Transcultural music academy 2023

Since 2021, the Royaumont Foundation has joined forces with the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac (Paris) to create a new Academy. The aim is to bring together masters of tradition, “passers-by” who create the link between tradition and creation, and young composers, musicians, improvisers and singers from all horizons.

Beyond the concepts of modernity and tradition, beyond even the cultures, the Academy proposes to discover or deepen a traditional practice from different cultural geographies and to experiment the process of transcultural creation.

For this third edition, the Academy will be led by the composer and percussionist Keyvan Chemirani (France/Iran), a true creator of musical bridges, with the multi-instrumentalist Efrén López (Spain) at his side. The two artists are both masters of tradition and passers-by: heirs to a traditional practice, they excel in the art of crossing musical languages.

Based on the rhythmic and melodic modes of the repertoires of Iran, India and the Eastern Mediterranean, the aim of this edition will be to develop, adapt and cross traditional and modern improvisational practices, in a transversal approach, in order to find new modes of expression:

Work on the internalization of measures, based on the Iranian method of teaching the zarb, by learning and memorizing sequences of rhythmic variations, formalization and applications of concepts of oriental music (Iran, India) and Eastern Mediterranean music (Turkey, Greece) for their use in the composition of modal music.
Development of the philosophy of transmission in the oral tradition, the relationship to improvisation, the relationship of the musician’s work to the body in personal work.
At the end of the Académie, two public performances will be given,the content and presentation of which will be conceived, composed, created and invented by the participants in the Académie: one at the Abbaye de Royaumont during a Fenêtre sur cour[s] on 26 August 2023, the second in the Théâtre de verdure of the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac during a concert on 27 August 2023.


Keyvan Chemirani (France/Iran)

Born in Paris in 1968, Keyvan Chemirani grew up in the hills of Manosque. He was trained in Persian art music by his father Djamchid, born in Teheran, a zarb virtuoso. The great master was keen to combine his traditional music with the theatre (Peter Brook’s Mahabharata), dance with Maurice Béjart or Carolyn Carlson or contemporary music.
Today, Keyvan has become a master of the zarb, the daf and the bendir. The art of Iranian percussion is based on poetry. The structure of the instrumental pieces for the zarb is inspired by Persian poems, the blows on the goatskin covering the instrument echo the feet of the verses. For Keyvan, music cannot be limited to the secular Persian repertoire, for it is above all a matter of sharing. He loves encounters and mixtures to create bridges between East and West and between all forms of music.

As a curious musician, he travels around the world improvising with many artists, singers and instrumentalists. These improvisations capture the particular characteristics of different traditions and reveal surprising similarities, showing, for example, how Iranian percussion can be similar to the sound of the Indian tabla, how the Breton language sounds almost Mediterranean.
His instrument, the zarb, has found a place in the world of jazz. Keyvan has collaborated with the likes of Didier Lockwood, Sylvain Luc, Louis Sclavis and Renaud Garcia-Fons. An explorer, he also enjoys working with early music ensembles such as Dominique Vellard’s Ensemble Gilles Binchois, La Chapelle rhénane with whom he recorded Schütz’s Psalms of David, and Leonardo García Alarcón’s Cappella Mediterranea, with whom he was invited to perform as a soloist and with whom he premiered Falvetti’s Il Diluvio universale at the Ambronay Festival.

His first opus Le Rythme de la parole was released in 2004. It brings together guests from different musical backgrounds (Mali, South India, Iran, Morocco, Provence, Brittany, Turkey and the Arab-Andalusian world). In 2006, he produced Le Rythme de la parole II, which features Ali Reza Ghorbani, Nahawa Doumbia and Sudha Raghunathan, three singers, each of whom has a vocal tradition.
During the International Festival of Nomadic Music in 2005, Keyvan Chemirani met the Mauritanian singer Mohamed Salem Ould Meydah. Together, they created Tahawol, a unique encounter between Persian percussion, flamenco and Mauritanian dance and song.

