Aesthete in Harlem

Aesthete in Harlem

The poetry of Langston Hughes at the crossroads of jazz and contemporary music



This concert performance by the Ensemble Variances takes us into the vibrant, prolific and densely extravagant atmosphere of the jazz clubs of Harlem. The musicians of the Ensemble devote this "session" to the poems of Langston Hughes, American poet, novelist and playwright, well known for his work in tune with blues and jazz during the legendary Harlem Renaissance of 1930-1950.

The Ensemble Variances and the singer Noa Frenkel will highlight the musical impact in Langston Hughes' poetry with their own interpretation of excerpts from Twelve Moods, in which the poet imagined music in counterpoint to his words. Ensemble Variances will dialog with the composer Thierry Pécou, in which rhythm takes a predominant role, expressing of joy and hope as well as of anger.

Noa Frenkel is a true specialist in contemporary music. In the past years she has performed at most of the venues and festivals and with the top of the contemporary ensembles that share this love for contemporary music with her: Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Experimental Studio Freiburg and  the Asko Schönberg ensemble. She sung world premières of Luigi Nono, Donatoni, Czernowin, Stockhausen and Kalitzke, and many of the composers whose works she performed have been inspired by her unusual rich low alto to write something specifically for her voice. But this brand new match with Ensemble Variances and composer Thierry Pécou will allow her to do something she loves best: improvising! An exciting new programme and cooperation that will be inspiring - and challenging - for both performers and audience.


Works by Thierry Pécou: Perroquets d’Azur, Sax Tango, Salsa d’Elissa, Reggae Dominica

Compositions by Rémi Biet and jazz standards


Number of people

Guest artist

Noa Frenkel, vocaliste and speaker

Ensemble Variances

Nicolas Prost, saxophone

François Thuillier, tuba

Karim Touré, percussions

Raphaël Quenehen, saxophone

Thierry Pécou, piano


Sorek Artists Management

The Ensemble Variances receive support from Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication - Drac Normandie, Région Normandie, Spedidam, Sacem, Ville de Rouen, Odia Normandie, Onda. The Ensemble Variances is member of Fevis, Futurs Composés, Bureau Export and Profedim. It is member of Groupement d'Employeurs Solstice, supported by Région Normandie. Caisse des Dépôts, main sponsor of Ensemble Variances.