Formed in Valenciennes in 1969, Art Zoyd was initially a progressive rock group, influenced by the music of Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa and the like.
1971 was marked by the disbanding of some members of the group and by the arrival of Gérard Hourbette and Thierry Zaboïtzeff, who, after the founding member left in 1975, were to shape the destiny of the group by radically changing the direction of the group and exploring new avenues.
There were to be no more drums or electric guitars, but a group of four musicians, 2 violins, bass and trumpet, which were to form the basis of the group for several years.
In 1976, when their first LP was produced, Art Zoyd went on tour with the group Magma (Paris, Nantes, Toulouse, Colmar …).
In 1978, it joined the international movement Rock in Opposition founded by drummer Chris Cutler with, among others, Fred Frith, Art Bears, Univers Zero, Stormy Six, Etron Fou Leloublan, Zamlas Mammas Manna… From 1980 to 1984, Art Zoyd toured all over Europe and became a figurehead of “new music” (also known as “Art Rock” or “Avant-Rock”…)
In 1983, choreographer Roland Petit spotted the band in a televised concert and commissioned the music for a full ballet : Le Mariage du Ciel et de l’Enfer, premiered at the Festival de la Scala in Milan with Art Zoyd on stage, followed by thirty stagings in France, including twelve at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris.
It was a revelation to discover that this music, with its radical choices and developments were so radical, could please such a large public, little used to the discordant harmonies and rhythmic beats of this new genre, combining amplified instruments, electric instruments, tapes and voices … It was from that time that the group decided to explore the combination of music and visual arts, whether performing arts such as dance and drama, or silent movies and video.
Now based in Valenciennes, the group has turned regularly in Europe and the States (Lincoln Center Festival in New York), Hong Kong, Australia (Adelaide Festival), Japan (1997 and 2002) and Mexico (1996, 1999 and 2003).
Asked to play for specific events such as the inauguration of the Globe Arena in Stockholm, the group also composed stage music.
Art Zoyd has gone on to create music for films, such as Nosferatu (1988) and Faust (Rome – 1993) by F.W. Murnau, Häxan by Benjamin Christensen (Queen Elisabeth Hall – London 1995). Their success was amazing: Nosferatu is still performed over fifteen years after it was created, while Häxan and Faust were staged as recently as 2001 and 2003.
Thierry Zaboïtzeff left the group in 1997, which was another turning point in the group’s history: Art Zoyd opened its studios to other artists and composers, working for three years with the Orchestre National de Lille on the Dangereuses Visions project that involved a symphonic orchestra, music technology and video. Luc Ferrari, Gérard Pape, Thierry de Mey, Heiner Goebbels, Pierre Vasseur, Helmut Oehring, Christophe Maudot, Eric Sleichim, Granular Synthesis, Gérard Hourbette, for the music and Granular Synthesis, dumb type, Michael Saup, Lydie Jean-Dit-Pannel, Hagen Klennert, Geert Mul, Safy for the images, all took part in these new “adventures”. The concerts (Lille, Créteil, Maubeuge, St Pölten, Mexico) attracted over 20000 people.
From 2000, Art Zoyd pursued this experiment and joined forces with the Belgian ensemble Musiques Nouvelles in a long term project entitled Expériences de Vol (Flight Experiences), with the aim of founding a Cross-Border Center for the Production and Creation of New Music, which would offer residencies for artists or composers. The pieces (27 composition to date) are created on stage, then recorded in the studio by Art Zoyd and Musiques Nouvelles (triple CD c/o Sub Rosa). The center has extended the studio’s activities to include production, funding a multitude of projects (artistic advising, composition contests, classes and training courses, projects with amateur artists (u.B.I.Q.U.e, Nosferatu 2013, Antares Project, etc.)
In 2001, Art Zoyd created and recorded Metropolis based on the film by Fritz Lang, for the fully restored version of the film. Metropolis is a sort of “meta-music” resulting from the “layering” of music by several composers, Gérard Hourbette, Patricia Dallio and Kasper T. Toeplitz who joined the group as an associate composer.
In 2001, Gerard Hourbette also composes a music for Karole Armitage’s Choreography “the Cat of Schrödinger” for the National ballet of Nancy.
Art Zoyd is increasingly focusing on research, particularly in electronic instruments and interfaces (sensors, theremin, real time, etc.), in conjunction with Kasper T. Toeplitz as well as various production assistants and developers, some of which are from other studios or institutes.
In 2004, Art Zoyd creates for Lille 2004 European Capital of the Culture, ARMAGEDDON, the first operetta for robots with the robotics engineer Louis-Philippe Demers and Musiques Nouvelles.
