A Franco-Indian Creation by Thierry Pécou



Often described as an intrepid and fearless musical explorer, French composer and pianist Thierry Pécou has been curious in the music of different cultures since his early music education. In 2017, on a backpacking tour to India with Ensemble Variances’ clarinetist Carjez Gerretsen, Pécou was immediately drawn to the qualities of the Indian raga scale. As a composer, he was fascinated by the immediacy of the raga’s improvisational and emotional capacities and its free-flowing high energy.

Pécou returned to India in 2018 as part of the Alliance Française cultural diplomacy initiative Bonjour India. This time with members of Ensemble Variances and this time for a series of workshops with the Indian virtuosi flute player Rishab Prasanna. The collaborative synergy was instant. The result is Sangâta, a celebratory concert that joins Ensemble Variances musicians with three of India’s finest soloists Amaan Ali Khan (tabla), Ragini Shankar (Hindustani Classical Violinist), and Rishab Prasana (flute).

The premiere performances in New Delhi and Chennai, was greeted with great acclaim. When Sangâta was performed in France, Paris’ leading newspaper Le Monde said: “Inventive and surprisingly familiar music, Sangâta offers both hedonistic and profound pleasure. It deserves the standing ovation it received from the public.”

Featuring six virtuosi musicians, this compact program offers a vivid night of color, rhythm and unbridled joy. It is a true symbol of the cultural exchange of the highest artistic order.

Some write travel diaries. As far as Thierry Pécou is concerned, his wanderings turn into musical scores.

Le Figaro, 2018

Inventive and surprisingly familiar music, Sangâta offers both hedonistic and profound pleasure. It deserves the standing ovation it received from the public.

Le Monde, 2018

On a rhythmic basis given by the tabla, an essential percussive instrument in India, the piano, the clarinet and the western flute meet with the violin and the beautiful sound of the wooden bansuri flute from the Indian tradition. They echo each other, reply, sometimes take over or burst out in a chorus. Because of the unique loose structure of the score, each concert may be different and have its own flavours and colours. And don’t be surprised if you all of a sudden hear other musical references than Indian or Western classical music when the musicians feel up to it. 

It is unlike any other piece, and therefore hard to describe. Just come over and listen to it yourself. We are curious what you will recognise!

NEW DELHI, Festival Bonjour India
NEW DELHI, Festival Bonjour India
NEW DELHI, Festival Bonjour India
NEW DELHI, Festival Bonjour India
CRD Camille Saint-Saëns Dieppe
© CRD Camille Saint-Saëns Dieppe


Ragini Shankar

The name 'Ragini' originates from the word raga and means melody. Born in a family with a musical lineage spanning over seven generations, Ragini Shankar began her training in Hindustani Classical Music on the Violin at the tender age of 4. She has learnt music under the tutelage of her mother, Sangeeta Shankar, and her illustrious grandmother, the eminent violinist Dr. N. Rajam with whom she is regularly playing. A professional musician at a young age, she has already performed in many prestigious Indian music festivals as the 'Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav' in Pune and the 'Doverlane Music Festival' in Kolkata, as well as on several international stages. As a virtuoso, Ragini is recognized as one of the promising artists of Indian Classical music.

Rishab Prasanna

Rishab Prasanna was born in a renowned family of musicians, so one could say music is literally in his blood. Nurtured by the tradition (Gharana) of Banaras, Rishab is equally at ease with the light classical genres like thumri, chaiti, kajri and dhun (folk music of India). Since 2009 he moved to Europe where he explored new musical languages: Swedish folk, jazz, contemporary, Greek and Arabic.  With Davy Sur, he created a unique dialogue between Indian flute and Davy's percussive inventions. David Amar, who recently joined the group to create the new project One Million Faces, brings another dimension to their music: electronic, deep and definitely contemporary. So Rishab will have quite something to add!

Amaan Ali Khan

Amaan Ali belongs to a famous family of musicians. He is the son of sarangi maestro Ustad Ghulam Sabir Khan and was initiated on tabla by Ustad Manju Khan. Amaanreceived several distinction for his art and is a Gold Medalist of All India Radio (2002).He has accompanied many eminent artists (Smt. Shubha Mugdal, Begum Abida Parveen, Ustad Sabir Khan) in India and around the world.
As the Ensemble finds it very important to work as much as possible with new talents alongside esteemed performers, Amaan Ali will be playing the percussions. A promising talent, again from a family with a long musical tradition, who already accompanied many eminent artists and got his share of distinction. Yet at the beginning of his career, but we have no doubt he will become one of those eminent artists himself. 


Hindustani music

Two ragas

Michael Elisson

Interlude for Tori for electric piano

Richard Blackford

Murmurations for flute and clarinet

Thierry Pécou

Sangâta for bansuri flute, indian violin, tabla, flute, clarinet, electric piano and harmonium

Number of people

Guest artists

Ragini Shankar violin
Rishab Prasanna bansuri flute
Amaan Ali tabla

Ensemble Variances

Anne Cartel flute
Carjez Gerretsen clarinet
Thierry Pécou Fender Rhodes electric piano, Indian harmonium


Co-production CIMN Détours de Babel / Alliance Française de Delhi / Ensemble Variances / Kalasetu.

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.