Lê Quan Ninh: Dying from One Breath to Another…

If improvisation is first of all about the art of listening, be it to the instrument, oneself, or one’s surroundings, and at the same time about the willingness to constantly review all previous experience with a particular instrument and the applied playing techniques, then the Paris-born Vietnamese percussionist Lê Quan Ninh (1961) is a master in both disciplines. Improvisation has become for him an instrument for creating distinctive poetry that provides him with the means to move freely across artistic genres, making more than just a fugitive appearance in each. Consequently, we come across his name not only in music, but also in dance, video art, and the visual arts generally. His incredibly sensitive ear, the precision he has developed over years of practice, and his imaginative perception of sound, allow him, among other things, to refer to his playing technique, which in its rendition of immensely complex and variable structures can stand for a full orchestra and a state-of-the-art computer at the same time, a “musique spectrale à petit budget”.

One of Lê Quan Ninh's answer: "Jestli tanec butó znamená zakoušet gravitaci, jestli butó znamená ztrácet něco každou vteřinou, jestli butó znamená přijít o všechno, co domněle vlastníme, jestli butó znamená umírat od jednoho nádechu k druhému, jestli butó znamená spolehnout se na něco, co se propadá do hlubin, které ještě nebyly prozkoumány, jestli butó znamená procítit každý okamžik z tohoto pádu jako věčnost, pak ano, připouštím, že můj způsob improvizace je velmi blízký butó. Nerad to říkám, ale improvizovat pro mě není žádná zábava. Tahle vážná záležitost mě ale dělá šťastným, šťastným, že žiji."

Read the full interview on Agosto Foundation web page.

Lê Quan Ninh will perform twice at the vs. Interpretation festival: Friday, 29 April, on the day dedicated to dance, in a trio with the British dancer Julyen Hamilton and Prague-based bassist George Cremaschi; and during weekend afternoon solo appearance.

Lê Quan Ninh: Dying from One Breath to Another…