Human non human

A musical meditation on the future of our planet

The cello, acts as a mediator between the ensemble and the deep-sea sounds... and the results are strikingly beautiful, sometimes discomforting, and in the end profoundly elegiac.

The Guardian, 2018

Nature has been the inspiration of composers for centuries. Now, through the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, the virtuosi musicians of Ensemble Variances continue the narrative, providing an aural and contemplative awakening to the vital environmental issues of our time. Through Human non human Artistic Director Thierry Pécou creates a program which highlight the virtuosic artistry of Ensemble Variances’ musicians and stimulate our appreciation of nature’s lessons, urging audiences through the power of music to take note of the changes to our planet and to our friends in the animal kingdom. The program pairs contemporary sounds of Thierry Pécou, François-Bernard Mâche and Stevie Wishart.

A highlight of the programs includes Thierry Pécou’s Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce (Meditation on the end of the species). The twenty-minute bravura work – scored for solo cello, ensemble and processed whale songs, and the ensemble – has been critically acclaimed and appreciated by audiences at Wigmore Hall, Radio France, and Gaudeaumus Muziekweek (Netherlands). Pécou was inspired to write the work while a whale-watching trip to Northern Canada. Fascinated by the highly expressive songs of the sea mammals, Pécou’s recordings of the Canadian whale songs enter dialogues with the soloist, and the ensemble. “My composition questions the relationship between humans and non-humans and the redefinition of the concept of nature“. Ensemble cellist David Louwerse performs the solo. This programme emphasizes the new piece of François-Bernard Mâche’s Vigiles for flute, clarinet, piano, sampler and guitar. Born in 1935, Mâche is considered one of the most important musical figures in France today. As the outstanding student of Olivier Messiaen the composer and musicologist finds inspiration from bird songs and the myths of Ancient Greece, Sumeria and the Maya.

All composers in the program are committed naturalists who seek to move audience through their reflections on nature, the environment and our relationship.



(...) between the instrumental virtuosity of the players (Anne Cartel and Marie Vermeulin in this dazzling performance) and the inexhaustible inventiveness of the birdsong.

The Guardian, 2018

L’album « Humain non humain », de Thierry Pécou, présente des œuvres utilisant des sons d’animaux pour inviter à réfléchir sur la fin des espèces.

Le Monde, 2021


Thierry Pécou

Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce for solo cello, processed whale songs and ensemble (Commissioned by Radio France and Wigmore Hall) 

François-Bernard Mâche

Vigiles for flute, clarinet, piano, synthesizer, guitar and pre-recorded birds sounds (Commissioned by Ensemble Variances)

Stevie Wishart

Gardez la distance for flute, clarinet, piano and pre-recorded blackbird sounds (Commissioned by Ensemble Variances)

The cast

Ensemble Variances

Anne Cartel flute
Carjez Gerretsen clarinet
David Louwerse cello
Romuald Grimbert-Barré violin
Pierre Dekker double bass
Pierre Bibault electric guitar
Marie Vermeulin electric piano and piano


USA-Canada tour supported by: Fonds Institut Français / Région Normandie, FACE Foundation, Centre National de la musique, ODIA Normandie and Adami.