Direction artistique: Artistic direction : Sylvaine Hélary
Effectif: Number : 9
Country : France
Place : Île-de-France

SYLVAINE HÉLARY : Flutes, voice, compositions
ANTONIN RAYON : Fender Rhodes, Moog synth, Clavinet, electronics
ELODIE PASQUIER : Clarinet, bass clarinet
CHRISTIANE BOPP : Trombone, sackbut
MAËLLE DESBROSSES : Viola, viola d’amore
LYNN CASSIERS : Voice, electronics
CHLOÉ LUCAS: Violone (bass viola da gamba), Tenor viola
GUILLAUME MAGNE: Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, voice
AURORE GIBERT: Lighting design and direction


+33 (0)6 83 29 56 36

© Caroline Ruffault

Since 2020, Sylvaine Hélary has been imagining, building and maturing her next creation: a large, sparkling ensemble, bringing together nine musicians from both the contemporary jazz and the baroque worlds. The sounds of instruments from both eras respond to each other, complement each other, and blend together, as they compose a selection of poems by Emily Dickinson, the 19th century American poetess, which resonate with the pen of PJ Harvey.
This new creation is a relevant part of the musician’s artistic career, who has already proved, through her previous groups, her great ability to compose a rich and original musical universe and to lead a collective project. With this large ensemble, she wishes to bring a new dimension to her work as a composer by writing for a larger ensemble, raising new questions about orchestration and allowing her to extend her writing techniques. A member of the Supernatural Orchestra for ten years and a performer in Eve Risser’s White Desert Orchestra, Sylvaine Hélary has extensive experience of playing and improvising in large jazz and improvised music ensembles.

She works around a language inspired by the velvety sounds of English pop and develops a new sound palette of grooves and polyrhythms, which is taken over by all the members of the orchestra. The timbres of the baroque instruments respond to electronic textures, around a writing thought as a field of exploration allowing not a juxtaposition of all these elements, but a creative music with a rich, extended and surprising purpose. A large part is left to improvisation, thus confronting the different ways of approaching this practice and allowing each one to reveal himself and to feed the common imagination of the ensemble.

The word “incandescence” defines the transmutation of heat into light, but this dazzling light abolishes all colour. […] Not only do colours abolish themselves, but categories become blurred, contours blurred, fragments swirl in a kaleidoscopic landscape where, at the same time as nature vibrates and shines: “The mornings in the mids blossom — / And split their pods of fire –“, nothingness unfolds its dreary expanse: “nothing but Infinite Nothingness — / As far as the eye can see”.
Emily Dickinson’s poetic art lies in this effort to bring time to incandescence, to retain only the white absence, the moments when it denies itself, or explodes to change into eternity. This is an art that strives for the absolute, but which, in its painful clash with reality, opens up the modern era of discontinuity.
[…] The mode of composition is symphonic: it takes up motifs, introduces variations, discovers new meanings by digging into the vocabulary, enriches the major theme. Emily Dickinson had a predilection for the word “Circumference”: “Circumference is my business”, she declared, and one should seek neither unity nor progression, but rather embrace a sinuous movement, with its advances and retreats. […]
– Claire Malroux in Preface, A Soul in Incandescence: Poetry Notebooks 1861-1863 by Emily Dickinson


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Orchestre Incandescent