. The initial idea of creating Paleo’ Lear came to the Professor’s mind during his second stay in March this year when he witnessed unknown rituals and filmed some of these strange scenes with a hidden camera. Indeed, every night and early mornings a number of animals performed The King Lear, known to be written by William Shakespeare. The Professor came to think that these scenes could have been performed rigorously every day since the dawn of humanity; which in this case meant that Shakespeare didn't invent anything, but attended himself some of these secret performances on which he based his writing…. Enjoy a tasty gourmet lunch while discovering the findings of Professor Glaçon!

A series of concerts and happenings featuring Drumming Grupo De Percussão will bring musical vibes to selected public spaces in Gauteng… Geared towards contemporary music with open doors to all the worlds of sound, this Portuguese percussion group ensemble led by Spanish artist Miquel Bernat explores the variety of sounds through a wide range of percussions. Equipped with an array of musical instruments ranging from marimbas to cymbals, djembe, still drums, tambourines and cow bells, Miquel Bernat himself and three other members of the group: Joao Tiago de Almeida Dias, Nuno Mendes Moreira Aroso and Rui Sergio Pereira Rodrigues will create percussion rhythms which will resound in your ears and body.


Collages, videos, plates illustrations from the Encyclopedia, and the book of the Encyclopedia itself presented for the first time, with musical performances at the opening.
Opening on Tuesday 19 April at 6.30pm with musical performances
Tuesday 19 April – Sunday 8 May
NIROXprojects, Arts on Main (Johannesburg)

During these multi-media performances, Professor Glaçon offers to give a series of lectures seconded by musical and visuals illustrations which shall shed light on his words. 
Tuesday 19 April @ 8.00pm: Arts on Main (Johannesburg)
Thursday 21 April @ 7.45pm: Alliance française (Pretoria)
Thursday 28 April @ 8.00pm: Main Street Life (Johannesburg)
Bookings: Arts on Main & Main Street Life | R100 | or 011 727 5101
Bookings: Pretoria | Free | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 012 343 6563

The initial idea of creating this work came to the Professor’s mind during his second stay at NIROX Foundation in March this year when he witnessed unknown rituals and filmed some of these strange scenes in the Cradle of Humankind with a hidden camera. Discover the results of his research through an itinerant performance in the exclusive private foundation of NIROX and sip some wine while eating a tasty gourmet lunch in the bush!!!
Wednesday 27 April @ 11.00am: NIROX Foundation (Cradle of Humankind)
Bookings: R350 |  or 011 727 5101

A series of concerts and happenings featuring Drumming Grupo De Percussão will bring musical vibes to selected public spaces in Gauteng…
Wednesday 20 April @ 2.30pm: Mamelodi High School Music Pavilion (Mamelodi, Pretoria) | free
Thursday 21 April @ 11.00am: Church Square (Pretoria) | free
Friday 22 April @ 3.00pm: Alexandra Community Centre (Alexandra, Johannesburg) | free
Saturday 23 April @ 2.00pm: KYP (Kliptown Youth Project) Community Center (Kliptown, Soweto) | free
Saturday 30 April @ 3.00pm: Portuguese Youth Day @ Associação da Comunidade Portuguesa de Pretória (Pretoria West) | R20

Updates on the various events on www.ifas.org.za/culture
Updates on Drumming concerts in Church Sq., Alexandra & Mamelodi events to follow on www.mzansicultura.es


In the pipeline…
Telegrams from the Nose: a multimedia project mixing Sarhan’s original score with Kentridge’s videos. Take the opportunity to see and hear for the first time the result of the collaboration between François Sarhan and William Kentridge which took place in 2008. The backdrop is a large canvas painted by Kentridge on which are screened Telegrams from the Nose, a video consisting of a stylish combination of anamorphosed human shadows, small black animated silhouettes in cut-out paper, geometrical shapes evoking Russian constructivism, letters in movement and text. In phase with Kentridge's images, the music of "Telegrams" scrolls through a series of hurried, scratched out, dislocated "Shostakovian vignettes". It is a work of memory and allusion, without any direct quotations. As always with Sarhan, it is the text (the spoken voice) that carries him away: here the composer pursues his quest for a modern melodrama. An alyrical narration, like a voice sample imported directly from everyday life (or an archive or old film), is used as the guiding thread, harvesting instrumental events.
9 & 10 July: Lectures of Professor Glaçon & Telegrams from the Nose at the National Arts Festival (Grahamstown)
September: Telegrams from the Nose at the Market Theatre (Johannesburg) (tbc)

About François Sarhan
Since 1995 when he created his first piece (for the French composer Pierre Boulez’ 70th birthday), François Sarhan has never stopped enriching and diversifying his art: music for orchestra, chamber music, opera, electronic music… Regular with creative residencies (Asernal de Metz-France, Royal School of Music-Manchester…), Sarhan doesn’t only compose music but also “stages” them through a theatrical structure he created and named crWth (Sarhan multiplies artistic collaborations with dance and theatre). His unique views on music are available in “Introduction à l’histoire de la musique” (Introduction to Music History), published in 2004 (Flammarion editions), and also in his “Encyclopedia” (written by the Professor Glaçon, Sarhan’s imaginary alter ego).
François Sarhan is difficult to classify: skilled classical cello player whose work includes also other mediums, he constantly creates with no boundaries, with a strong sense of modernity and hints of the charm of “old-fashioned” chamber music. Sarhan is no stranger to a South African audience. Indeed following several stays in South Africa, he came back in 2009 for a creative residency to prepare an experimental music tour which took place in May the same year. During the tour, he inaugurated Arts on Main with his Lectures of Professor Glaçon.

About Drumming
Drumming Grupo de Percussão (Drumming Percussion Ensemble) was founded in 1999 under the artistic direction of the Spanish artist Miquel Bernat and quickly became famous thanks to its unique “percussive” interpretation or diverse scores and the originality of its cross-over creations (saluted by both critics and public). Being one of the most active and innovative European music ensemble, Drumming has played in the most famous Portuguese concert halls, but also in various festivals and renowned venues around Europe.
Drumming GP is supported by DGArtes and Ministério da Cultura.

Proudly presented by the Embassy of Portugal in South Africa, the Embassy of Spain in South Africa and the French Institute of South Africa in association with NIROX, Arts on Main, Main Street Life, the Alliance française of Pretoria, the Institut Français and the EU Delegation

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