100 Cymbals

Les Percussions de Strasbourg, John Cage, Ryoji Ikeda

The stage performance and an audiovisual installation "100 cymbals“ invites to explore the polyphonic potential of cymbals. The ensemble Les Percussions de Strasbourg presents Ryoji Ikeda's 2019 work as well as the musical portrait of Hans Arp by John Cage.

The members of Les Percussions de Strasbourg stand in the middle of a field of 100 cymbals and play them.

Les Percussions de Strasbourg and their "100 Cymbals" project

© Henri Vogt

Past Dates

With “100 cymbals” – a stage performance and an audiovisual installation at the same time – MaerzMusik presents one of the latest projects by the outstanding French ensemble Les Percussions de Strasbourg.

Japanese artist and composer Ryoji Ikeda (*1966) shows the polyphonic potential of cymbals, navigating the fine line between noise and harmonic resonance. The seemingly rudimentary instrument, a convex disc made of an alloy of copper, brass and bronze, more commonly used to accentuate beats, is transformed into a powerful polyphonic resource. Ikeda’s work from 2019, which lends its title to this evening in the Lichthof of the Gropius Bau, is an endless crescendo, leading from an almost imperceptible murmur to the roar of the final fortississimo.

The concert starts with the musical portrait that John Cage (1912–1992) dedicated to Strasbourg-born painter and sculptor Hans Arp (1886–1966). Cage considered Arp, a co-founder of the Dada movement, as a model, particularly for his relationship to nature and his cosmogonic conception of art. The result is “But what about the noise of crumpling paper …”, a conceptual score written for Les Percussions de Strasbourg in 1985, in which each player follows his or her own beat. A minimalist work of deep listening.

John Cage
But what about the noise of crumpling paper which he used to do in order to paint the series of “papiers froisses” or tearing up paper to make “papiers dechires?” Arp was stimulated by water (sea, lake, and flowing waters like rivers), forests (1985)
for percussion ensemble

Ryoji Ikeda
100 Cymbals (2019)
for percussion ensemble


Les Percussions de Strasbourg
Minh-Tâm Nguyen, Alexandre Esperet, Léa Koster, Emil Kuyumcuyan, Olivia Martin, François Papirer, Thibaut Weber, Hsin-Hsuan Wu, Yi-Ping Yang, Youjin Lee

Laurent Fournaise technical manager
Eloi de Verneuil production management

Coproduced by Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Festival Musica, KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen. Supported by Yamaha and Turkish cymbals.