Recording of "From Red to Blue"

Mid-August 2019 my composition “From Red to Blue” - written in 2017 and inspired by the pictures of Paulo Lobo - premiered in the framework of a concert given by Léna and Louise Kollmeier during the Water Festival. I am particularly happy to share the news that the piece has now been recorded at Centre National de l’Audiovisuel by these same two talented pianists.

Mi-août 2019 ma composition “From Red to Blue” - créée en 2017 et inspirée par les photos de Paulo Lobo - a fait sa première lors du Water Festival dans le cadre d’un concert donné par Léna et Louise Kollmeier. Je suis particulièrement heureux d’annoncer que cette pièce a maintenant été enregistrée au Centre National de l’Audiovisuel par ces deux mêmes pianistes talentueuses.

Crédit photographique: Romain Girtgen

RDV Contemporain #2 - VILLA LOUVIGNY

To celebrate Heritage Days, Villa Louvigny’s auditoire will feature a contemporary music concert performed by United Instruments of Lucilin. The ensemble will present a varied and well rounded program including several pieces selected from the contemporary répertoire. The program includes minimalist pieces with Steve Reich’s « Music for Pieces of Wood » and an extract from the splendid « Quartet n°5 » by Philip Glass, more spectacular pieces with Magnus Lindberg’s « Ablauf » for clarinet and two percussions, as well as « Popular context » by Matthew Shlomowitz for keyboard, 2 percussions and electronics. I am particularly happy to represent the Luxembourgish repertoire with my last string quartet « Kaleidoscope » (2018).

The concert will take place on Sunday, 29 September at 11.00 am in the auditorium of Villa Louvigny - free entrance.

Programme :
Steve Reich, Music for pieces of wood
Camille Kerger, Kaleidoscope
Matthew Shlomowitz, Popular context 
Philip Glass, Quatuor N.5 
Magnus Lindberg, Ablauf 
Tom Johnson, Rational Melodies

"Carousel", "Carrousel", "Carroussel"

L’orthographe de ce mot n’est pas clair, les trois versions sont acceptables. Il s’agit donc d’un des rares mots, que l’on peut écrire de trois différentes façons. J’ai choisi ce mot comme titre, car il reflète à plusieurs égards le caractère de ma composition. Tout comme l’orthographe du mot la musique est ambiguë. Par moments on a l’impression d’avancer sur un sol qui se dérobe. Et ce dès la première mesure, où trois instruments avancent en vacillant à un rythme qui n’est qu’approximativement le même. Ce vacillement, cette incertitude émergent tout au long de la composition, mais sont par moment remplacés par des passages virtuoses et puissants, qui semblent tourner à vide – ou devrait-on dire à l’absurde? – comme un hamster dans sa roue.

La première de Carrousel aura lieu, chez moi le 1er juin prochain, par l’ensemble A-Trio, fondé à Cologne en 2014.


Die französische Schreibweise ist nicht klar und die drei Möglichkeiten sind richtig. Es handelt sich somit um  eines der wenigen Worte, die man auf 3 verschiedene Arten schreiben kann und darf. Ich habe dieses Wort als Titel gewählt, weil es dem Charakter der Komposition nahekommt. So wie die Schreibweise des Wortes ist die Musik auch eher doppel- bis dreibödig. So hat man manchmal das Gefühl, sich auf schwankendem Boden zu bewegend. So schon beim ersten Takt des Stücks, wo 3 Instrumente sich tastend und nur in annähernd demselben Tempo vorwärts bewegen. Und dieses Schwankende, Unsichere scheint immer wieder durch, wird aber auch von irren virtuos-flirrenden Passagen abgelöst, die manchmal wie ein Hamster im Rad scheinbar ins Leere drehen. Oder sollte man sagen, ins Absurde?  

Die Uraufführung von Carrousel findet am 1. Juni bei mir zu Hause statt, gespielt vom Ensemble A-Trio, der 2014 in Köln gegründet wurde.


The French spelling of “carousel” – or merry-go-round – is not clear. It can be written in either one of the three versions above. It is hence one of the few words, which can be written in three different ways. I have chosen this word as the title of this piece, because it fits the character of my composition. The music is as ambiguous as the spelling of the word. At times you feel like you are walking on swaying ground. As from the first bar, for instance, where 3 instruments move forward fumbling, only approximately at the same pace. This fluctuation, this unsteadiness transpires throughout the composition, but is replaced at times by mad, virtuoso shimmering passages, which sometimes seem to run idle – or should one say to absurd lengths? -  much like a hamster in a wheel.

Carrousel will premiere on June 1st at my place, performed by the ensemble A-Trio, which was founded in 2014 in Cologne.

From Red to Blue voit le jour.... From Red to Blue is coming to life....

From Red to Blue voit le jour….

C’est le travail de Paulo Lobo, un photographe luxembourgeois d’origine portugaise, connu pour sa « Street Art Photography », qui m’a inspiré From Red to Blue. J’ai choisi une dizaine de photos, principalement en noir et blanc, comme base pour composer ce morceau pour deux pianos. Mon intention n’était pas d’attribuer un élément musical à une photo mais plutôt de dégager une atmosphère générale de ces visuels et laisser l’auditeur créer ses propres images.

Ce morceau sera joué pour la première fois à Etalle (B), dans le cadre du spectacle « Hémisphères », proposé par Léna et Louise Kollmeier, deux pianistes belges talentueuses. Et je m’en réjouis tout particulièrement.

 Les deux pièces maîtresses de ce programme sont des créations contemporaines inspirées d’univers opposés : d’un côté l’Equateur, de l’autre le Luxembourg. Le contraste entre la nature et la ville. Et enfin la différence des genres qui apporte une sensibilité particulière : d’une part, la compositrice Virginie Tasset, de l’autre, le compositeur Camille Kerger (je cite 😊).

 Entre ces deux mondes contemporains, Léna et Louise interprèteront Six études canoniques de R. Schumann. Ces études ont été arrangées pour deux pianos par le compositeur français, Claude Debussy. On retrouve donc dans ces 6 courtes pièces des influences de l’époque baroque, romantique ou encore impressionniste.

 Je suis impatient de découvrir ce programme, de participer à la rencontre de ces deux hémisphères, et j’espère vous y retrouver. En attendant, vous pourrez découvrir ici un extrait musical de From Red to Blue


From Red to Blue is coming to life…

 From Red to Blue was inspired by the work of Paulo Lobo, a Luxembourg photographer of Portuguese origin, who is known for his « Street Art Photography ». I chose some ten, mostly black and white, photos to compose this piece for two pianos. My intent was not to match the single photos with musical elements. Rather I wanted to capture the general atmosphere emanating from Lobo’s visuals and let the listeners create their own images.    

 I am super excited that this piece will premiere on 15 August in Etalle (B), as part of the project ‘Hémisphères’, conceived by the two talented Belgian pianists Léna and Louise Kollmeier.

The program will consist of two main pieces of contemporary music, inspired by two opposite realities : Ecuador on one hand, and Luxembourg on the other hand. The contrast between nature on one hand and urban settings on the other hand. And also the difference between musical genres which convey specific sensitivities: the composer Virginie Tasset on one hand, and the composer Camille Kerger (I am just quoting here 😊) on the other hand.

 In between these two contemporary worlds, Léna and Louise will interpret Schumann’s 6 Studies in Canon Form, arranged for two pianos by French composer Claude Debussy. These six short pieces hence draw upon influences of the baroque, romantic and impressionist periods.

 I am very much looking forward to this performance, to the encounter of hemispheres, and I hope to see you there.  In the meantime, here is a short taste of From Red to Blue

Luxembourg-Russia: musical inspirations

On 22 November 2018 the new CD « Luxembourg-Russia: musical inspirations » by Nikolaï Saratovsky has been presented at the Russian Embassy of Luxembourg.

The CD features 3 Luxembourg compositions as well as music by Rachmaninov and is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the agreement on cultural relations between Russia and Luxembourg.

In their presentation text the Russian Centre for Science and Culture states: “It appeared to us that only music can fully express the richness and diversity of cultural exchanges between our two countries, which are different in so many ways.”

I couldn’t agree more. And I am honoured to have been part of this beautiful initiative, alongside my colleagues Ivan Boumans and Tatsiana Zelianko.

And I would also like to express my thanks to Nikolaï, whom I had the privileged to host and who gave a concert in my home earlier this year.

More detailed information, including how to order the CD, which has been recorded with the financial support of Luxembourg’s Ministry of Culture and of Sacem, can be found on the link below.

The Making of Kaleidoscope - String Quartet

The “Institut Grand-Ducal” celebrated its 150th anniversary on 25 October 2018.

As a member of this Institute I was asked to propose a 4 minutes composition from my existing repertoire, which would be performed during the ceremony. Since I didn’t have anything that short I offered to compose a new piece of music for that occasion.

However I wasn’t enticed by the idea of composing a 4 minutes one-off piece, that would be performed on just one occasion. So I started thinking how I could design a composition – mine usually have a length of 13-18 minutes – so that it could work even if someone decided to play only part of it.  

The outcome was “Kaleidoscope”. It is a piece of approximately 15 minutes if played from start to end. And it is made up of many tiny bits, like beads which you can string onto a thread.

Kaleidoscope’s first short part introduces all the material, which becomes then recurring in several different versions.  

In the end, it is then up to the musicians to decide whether to play the whole piece or just elements of it.

Provided that 4 parts at least are played, the quartet can decide which segments to play and in which order. No matter how long or short a piece you play, Kaleidoscope remains an exciting composition by design.

Barricades Mystérieuses

The Mysterious Barricades (Les Barricades Mystérieuses) is a piece of music by François Couperin, which he composed for harpsichord in 1717. There has been much speculation on the meaning of the phrase "mysterious barricades" with no direct evidence available to back up any theory.

It is interesting to see how this very short piece of music – 3-4 minutes at most - has triggered so much interest and fascination, and how it has brought so much pleasure for over 300 years now.

Many artists have been inspired by this brief and fascinating piece for harpsichord: poets, novelists and filmmakers, such as Sofia Coppola, which used it in her film « Marie-Antoinette ». And painters as well, most famously Magritte, whose artwork « Barricades Mystérieuses » is often used to illustrate Couperin’s composition.

I first heard this piece of music in Trier, where Claude Weber was performing it… He told us the story behind it, and sure enough I also succumbed to the fascination of Couperin’s music. So, I decided to include snippets of his composition into my very own version of “Barricades Mystérieuses”.

Summer Updates

Dear friends, the last months have been quite busy. And I love it. Here some of the highlights:

  • On 17 April - Russian pianist Niklaï Saratovsky performed my composition for piano Couleurs in Wasserbillig, to commemorate the arrival of the Russian first-wave émigrés in Mertert a century ago
  • Lucilin performed my composition Recycled Music for violin and piano on 9 May at Teatro Central and on 23 June in Sofia
  • From 20 May to 3 June I toured China with the Kammer Musek Veräin Lëtzebuerg, with concerts and masterclasses in Beijing, Chengdu et Nanning
  • My composition Ornithopoésie was performed by Noémie Sunnen (soprano) and Paul Mootz (marimba) at Cents Church on 17 June as a tribute concert to Theo Kerg
  • On 19 June the Prix Servais was awarded to Nico Helminger at the national literature center, at the sound of my music Atemlos - am Ursprung, performed by Frin Wolter (accordion) and Marcel Lallemang (bass clarinett).
  • Composition of Very Busy for tenor saxophone and piano, which was performed by Jeffrey E. Vickers (saxophone) & Hannah Creviston (piano) on 11 July in Zagreb during the «World Saxophone Congress 2018 »
  • Performance by Olivier Sliepen of my composition Wish for soprano saxophone was in Freden, Germany on 27 July