Photo : Fergus Padeland
Close Photo : Fergus Padeland
October 17

Catherine Christer Hennix presents Solo for Tamburium

Concert in the Auditorium. 

The Bourse de Commerce and New York label Blank Forms are hosting a concert by Catherine Christer Hennix, a Swedish composer of drone minimal music. Since the late 1960s, Catherine Christer Hennix has been creating a powerful and innovative body of work, embracing minimal music, mathematics, and poetry. She will present her latest piece at the Bourse de Commerce, entitled Solo for Tamburium, where she plays and manipulates tambura recordings via her keyboard, harmoniously fusing the sounds into ornamental textures. 

This concert resonates with Take Over (2017) by Anri Sala, exhibited in Gallery 2. Here, two films are projected side by side, showing the keyboard of a Disklavier piano, animated at once manually by a player, and automatically by a programme, in a variety of actions: rhythmic movements, single strokes, clusters, waves, and bursts.  

Catherine Christer Hennix was born in 1948 in Sweden. She began her career at the pioneering Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) in Stockholm, and contributed to the creation of the first synthesizers. In Sweden, she saw jazz luminaries like John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, and Cecil Taylor in concert. In 1968, she moved to New York, and became friends with key figures of the nascent American avant-garde such as composers Henry Flynt and La Monte Young, resulting in fruitful collaborations. La Monte Young introduced her to Indian musician Pandit Pran Nath, a master of raga—a musical concept specific to Indian music—with whom she studied intensely. The latter would have a lasting influence on her artistic practice. Upon her return to Sweden, along with her brother Peter Hennix and Hans Isgren, she formed the trio The Deontic Miracle, where electronics, Renaissance oboe, and the sheng (a Chinese wind instrument) were combined, giving birth to long drone tracks, all in breath and modulation. In 1976, she published The Electric Harpsichord, a drone piece that marked the beginning of her unique keyboard playing. In the 1970s and 1980s, she collaborated with American musicians Marc Johnson, Arthur Russell, and Arthur Rhames. At the same time, she worked at the AI Lab at MIT and became a research professor in mathematics at SUNY New Paltz in the United States. She currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey, where she studies maqam. 

Blank Forms 

Formed in 2016 and based in New York, Blank Forms is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting emerging and underrepresented artists in interdisciplinary and temporal fields of practice, such as experimental music, performance, dance, and the sound arts. Its aim is to establish new frameworks to preserve, nurture, and present the work of historically significant and emerging artists to a wide audience. Blank Forms offers artists curatorial support, residencies, commissions, and publications enabling them to document, disseminate, and create. Since 2018, Blank Forms has unearthed archival recordings from the 1970s by Catherine Christer Hennix. 

To celebrate the work of Anri Sala and in close collaboration with the artist, the Bourse de Commerce is offering several events, meetings and concerts: 

  • On November 16, Long Pons Sorrow, a projection of Anri Sala's film Long Sorrow (2005), interspersed with appearances by saxophonist André Vida and the Berlin-based trio of musicians Zinc & Copper
  • On November 18, a series of daily performances by American saxophonist André Vida, who improvises a duet with the work Time No Longer (2021) in the museum's Rotunda. 
  • On January 5 and 6, the Bourse de Commerce and the Ravel Festival present Ravel Ravel Revisited, a new look by Anri Sala at his work Ravel Ravel Unravel (2013), performed by French pianist Bertrand Chamayou.