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Thinking Spaces: François Houle & Benoît Delbecq, “POISE”

September 18, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

François Houls & Benoît Delbecq graphic for Thinking Spaces. Concentric Circles painted in watercolour representing their album "Poise." Colourful squiggles and dots decorate the graphic. Thinking Spaces: "Poise". François House & Benoît Delbecq. Monday, September 18, 10 am ET.

Thinking Spaces, “POISE” is presented by François Houle & Benoît Delbecq, and takes place Monday, September 18 at 10am ET. The talk includes a presentation followed by a guided Q&A and conversation period. 

For our second Thinking Spaces session, we are excited to welcome Clarinetist François Houle and Parisian pianist and composer, Benoît Delbecq. Join us on Monday 18 September 2023, 10:00AM-11:30AM in the Improv Lab to listen to these two critically acclaimed improvisers discuss and share their unique approach to musical improvisation.

This talk takes place in-person in ImprovLab, University of Guelph. Registration is required to attend. Sign up now!

More about this talk:

As the music unfolds, composition and improvisation seem to flow together into a dream-like continuum where jazz and new music meet. To reach this place, Delbecq and Houle have worked for years extending the techniques of their instruments and creating their own language of musical gestures for purposes of spontaneous musical composition. Delbecq’s contemplative piano “fabrics” draw on Cage, Ligeti, and African timbres and polyrhythms, and are characterized by unexpected juxtapositions and patternings. Houle’s approach has been inspired by Evan Parker and clarinetist William O. Smith’s multi-layered sonic explorations, and combines a thoroughgoing reinvention of the clarinet’s expressive possibilities with an exceptional melodic lyricism. The duo’s rapport results in a highly ordered yet intuitive discourse, echoes and undercurrents of other music continually opening up new directions

More about the speakers:

Clarinetist François Houle has followed a musical path few others have travelled. He is a true innovator and pioneer of the instrument, opening sonic vistas in the most imaginative ways possible. François has released CDs on several labels and has toured internationally. He has been listed on multiple occasions by Downbeat magazine as a “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” and was hailed as a “Rising Star” in Downbeat’s Critics’ and Readers’ Polls. He is “a spectacularly versatile clarinetist who appears to have no limitations stylistically or sonically” (Mark Swed, LA Times).

Benoît Delbecq is a multi-awarded Parisian pianist and composer, a trendsetter who persists in developing his ideas in a very rhythmic and multi-layered approach, bringing the soul of jazz to John Cage’s prepared piano. Delbecq may prepare just a few strings with wood sticks, then sit at the piano transforming the instrument into a percussion-and-piano ensemble.


September 18, 2023
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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MacKinnon Room 108, 87 Trent Lane, University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario N1G 1Y4 Canada
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