An Evening of Contemporary Music with Ensemble Variances and Sonic Generator

From L to R: David Louwerse (Cello), Carjez Gerretsen (Clarinet), Liana Gurdzhiya (Violin), Thierry Pécou (Artistic Director & Pianist), Nicolas Prost (Saxophone) and Anne Cartel (Flute) - Photo by Michel Pellaz
From L to R: David Louwerse (Cello), Carjez Gerretsen (Clarinet), Liana Gurdzhiya (Violin), Thierry Pécou (Artistic Director & Pianist), Nicolas Prost (Saxophone) and Anne Cartel (Flute) – Photo by Michel Pellaz

French orchestra ENSEMBLE VARIANCES and Georgia Tech’s acclaimed ensemble in-residence SONIC GENERATOR, both specialized in contemporary and experimental music, presented a fall concert celebrating eclectic styles and innovative sounds. Featuring a 15-musician cast, the program introduced pieces by American composer Lisa Bielawa (performing here as a guest vocalist), French composer Thierry Pécou (director of Ensemble Variances), American composer Andy Akiho, and a performance of Steve Reich’s Pulitzer-Prize winning piece “Double Sextet”.


November 9, 2015 at 8:00pm.
Ferst Center for the Arts (Georgia Tech Campus) 

349 Ferst Dr, Atlanta, GA 30332



At the crossroads of different styles and esthetics, Ensemble Variances’ musical creations blend in space, movement and music performed in various musical formations, usually without a conductor. Described as a “French cross-genre jazz-classical-world music” ensemble, Ensemble Variances – under the direction of founder, composer and pianist Thierry Pécou – consists of outstanding soloists and chamber musicians willing to create music around the unexpected and to experiment with it. In establishing a dialogue with the composer, they allow themselves to be carried away by Pécou’s unique flair and rhythmic touch, and to share his energy – inspired in part by the memory of the swaré bèlè (a folk dance and music from Martinique, where Pécou’s heritage lies).

Ensemble Variances regularly invites international soloists and chamber musicians open to new and unexpected musical experiences to join them. Their performances have taken to the French May Festival in Hong Kong, the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico, the Auditorium in Lyon, the Gasteig in Munich, the Arsenal in Metz, several Opera Houses in France (Aix-en-Provence, Reims, Rouen, Saint-Etienne), among other places. Their CD Tremendum (Harmonia Mundi), a composition of chamber music by Thierry Pécou, has received prestigious recognition, such as the 2012 Diapason d’or (The Diapason d’Or de l’Année is a prestigious award, decided by a jury of critics from Diapason Magazine and broadcasters from France Musique. It is equivalent to the American Grammy Awards). More about Ensemble Variances here.



Thierry PécouBorn in Paris, Thierry Pécou began studying piano at the age of nine and continued at the Conservatoire Supérieur (Paris), where he won First Prizes in Orchestration and Composition. Regularly appointed for residencies around the world, Pécou has made his extensive travel a source of inspiration for his music.

Pécou has written over 80 performed works, most of them commissioned by highly prestigious institutions. Interpreted by world-class soloists and orchestras (e.g. Kronos Quartet, pianist Alexandre Tharaud, BBC Symphony Orchestra), his pieces have been played during renowned concerts and festivals (Radio-France’s Présences, Gaudeamus Music-Week in Amsterdam, Automn in Moscow, New Music Concerts in Toronto, Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva inMexico, Festival d’Ambronay, Tampere Choir Festival in Finland, Auditorium in Nagasaki, Théâtre de la Ville and des Champs Elysées in Paris, Octobre in Normandie).

Over the past two decades, Pécou was awarded numerous national and international awards, such a Nomination at the Victoires de la Musique (Cannes) in the “Composer of the Year” category in 2005. Today, he regularly performs his work both as a soloist and as a chamber musician (Les Machines désirantes, piano concerto with Ensemble Variances, Tremendum with the BBC Symphony and with the Orchestre de Colonne). More about Thierry Pécou here.



Sgenerator Founded in 2006, Sonic Generator – the hi-tech contemporary chamber music ensemble in-residence at Georgia Tech – showcases innovative   contemporary music by some of the most creative American composers engaged with new technology. Focusing on the ways technology can extend
and transform the timbres and textures of acoustic instruments, Sonic Generator works closely with students and faculty to implement technology in concert and to include new research into live performances. The group has been known to perform with wine glasses, iPhones, comic strips, car speakers, DJs, and a robotic drummer.

Sonic Generator also frequently collaborates with visual artists to create video projections to accompany its performances. The core group of musicians is composed of top Atlanta musicians dedicated to playing repertoire from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. After performing with France’s Orchestre National de Lorraine at the 2013 France-Atlanta festival, Sonic Generator made its first international appearance with members of the ONL and conductor Jacques Mercier at the Arsenal Concert Hall in Metz, France, in 2014.

Considered one of Atlanta’s most innovative bands, Sonic Generator was named on the 2009 “Best of Atlanta” list by Atlanta Magazine, the 2011 “Best of Atlanta” list by Creative Loafing and as having performed two of the five most memorable classical music events of 2011, by More about Sonic Generator here.


Ensemble Variances is supported by the French Ministry of Culture (Drac Haute-Normandie), the Haute-Normandie region, Sacem, the City of Rouen and Odia Haute-Normandie. The North-American tour of Ensemble Variances is supported by the Institut français in Paris, Bureau Export, Spedidam and Adami. 



This France-Atlanta event was presented with the generous support of our partners and sponsors: