The Orchestre National de Jazz and IRCAM present Ex Machina, a programme conceived by the American saxophonist Steve Lehman and Frédéric Maurin, artistic director of the ONJ. In fact, both musicians share a number of aesthetic questions and ambitions that make it possible to compare their respective careers. Both have proposed material that has been widely praised as music that has inventive forms, with sophistication in its palettes of timbres, and elaborate patterns in which the music can be played, notably the manner in which the soloist integrates into the construction of the different pieces they have written.
Their shared ambition to go beyond traditional orchestral limits has particularly fostered their strong interest in the theories of spectral music, a contemporary practice notably represented by such French composers as Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail (under whom Steve Lehman studied at New York’s Columbia University). Based on the decomposition of the music’s acoustic properties, spectral music has allowed the emergence of new composing principles and orchestration techniques, notably in microtonal compositions that favour merged perceptions of the timbres, revolutionising the impressions that can emanate from orchestral works.
This project is the result of a collaboration with the Musical Representations team at IRCAM, headed by Gérard Assayag, and explores for the first time the possibilities of interaction between the instrumentalists and the machine within a large jazz orchestra.
By integrating devices created using Jérôme Nika’s DYCI2 environment in the composition process and in the soloists’ improvisations in real-time, the computer becomes, in turn, a generator of electronic orchestrations for the composers and an improvisation partner for the musicians.
Orchestre National de Jazz
Frédéric Maurin artistic direction
Jérôme Nika generative electronics creation and artistic collaboration
Dionysios Papanikolaou IRCAM electronics
FANNY MÉNÉGOZ flute, alto flute, piccolo
CATHERINE DELAUNAY clarinet, basset horn
JULIEN SORO tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet
FABIEN DEBELLEFONTAINE barytone saxophone , clarinet, flute
FABIEN NORBERT trumpet, flugelhorn
JONATHAN FINLAYSON trumpet
DANIEL ZIMMERMANN trombone
CHRISTIANE BOPP trombone
FANNY METEIER tuba
CHRIS DINGMAN vibraphone
STÉPHAN CARACCI marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, percussions
BRUNO RUDER piano
SARAH MURCIA double bass
RAFAËL KOERNER drums
AXEL ROEBEL RCAM-STMS Scientific Advisor, Sound Analysis-Synthesis Team