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Pierre Bastien

Mechanical composer Pierre Bastien was born in Paris in 1953; while at the University of Sorbonne he studied French and 18th century literature but always harbored a fascination for experimental music, in particular the work of John Cage, and upon graduating wrote for ballet and string quartet. While composing for choreographer Dominique Bagouet's ballet Tartine, in 1986 Bastien assembled his first music-generating machine from a turntable engine, a cymbal and a Meccano erector set; subsequent projects expanded upon the concept, culminating in the completion of his Meccano Orchestra, a piece in which nine traditional instruments -- among them a Moroccan rebab, a Yugoslavian mandolin, a Senegalese kora and a Javanese angklung -- are played by robotic contraptions rigged from motors and toys, complete with Bastien improvising on trumpet or violin.
© Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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