Percussions de Strasbourg


Various Projects
Giorgio Barbolini

Alexis Bulgari


Founded in 1962, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, whose artistic director is Minh-Tâm Nguyen, are world-renowned ambassadors of musical creation. With their exceptional repertoire (more than 350 works!) the group performs Twentieth Century masterpieces and commissioned new works with the same concerns: bring life to a contemporary heritage while revisiting it constantly and continue to innovate in a context of artistic diversification.

Since its foundation, the group still stands at the heart of creation, thanks to its particular connections with contemporary composers and the diversity of its abilities in terms of musical formats: from duo to octet, from acoustics to electronics, from recitals to musical theatre and dance, and so on...

The group continues to maintain and develop its world’s unique instrumentarium. It has recorded countless times and has received around thirty international awards, including a Victoire de la musique classique in 2017, which the Percussions de Strasbourg label won for its first record release, Burning Bright by Hugues Dufourt.

They perform in “variable geometry” that is, from a minimum of 2 up to 10 musicians, which enables a variety of budgets.


It all began in 1959, when Pierre Boulez was invited to conduct his work Le Visage Nuptial in Strasbourg. To form the large desk of percussions he needed, musicians from the Strasbourg Orchestra and the ORTF orchestra were brought together. The six young musicians – Bernard Balet, Jean Batigne, Lucien Droeller, Jean-Paul Finkbeiner, Claude Ricou and Georges Van Gucht – driven by a common innovative will and a strong friendship, then decided to create a percussion ensemble: but repertoire, choice of instruments - everything had to be invented... the «Groupe Instrumental à Percussion» was born and later became «Les Percussions de Strasbourg».

The first concert was given at the ORTF (the French BBC), on January 17th, 1962, in the presence of French composer Serge Nigg. Very quickly, the ensemble inspired the creation of bespoke pieces by composers such as Messiaen, Stockhausen, Serocki, Kabelac, Ohana, Xenakis, Mâche or Dufourt... As Pierre Boulez later declared «A repertoire was necessary for the Group, but the Group made the repertoire necessary»

In 1967, the six percussionists performed Ionisation by Varese, in agreement with the composer, while the score requires the participation of... thirteen percussionists! They carried this off with musical mastery and dramatic brio and opened the doors of success to a hitherto unprecedented musical genre.

Thereafter, the Percussions de Strasbourg relentlessly created and innovated, travelling all around the world in major international festivals, from Berlin to Osaka, Persepolis to Sydney, via Royan, Donaueschingen, Edinburgh, Athens, Tel Aviv, São Paulo, New York, Montreal, etc. Through their many travels and a strong empathy with the composers, they actively contributed to sound research and even the invention of new instruments, such as the SIXXEN designed by Xenakis. Over sixty years later, the band continues to revisit the contemporary heritage and to innovate with the evolution of new technologies and the expansion of scenic practices and expression: such is the challenge to invent and explore the wide field of world percussion in the 21st century.

«The Percussions de Strasbourg went through the second half of the 20th century without striking a blow, at the furious pace of a catalogue of creations where the original works are counted not by tens but by the hundreds. {...} As sound artists, the Percussions de Strasbourg have contributed to «invent» – the term is well weighed – modern percussion, its writing and texture» Mouvement

«For almost sixty years, the Percussions de Strasbourg has been gathering musicians who are now representative of every continent. It has expanded the Western sound beyond its boundaries. Besides the technical achievements and the originality of a repertoire that nothing connects to the past, the group has given a consistency to seemingly heterogeneous material and melted it into a single blend» Hugues Dufourt, 2019

“No matter how you look at it, the catalogue of the Percussions de Strasbourg, dedicatee of more than 350 works, is quite simply... unique”. Guillaume Tion, Libération, 2020


Photo ©️ Henri Vogt


Pléiades & Persphassa

Les Invariants



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