George Aperghis


Georges Aperghis was born in Athens in 1945. He has lived and worked in Paris since 1963. His work is notably characterized by a questioning about languages and the meaning. His compositions, wether instrumental, vocal or for stage, explore the borders of the intelligible, he likes to create twisted tracks which allow him to keep active the listener (stories emerge but are suddenly refuted). 
Aperghis’ music is not strictly linked to any dominant musical aesthetics of the contemporary musical creation but follows on his century by a dialogue with other forms of art and an extreme open-mindedness to the other. This otherness is combined with innovation when he includes electronics, video, machines, automatons or robots to his performances. Aperghis works closely with group of interpreters who are entirely part of the creative process. They are comedians (Edith Scob, Michael Lonsdale, Valérie Dréville, Jos Houben), instrumentalists (Jean-Pierre Drouet, Richard Dubelski, Geneviève Strosser, Nicolas Hodges, Uli Fussenegger) or vocalists (Martine Viard, Donatienne Michel-Dansac, Lionel Peintre). From the 90’s he shared new artistic collaborations with danse (Johanne Saunier, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker) and visual arts (Daniel Lévy, Kurt D’Haeseleer, Hans Op de Beeck). The main european contemporary music ensembles have developed a working relationship with Aperghis through settled commissions that are now part of their repertory (Ictus, Klangforum Wien, Remix, Musikfabrik, Ensemble Mordern, Intercontemporain, Vocalsolisten, the SWR choir). 

“Aperghis has certainly acquired the freedom to put himself on the high wire, to risk the fall. But the difference is he knows that when the acrobat falls, he doesn’t fall into emptiness: he falls onto other wires, from which he can jump even higher!! You can negotiate with danger, play with it, turn it into a vanishing point on the horizon. In his case, it is always present. It re-emerges incessantly, all the time, whenever unforeseen elements are introduced; not to break with the formal chain of complexity, but to find other forms of expression.”* 

Recent distinctions : the Mauricio Kagel Prize in 2011, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement - Venise Biennale Musica 2015, the BBVA Foundation Award « Frontiers of Knowledge » in 2016 (category contemporary music), the Foundation Kaske-Munich in 2016.


Composer info




Works in Paramirabo's repertoire

Le rire physiologique (1983)