Félicien Brut and Fabien Waksman meet in 2019. To set up his NEUF project around Beethoven, Félicien has to call upon several contemporary composers. When Thibault Perrine advises him to listen to Fabien Waksman’s music, he is immediately seduced and touched by his talent. He asked for a meeting but… the young composer first told him of his reservations about writing for the accordion! It took him a few days of reflection, with the Pari des Bretelles album in hand, to finally embark on the adventure!

« I listened to your record and I have to admit that this accordion and string quintet formation is wonderful! If you’re still up for it that’s fine, I’ll write for you. »

Fabien Waksman to Félicien Brut – by phone in 2019

Fabien then set about writing his first piece for accordion and string quintet, Carcere Oscura, one of the nine compositions on the album NEUF, freely inspired by Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. As soon as he received the score, Félicien was captivated by this music full of contrasts, bursts of energy, and sometimes even violence. The public also fell under the spell of this piece and systematically gave it an incredible welcome during the concerts of the NEUF sextet.

Given the success of this first collaboration and Fabien Waksman’s totally changed view of the accordion, Félicien decided to commission him, in 2021, to write a piece of a completely different dimension: a Concerto for Accordion and Symphony Orchestra. It will be premiered at the end of 2021, alongside one of the finest French orchestras, but we must wait a little longer before announcing it!

Fabien Waksman in a few lines…

Born in 1980, Fabien Waksman is one of the most important French composers of his generation. He integrates the CNSMDP (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris) in 1999, where he meets lots of musical personalities who marked him, like Jean-François Zygel or Thierry Escaich. At the same time he studies composition with Guillaume Connesson.

He receives several prizes for his works and career: the André Caplet’s composition prize from the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 2011 and the Sacem Young Composer Prize. He’s been teaching harmony at CNSMDP since 2006.

He is very early called by important conductors and concert halls : mostly inspired by Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky, Fabien Waksman is particularly noticed for his orchestration’s talents. In 2009, the conductor Stéphane Denève asked him for two symphonic works : Solar Storm and Le Parfum d’Aphrodite. He conducts the Premieres with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. In 2012, Fabien Waksman composed Protonic Games for Radio France, premiered by Daniele Gatti and the Orchestre National de France at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. He continues his collaboration with this orchestra in 2019 when he created the music for a Charlie Chaplin’s movie and in 2020 with the composition of the music for a concert-fiction, Moby-Dick, which is edited as a CD-book (Gallimard).

In 2018 he wrote his first cello concerto, Le Rêve de Tzinacan, dedicated to the cellist Anastasia Kobekina. A second concerto, for piano this time, is commissioned in 2020 by the international piano competition « Piano Campus » in Paris. Fabien Waksman is currently working on a third concerto for the accordionist Félicien Brut and the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine.

As a pianist himself, instrumental and vocal chamber music takes an important part in his work. He collaborates with world-known musicians like Eric Le Sage, Emmanuel Pahut, Paul Meyer, Jérôme Ducros, Jérôme Pernoo, Florent Héau, Mathieu Herzog, Eva Zavaro, Guillaume Vincent, Claire-Marie Le Guay, Karol Mossakowsky, Félicien Brut and the string quartets Hanson, Hermès and Aquilone. His music can regularly be heard in festivals like Musique à l’Emperi, Auvers-sur-Oise, Les folles journées de Nantes, or the Centre de musique de chambre de Paris. He is currently composing a diptych of melodies inspired by Japanese literature on an original text of the poetess Camille Loivier for the mezzo soprano Brenda Poupard.

Fabien Waksman has also composed many operas commissioned by the Opéra National de Paris : L’oiseau de glace (2012) and Epic Falstaff (2013), both written with the director and librettist Florent Siaud. In 2014 he composed a big fresco for children choir and orchestra based on a text by William Blake, Europe, a Prophecy. In 2017, the Orchestre National de Lyon created La Clé d’argent, an operatic trilogy tributed to H.P. Lovecraft’s world. To deal with his approach of vocal music in depth, he imagines Sumanga’ for choir and harp on a commission by the Orchestre de Paris ; it is a work freely inspired by traditional music from the whole world.

Passionated by cosmology, Fabien Waksman collaborates with the astrophysician Jean-Philippe Uzan. Together they created Le Baiser de la mort in 2016, a piano quintet, inspired by the discovery of gravitational waves. They are currently working on a cycle of melodies for soprano and prepared piano, the Hawking Songs, thus paying tribute to the important discoveries of Stephen Hawking on the black holes. Keen on new sounds and musical horizons, Fabien Waksman is also initiated into electro-acoustic composition’s technics at the Centre de Création Musicale Art Zoyd and works on a piece for piano and electronic keyboard for January 2022.

Fabien Waksman’s compositions for accordion