Walking in Beauty / The Beauty Way 2016

Walking in Beauty / The Beauty Way

A concert-ritual
Dedicated to the medicine and visions of the Navajo and the Sioux, reflected by the chants of Hildegard von Bingen
Creation 2016



In our world of fast developing science, technological advancement and revolutionary medicine, we lost touch with the world we live in. Our society of ‘making’ and ‘possessing’ is one of ecological poverty, resulting in a growing destabilization of individuals, shown by the emergence of psychological and physiological disorders.

The premiere of Michael Ellison’s The Vision of Black Elk in February 2015, about the famous Oglala Lakota Medicine Man, inspired Thierry Pécou to create a new programme. He composed a new work himself, influenced by the Navajo healing performances, where Beauty (Hózhó) means a lot more than in our civilisation: it connotes Balance, Harmony and Restoration of psychic and spiritual balance within the individual and in the cosmos as well.

The astonishing music of yet another visionary and healer, Hildegard von Bingen, was the last addition to a programme shaped as a ritual or a healing performance: it invites people to forget about the constant feed of social media, news and email, to listen without distraction, and to realise that we need the earth and each other to survive.

So turn off your cell phone, laptop, radio, television, or whatever high tech equipment you have... Come closer, gather around the fire. It’s time to listen and learn about life.
The traditional way. The way of Mother Earth. The Beauty Way.

Changing Woman

Changing Woman, Cantata of the Four Mountains for two contraltos and ensemble (2015).

The piece unfolds the mythical and territorial elements that are the source of the Navajo culture and form the foundation of their fascinating healing rituals. Through two characters, Changing Woman and the Sun, a mythological story and ‘reinvented’ shamanic songs become intertwined like a Navajo weaving. During the performance, the instrumentalists will circle around the two female vocalists and the audience, marking four points that symbolize the four mountains of the Navajo territory. Occasionally, the audience will be asked to participate with some simple sounds, to physically get into the musical space and be more than spectator only.

Thierry Pécou


Michael Ellison

The Vision of Black Elk for contralto and ensemble

Thierry Pécou

Changing Woman, Cantata of the Four Mountains for two contraltos and ensemble

Hildegard von Bingen


Number of people

Guest artists

Katarina Livljanic contralto
Noa Frenkel contralto

Ensemble Variances

Anne Cartel flute
Carjez Gerretsen clarinet
Nicolas Prost sax
David Louwerse cello
Laurène Durantel double bass
Nicolas Drincourt piano
Irini Aravidou percussions

2 composers

Thierry Pécou direction
Michael Ellison direction

Olivier Perriquet video


New work by Thierry Pécou: commission by Festival Arabesques (Hamburg) and Festival d’Ambronay

Co-production Festival d’Ambronay, Festival Arabesques (Hamburg) and Théâtre de Cornouaille

New creation 2018


The Ensemble Variances receive support from Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication - Drac Normandie, Région Normandie, Spedidam, Sacem, Ville de Rouen, Odia Normandie, Onda. The Ensemble Variances is member of Fevis, Futurs Composés, Bureau Export and Profedim. It is member of Groupement d'Employeurs Solstice, supported by Région Normandie. Caisse des Dépôts, main sponsor of Ensemble Variances.