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New Music Concerts Robert Aitken, artistic director

A Percussive Evening with Jean-Pierre Drouet

Sunday March 2, 2014 @ The Music Gallery
Jean-Pierre Drouet
solo percussion
Introduction 7:15 | Concert 8:00
The Music Gallery, 197 John Street [MAP]
photo: Wolfgang Kirchner

Vinko Globokar - Toucher

Georges Aperghis - Corps a corps

Frederic Rzewski - To the Earth

Giorgio Battistelli - Il Libro Celibe

Mauricio Kagel - (2 solos from) Exotica

Vinko Globokar - Ombre

Jean-Pierre Drouet - Improvisation on Zarb


A multifacetted percussionist, improviser and composer, Jean-Pierre Drouet studied successively the trumpet and drumming after an accident deprived him of an intended career as pianist. He studied in turn at the conservatories of Bordeaux and Paris in the percussion class of Félix Passerone, a pupil of René Leibowitz, and the compostion class of André Hodeir. At first he showed a lively interest in jazz, but Drouet’s meeting with the composer Luciano Berio in 1959 marked the start of a trajectory with contemporary music at its heart. As a performer, Jean-Pierre Drouet took part in the premieres of many works of prestigious composers.

As a composer himself, he was open to the most varied forms of artistic expression. He also developed a passion for music theatre, that he tried to promote notably with the Trio Le Cercle that he co-founded and that is reflected in his piece for three percussionists Combien de cercles superposés (1974). His awareness of the stage arts led indeed to encounters that were as productive as they were unusual: with the equestrian theatre company Zingaro of Bartabas (original music for the films Mazeppa and Chamane), the choreographer-director François Verret and the musical machines of Claudine Brahem.

Programme notes by Jean-Pierre Drouet

Mauricio Kagel - (2 solos from) Exotica (1972)
These are short pieces in which the choice of instruments is left to the performer, with the proviso to use only exotic instruments from an unfamiliar and a distant culture ... Only the rhythms and nuances are fixed; the pitches are merely suggested. For the vocal part, specified the same way, the words are missing: the interpreter is asked to imagine a language that sounds exotic ...!
Giorgio Battistelli - Il Libro Celibe (1976)
A large antique hardcover book serves both as score and instrument; each page turned reveals a microcosm of sound; their sequence form the components of a musical poem. A sleight of hand conjures the conclusion.
Vinko Globokar - Toucher (1973)
Seven instruments are chosen by the interpreter to reproduce the 13 vowels and diphthongs of the French language, the consonants of each syllable being formed through all possible means of touching the instruments. The text, excerpts from "The Life of Galileo" by Bertold Brecht, circulates between the voice of the performer, coupled in simultaneous translation with the instruments, or through the instruments themselves by turns.
Vinko Globokar - Ombre (1989)
A percussionist engages in a dialogue with his conscience and must comply as best he can. A brutal external phenomenon burst into his thoughts, and gradually takes control of the musician. He accepts, reluctantly at first, then grows more and more attracted to the risk as his consciousness deteriorates. Fascinated, he follows the intruder farther and farther away, and then...
Frederic Rzewski - To the Earth (1985)
A tribute to Mother Earth on a Greek hymn attributed to Homer. Four clay pots, well tuned and particularly resonant, two sticks of very thin wood, and the voice of the narrator-percussionist are the only instruments called for in this pagan “prayer”.
Abdul Alafrez - Abdulisations (2013)
One who vanished westwards told us:
Great pictures have hardly any forms
Great music has hardly any sounds
Great magic has hardly any effects.
Can we not assume that
A great score has hardly any notes?
— Abdul Alafrez
Georges Aperghis - Corps à corps (1978)
A fight on several levels: between man and instrument, instrument and voice, onomatopoeia and meaningful text, struggle and surrender... A tragicomic clash with a small puzzle solved at the end.