Photo: Rui Camilo

 

Biography

 

Georges Aperghis was born in Athens in 1945. He has lived and worked in Paris since 1963. His work is notably characterized by a questioning about languages and the meaning. His compositions, wether instrumental, vocal or for stage, explore the borders of the intelligible, and disrupt out perception of the basic elements of human communication.

Aperghis’ music is not strictly linked to any dominant musical aesthetics of the contemporary musical creation but follows on his century by a dialogue with other forms of art – theatre and literature, humanities and social arts as well as visual arts. His art can be characterized by an extreme open-mindness to the other. This otherness is combined with innovation when he includes electronics, video, machines, automatons or robots to his performances.

Aperghis works closely with a group of interpreters who are entirely part of the creative process. In 1976 with a small team of musicians and actors, he founded in Bagnolet the ATEM, Atelier Theater and Music, a kind of laboratory where shows and workshops were in preparation in which the inhabitants of this working class and popular suburb of North East Paris participated.

Since then, it has continued to develop close collaborations with comedians (Edith Scob, Michael Lonsdale, Valérie Dréville, Jos Houben), instrumentalists (Jean-Pierre Drouet, Richard Dubelski, Geneviève Strosser, Nicolas Hodges, Uli Fussenegger, Mariangela Vacatello) or vocalists (Martine Viard, Donatienne Michel-Dansac, Lionel Peintre). From the 90’s he shared new artistic collaborations with danse (Johanne Saunier, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker) and visual arts (Daniel Lévy, Kurt D’Haeseleer, Hans Op de Beeck). The main european contemporary music ensembles have developed a working relationship with Aperghis through settled commissions that are now part of their repertory (Ictus Ensemble, Klangforum Wien, Remix Ensemble, Musikfabrik, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble intercontemporain, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart).

“Aperghis has certainly acquired the freedom to put himself on the high wire, to risk the fall. But the difference is he knows that when the acrobat falls, he doesn’t fall into emptiness: he falls onto other wires, from which he can jump even higher!! You can negotiate with danger, play with it, turn it into a vanishing point on the horizon. In his case, it is always present. It re-emerges incessantly, all the time, whenever unforeseen elements are introduced; not to break with the formal chain of complexity, but to find other forms of expression.” (from L'hétérogénèse, interview between Felix Guattari and Georges Aperghis, transcribed by Antoine Gindt)

Recent distinctions are the Mauricio Kagel Music Prize in 2011, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement – Venice Biennale Musica 2015, the BBVA Foundation Award Frontiers of Knowledge in 2016 (category contemporary music), the Christoph and Stefan Kaske Foundation Prize Munich in 2016.

Website of Georges Aperghis