The demented organ of HANATSUMirror

Interviews 04.03.2021

The Strasbourg-based ensemble is very interested in experimental violin making. The king instrument of the Alsatian heritage has inspired the unusual violin maker who works with them: Léo Maurel.

HANATSU miroir celebrated in 2020 its tenth year of existence, discovery and creation. Born under the impulse of flutist Ayako Okubo and percussionist Olivier Maurel in 2010, the ensemble has since built a singular, curious and eclectic repertoire. Mainly focused on creation, transmission, touring and research on hybrid instruments, the ensemble is currently interested in the crossroads of different writing styles. 

Presentation of the EXOrgue cycle and Organous with percussionist Olivier Maurel, artistic director of HANATSUmiroir and brother of Léo.

What is the Organous?

The Orguanous is the prototype of a new kind of organ, designed by Léo Maurel. Léo realised that organ building, which has a 2000 year history, is a huge playground for organ builders and luthiers! The Organous has the particularity of being transportable, multimodular: it can be played outside a church and discover other acoustics. It is thus more adapted to the ways of playing music today. It is composed of eight modules, which allows, according to the desires, to place the instrumentalists or the listeners in the middle, in front, behind... The pipes can be arranged in the whole space of a stage or a room. The instrument is disconnected from its console, it is controlled by a computer, as one could control a synthesizer which means that several musicians can play, simultaneously, the Orguanous. It is an instrument that will evolve: improvements are planned to take it even further in the practice of electronic music!

The Organous is the epicenter of the EXOrgue project.

Precisely, how do you develop a repertoire for this instrument?

This is what is at stake in the EXOrgue cycle, created by the HANATSUmiroir ensemble. For this new instrument to live, it needs a repertoire. EXOrgue is a cycle of musical workshops, which we call laboratories, where we bring together musicians from ensembles that are similar to ours, who have a taste for improvisation and sound experimentation: the musicians of the Links ensemble and the Greek ensemble ARTÉfacts... The idea is that several composers join us in each section. Laurent Durupt, from the Links ensemble, began by creating a first composition using this new instrument. The objective of the EXOrgue cycle is clearly to develop a repertoire for ensemble and Organous.

The first session of the EXOrgue cycle took place in December 2019 and the official creation of the play was supposed to take place last November, in Strasbourg. We're waiting to have a little visibility in the season to find a new date... We were also supposed to go play in Athens, at the ARTEfacts ensemble, in February, it's been postponed for a year. 

This project echoes our work with ErikM in which we also explore hybrid lutheries with the use of treated percussion and electro magnetism.  

It was you who took part, with the double bass player Stéphane Clor, in the first Hémisphère Son commission...

This is a commission that follows in the footsteps of our work: the writing of a piece on the stage, that is to say, in the course of sessions where each musician brings his or her baggage, ideas and intuitions, in collaboration with a composer, Elsa Biston and a composer Samir Amarouch to compose a collective concert work.

Interview by Suzanne Gervais

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