updated 17 January 2024
© Nikita Teryoshin

Bastien David

French composer born 6 December 1990 in La Garenne Colombes.

Writing since the age of ten, Bastien David studied composition with Bernard Cavanna and José Manuel López López at the Conservatoire de Gennevilliers, then with Gérard Pesson at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. He is a member of the European Network of Opera Academies, guest composer of the Bavarian Ministry for Science and Art, resident at the Villa Medici and, for the 2022–2023 season, resident artist for the Ensemble 2e2m.

In 2022, he composed Les Métamorphoses, a piece for a metallophone that he had developed over nine years. This percussion instrument is tuned in twelfths of a tone and has a fifteen-meter circumference made up of 216 steel blades played by six performers. The instrument encourages acoustic immersion and synesthetic sensations, and is both a sonic and visual experience, as performing it almost resembles choreography. This project, which David developed in Myanmar and at the Villa Medici, is sponsored by the Banque Populaire and the Académie des Beaux-Arts. The instrument represents a synthesis of David’s ecological and social values: it involved a long time for development, in contrast with an immediate and consumerist economy; it embodies a will to adapt, as the instrument can be reshaped to fit the space that hosts it; and it requires a group of six performers, recreating a microscopic society where sharing and cooperation are necessary.

The instrument’s microtonality is also representative of David’s outlook: its small intervals bring minuscule sounds – and it is no coincidence that the company of performers attached to the instrument is called Les Insectes. Microtonality is a phenomenon perceptible throughout nature: in the flow of water, the movement of air, bird song, and many other phenomena. An interest in the natural world is reflected across David’s catalogue. B i r d (2023), Animal (2021), Bec et ongles (2021), Les Insectes (2021), and Flytox (2016), which is named after a fly repellent, are pieces that invite listeners to rethink their conflicting relationship with living beings and apply more care and benevolence to them. David fully associates artistic practice and an ecological mindset. For him, art is an essential intellectual exercise that brings people together and offers a means by which to project oneself and to imagine what the possibilities are for creating a coherent world, as a score can do, for example.

David’s works have been played by ensembles and orchestras such as the Ensemble intercontemporain, the Geneva Camerata, TM+, L’Instant Donné, 2e2m, Trio K/D/M, Court-Circuit, Zafraan Ensemble, Duo Xamp, Ensemble Aleph, and the Acousmonium. His pieces have been interpreted by soloists such as Renaud Capuçon (Bec et ongles, 2021) and Fanny Ardant (Phaidra, 2020). His compositions have also been produced at Radio France’s Festival Présences, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Festival Messiaen, the Festival Aujourd’hui Musiques, Why Note, Impuls (Germany), the Auditorium de Radio France, the Villa Medici, the Philharmonie de Paris, the Opéra Comédie in Montpellier, the Théâtre de l’Aquarium, the Marbrerie (Montreuil, France), and Radial Système (Germany).

His works are published by Editions Henry Lemoine.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2022


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(liens vérifiés en janvier 2024).