In 2005, Art Zoyd settles in Valenciennes in new Studios placed by the City at our disposal (in the same building as the ENMAD – conservatory of music of Valenciennes) and creates “Les Magasins Réunis ” with Ars Nova.
In 2006, “Le Champ des Larmes”, an electronic oratorio mixing the musics of Kasper T Toeplitz, Gerard Hourbette and the video of Dominik Barbier.
In 2007, Art Zoyd takes part in Valenciennes 2007 “To make the popular culture” with two giant pyrotechnical concerts in partnership with the Group F « Fleuves de Lumières » and Art Zoyd creates “Eyecatcher – the man with a movie camera”, a “dramatic fancy” on “old modernities” mixing the computer-generated images of Cecile Babiole and the silent film of Vertov, today instruments and yesterday’s one : Theremin, Martenots Waves, Stroh violin.
In 2008, Art Zoyd will create at the Louvre Museum “The fall of the House of Usher” from jean Epstein.
In 2009, a new Opera, “Pulse” from the Kiyoshi Kurosawa novel.
• Art Zoyd Studio: music research and production studio The Art Zoyd Studio is structured according to its different activities, with research in synthesized voices, new interfaces… while providing residency opportunities to artists and organizing concerts (such as Flight Experiences with Musiques Nouvelles…).
The coordination is made by Carl Faia, live electronics, assistant for composers and computer development. Researching new interfaces using sensors (construction of a virtual percussion instrument, LED organs, development of specific programs).
The research conducted to date has been essentially on computer architectures based on neural networks (Frédéric Voisin), porting of computer-synthesized voices with MaxMSP, utilization and development of instruments or equipment using SoftVNS, Jitter etc.
Recording, storage and archiving, discographical production and technical and computer management of stage projects (Pauline Oliveiros’ concerts, David Shea’s video opera, etc.) The studio is developing recording programs in cooperation with Musiques Nouvelles and the auditorium of the Belgian radio broadcaster RTBF in Mons.
Residencies : the studio’s most fundamental activity is to offer residencies to composers, musicians and artists for developing and realizing projects related directly or indirectly to Art Zoyd or to the studio’s specific productions.
1969 création d’Art Zoyd à Valenciennes par le poly-instrumentiste Rocco Fernandez
1971 arrivée de Gérard Hourbette et Thierry Zaboïtzeff
1976 date du 1er Long Play, Art Zoyd tourne avec le groupe Magma
1978 rejoint le collectif international Rock in Opposition, fondé par le batteur Chris Cutler
1983 création Le Mariage du Ciel et de l’Enfer, au Festival de la Scala à Milan
1988 création de Nosferatu sur le film de F.W. Murnau
1993 création de Faust sur le film de F.W. Murnau
1995 création Häxan sur le film de Benjamin Christensen
1997 départ de Thierry Zaboïtzeff
Début de l’association pour 3 ans avec l’Orchestre National de Lille amorçant
le projet Dangereuses Visions
2000 association avec l’ensemble belge Musiques Nouvelles pour le projet
Expériences de Vol
fondation du Centre Transfrontalier de Production et Création Musicales
2001 création de Metropolis sur le film de Fritz Lang
composition de Le Chat de Schrödinger pour la chorégraphie de Karole Armitage ( ballet National de Nancy)
2004 création de Armageddon, pour Lille 2004 Capitale Européenne de la Culture
2005 installation d’Art Zoyd à Valenciennes
création Les magasins Réunis avec l’ensemble Ars Nova
2006 création Le Champ des Larmes, mêlant les musiques de Kasper T. Toeplitz, Gérard Hourbette et la vidéo de Dominik Barbier
2007 création Eyecatcher – L’homme à la caméra
création Fleuves de Lumières en association avec le Groupe F pour Valenciennes 2007
2008 création La Chute de la Maison Usher, sur le film de Jean Epstein au musée du Louvre à Paris
2009 création de KAIRO, à partir du roman de Kiyoshi Kurosawa
2010 création des PARTICULES NOIRES, à partir du roman de Kiyoshi Kurosawa avec Akiko Kitamura et sur une vidéo d’Anne Niemetz
2011 À demi endormi déjà, conte musical dessiné à destination du jeune public sur un texte de Célia Houdart et des dessins de François Olislaeger et Les Portes du Futur, concert pyrotechnique avec Groupe F dans le cadre de Bethune 2011.
2011- 2012 : Projet en cours “Trois Rêves non valides“, spectacle multimédia sur trois scénographies numériques de Serge Meyer, Christian Châtel et Pierrick Sorin à partir de l’univers de Philip K. Dick