Frédéric Bétous’ great desire is to reveal the repertoire of Renaissance music to his audiences via the most authentic restitution possible and by juxtaposing them with contemporary creations like a piece of jewellery that has been restored and is presented in a modern case. To this end, he likes to exchange and work in partnership with composers and musicologists on the different projects for La Main Harmonique.
Alexandros Markeas was born in Athens in 1965 and studied piano and music theory at the National Conservatory of Greece and later at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris where he obtained a degree in piano and chamber music. In parallel to his promising career as a concert pianist playing improvisation pieces, he continued his studies specialising in composition.
He studied under Guy Reibel, Michael Levinas and Marc-André Dalbavie. After graduating in counterpoint, fugue and composition, he was admitted to I.R.C.A.M where he continued his studies in composition and electronic music and he also attended the Aix-en-Provence Festival Composition Academy.
His work is defined by his desire to decode and change musical perceptions by bringing music in contact with different fields of artistic expression such as architecture, visual arts and the theatre. He also takes his inspiration from new forms of expression that have emerged from the world of visual arts (installations, performances, events, videos), to create situations where listening to music becomes an unusual and specific experience. He has created audio visual installation projects for instance (Timescope (200 – Villa Medici) in partnership with the artist Laurent Berger, Concerto Spaziale (2003 – with Eriko Momotani, Concerto Spaziale 2 (2004 – at the CNR of Poitiers, La Voix et ses avatars 2006 – in the ARCAL studios) by imagining the route along which the audience could invent their own formal progression and create their own musical universes by choosing among the many different elements offered.
His philosophy regarding the mechanisms of perception and decoding music took him to the world of theatre and he collaborated with different directors (Jean-François Peyret on Le traité des forms) and with the Ars Nova ensembles, partners who, like him wanted to explore theatrical aspect that is inherent in music (2004 – Joyeux anniversaire with Claire Lasne, 2006 Narcisse with Jean Boillot).
He dedicates a great deal of his time and considerable talent to working on unusual and original improvisation works and studies. He also composes his own works and specialises in multimedia projects.
The past ten years have seen his work performed in France and elsewhere by orchestras of considerable repute, such as the Ensemble lntercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Court-Circuit, Itinéraire, TM+, Ats Nova, Habanera Quartet, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Alter Ego, Aridity Quartet, Danel Quartet, and Percussions de Strasbourg, to name but a few.
He has been commissioned to produce and perform pieces for the French Republic, Radio France, the Royaumont Foundation, the Louvre Museum, Manca, and the Couperin Festivals. Several of his multimedia projects have been sponsored by the DRAC (Regional Department of Cultural Affairs) of the Ile-de-France District Council, Paris Town Council and the Romaeuropa Festival.
Between 2000 and 2005, he worked with the director Jean-François Peyret on a long-term theatre project: Le traité des formes.
He is a keen teacher and has written a great number of original pieces for young people and amateur orchestras.
A few milestones along his career:
1999: composer-in-residence at the Académie de France in the Villa Medici in Rome.
2001: SACEM Hervé Dugardin Award.
2006: Critics’ Union Award.
2009: SACD award
2003: appointment as teacher of improvisation at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur.
Caroline Marçot was born in Paris in 1974. She studied the piano and is passionate about the three dimensions of sound : creation, interpretation and perception. She acquired considerable experience in vocal music at the a Maîtrise de Radio-France then in the Jeune Chœur (Youth Choir) and at the same time at the Conservatory of Paris, won the prize for analysis, counterpoint Renaissance, 20th century writing, orchestration and acoustics. She also won the 2003 prize from the Natexis Foundation and her catalogue printed by Jobert-Lemoine includes vocal and instrumental works commissioned by the ARIAM, the ADDIM Haute-Saône, the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra, the Cité de la Musique, Musique Nouvelle en Liberté and her creations have been interpreted by Geofffroy Jourdain, Rachid Safir, Laurence Equilbey, Roland Hayrabedian, Gildas Pungier, Lionel Sow, Daniel Reuss, the Clément Janequin Ensemble, etc. She is regularly included in performances by different chamber choirs singing an eclectic repertoire: Baroque, romantic and contemporary. In the Mora Vocis ensemble of soloists she focuses on mediaeval, lyrical works while with the Echelle Ensemble she performs Renaissance music.
For its recording of Sacrae Cantiones La Main Harmonique commissioned a cycle of seven pieces by Caroline Marçot called ‘Ma’, which reflect the multiple aspects of the motets by Gesualdo and she thus creates a timeless link with them. ‘Ma’, in Japanese refers to the “living space between things and between human beings” and is conceived as a contemplation of all that appears, vibrates and resounds (Notes on “Ma”, Okuyama K. Atelier du Lierre publishers, 2013)
Caroline Marçot explains: “Listening is a musical act in itself, which is not just about making a sound. Interdependent elements, in a global conscience. Ridding oneself of rhetoric and speech, to let sound elements flourish in their stability. ‘MA’, in the Japanese meaning refers to what takes place in the spirit of the person experiencing these elements. Rehabilitating the semitone within this stability and not in the doloristic chromatic principle of Gesualdo. One finds dissonance in works by Gesualdo even in the lightest of texts. The light he describes is blinding. It is because it hurts that his chromatic language evokes a sense of pain”.
Scientific joint ventures
Lecturer in Mediaeval History at the University of Versailles / Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, director of the Annales Journal. History, Social Sciences and chronicler of mediaeval history for Le Monde des Livres. In 2004, he presented his thesis on the cultural life in Avignon during the reign of Pope Clement VI (1342-1352). He collaborated on libretto for the recording of Clemens Deus Artifex.
Singer, teacher, musicologist, contributor to the Centre for Advanced Renaissance Studies in Tours, author behind the restitution of the missing parts of the Sacrae Cantiones.
Lecturer in musicology at the Sorbonne, PhD in musicology at the Sorbonne and Alma Mater Bologna and the author of Carlo Gesualdo (Bleu Nuit Editeur). She also collaborated on the librettos for the recording of L’aura mia sacra and Sacrae Cantiones.
Musician who specialises in mediaeval keyboards and has a PhD in musicology. He teaches the history of mediaeval music, paleography and heads a workshop in ancient music in the Arts Faculty (ALSH) of the University of Aix-Marseille (AMU). He collaborated on the libretto for the recording of Clemens Deus Artifex and is a guest presenter at Festival Musique en Chemin providing background to the concerts.
Qualified Italian teacher, PhD at the Sorbonne, lecturer at the Sorbonne and author of Pétrarque et le pétrarquisme (PUF). He also collaborated on the libretto of the recording of L’aura mia sacra.