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  • The conversation with François Couturier and other musicians from Tarkovsky Quartet will be conducted by Antoni Beksiak.

    François Couturier began playing piano at the age of six. After completing studies in classical music and musicology in the early 1970s, he began improvising in earnest, initially taking his cue from modernists Paul Bley, Chick Corea and Joachim Kühn. By the end of the 1970s he was working regularly with drummer Jacques Thollot, one of the key protagonists of the French ‘free’ movement. Inside Thollot’s group he befriended bassist Jean-Paul Celea. Couturier and Celea played in duo, then developed their concept to include other musicians. Amongst them: Daniel Humair, François Jeanneau, Dominique Pifarély. Couturier’s first appearance on ECM was on Anouar Brahem’s “Khomsa” in 1994, a recording that also marked the ECM debut of Jean-Marc Larché. Contact between Brahem and the pianist had been initiated in 1985 when they worked together at the Festival of Carthage.

    The association was revived in 2001, and Couturier toured widely with the oud player in trio with accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier, and appearing on the albums “Le pas du chat noir” (2001) and “Voyage de Sahar” (2005). In 2006, the three French musicians – Couturier, Larché, Matinier - were joined by German cellist Anja Lechner, a classical musician with experiences also in improvisation, whose ECM discography ranges from string quartets of Mansurian and Larcher to collaborations with Dino Saluzzi to new arrangements of Gurdjieff.