As a loyal member of Royaumont, he participates in encounters that combine the oral poetry of slam with musical experience, such as Slam et percussions, created in 2005, and Slam et souffle, created in 2006. Keyvan Chemirani thus transfers to the field of contemporary and urban music the junction that he has managed to make between the prosodic and musical structures of several sung languages.
2008 was marked by his encounter with the Indian tabla of Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, which resulted in the album Battements au cœur de l’Orient.
In 2013 he created Trio Chemirani and The Rhythm Alchemy, in 2015 The Rhythm Alchemy, and in 2018 Hâl with his singer sister Maryam, his brother Bijan and the flautist Sylvain Barou.

Among the many bridges that Keyvan Chemirani likes to create is the Jasmin Toccata project with lutenist Thomas Dunford and harpsichordist Jean Rondeau.
In 2022, he composed his first opera Negar, which premiered at the Deutsch Oper in Berlin.

Alone or with outstanding musicians, he performs all over the world. He reveals to his audience the infinite possibilities of Persian percussion. He was able to transform the Persian musical heritage into multiform creations.

Efrén López (Espagne)

Efrén López was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1972. He is a musician, composer, producer and sound engineer specialising in the plucked instruments of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and Central Asia. He has studied the hurdy-gurdy and the techniques of various Eastern Mediterranean instruments.

He has participated in countless projects with musicians from all over Europe, the Arab world, Turkey, Iran and India. He has played with Jordi Savall & Hespèrion XXI.

He is the founder of the Petrakis/López/Chemirani Trio, L’Ham de Foc, Evo, Aman Aman, EAR and Sabir.

He has performed all over the world with these projects and regularly gives workshops on instrumental technique and modal music theory. Since 2005 he has been organising traditional music workshops in the Valencia region of Spain, bringing traditional forms closer to local musicians.


10 composers, and/or instrumentalists, and/or singers.
Young artists in the process of higher education or with professional experience.

The participants show a stylistic openness and a taste for research and musical creation in all its forms, and have a regular musical practice, in particular in collective forms.

The course welcomes musicians who are already experienced in the field of improvisation, but also musicians with a written background who wish to be guided in their first approach to this practice.

To have a good level of oral English.


20 to 26 August 2023 [arrival on 19 August at the end of the day, departure after the post-training concert on 27 August at the Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac]
6 days of training – 42 hours

Fenêtre sur cour[s] at Royaumont on 26 August 2023 at 6pm, consisting of a restitution of the work done during the training
Concert at the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac on 27 August 2023 at 5pm [paid post-training concert]


Application deadline: 26 February 2023
Response to your application: 13 March 2023


• Biography
• CV
• Photo
• Motivation letter: highlighting skills and qualities, reasons for wanting to participate in the Academy, expectations.
• Several video links with musical extracts. Good sound quality is essential.


Group theory sessions.
Group practice sessions, in large or small groups.


The financial participation requested is 255 € including VAT.

You will have to pay 195 € including VAT, at the time of selection of participants for the Academy, by bank transfer. The cost of the transfer fees will be at your expense.

This amount of 195 € includes:
150 € registration fee (i.e. 125 € excluding VAT)
45 € not subject to VAT:
o 20 € membership of the Association des amis de Royaumont
o 25 € membership to the Royaumont Libraries (François-Lang Music Library and La Grange-Fleuret Library). These memberships cover a full year of operation.

You will have to pay the balance, at the latest on the first day of the academy.

The Royaumont Foundation will pay for:
– the cost of accommodation (meals and nights) and the full cost of teaching (trainers, instruments, etc.) for the duration of the course (except in special cases);
– the cost of transfers between the Viarmes train station / Paris Charles de Gaulle airport/train station and the abbey.

The trainee is responsible for:
– travel expenses (home – Viarmes / Paris Charles de Gaulle station – home);
– the purchase and printing of scores (performers).

You can benefit from a financial contribution according to your situation :

> Intermittent du spectacle (French only):
for intermittents du spectacle, by AFDAS if you fulfil the conditions.
If you are eligible for AFDAS aid you will pay 195 €.

> Salaried employee:
for employees (full-time or part-time): check with your employer to see if they can pay all or part of your fees.

> Jobseekers (French only):
for jobseekers: consult the Pôle Emploi.
If you are eligible for AFDAS aid you will pay 195 €.


Deadline 26 February 2023



February 26


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